Sarkozy's head, EU's vision

News from Paris reveals that Monsieur Nicolas Sarkozy intends to turn the issue of Turkey's membership in the EU into a "blood feud." We know that opposition to Turkey gets a lot of public attention on the European political stage.

Besides, no one can claim that Sarkozy's political character is very far removed from populism. It is for this reason that his disregard for the views expressed in a report published last week by the Independent Commission on Turkey, or the "wise men's" report, is not surprising. But one does not need to be a "wise man" to foresee the negative effects this type of mentality will have on Europe in the future.

The Sarkozy and Angela Merkel duo appear to be determined to build a "Paris-Berlin barricade" against Turkey. While The Economist weekly reported on this in its latest edition, it wrote that the Sarkozy/Merkel pair is waiting for the results of the elections to be held in Germany to consolidate the barrier they are setting up against Turkey. If Merkel finds a new partner that is colder toward Turkey, then the one person that may be happier about it then Merkel herself is the French president. As The Economist wrote, this will allow them to "place their cards on the table." This means that the search for granting a "privileged partnership" or a "special status" to Turkey instead of full membership will gain momentum by the end of the year. More explicitly, they are going to say "Turkey cannot join our club." Under the influence of this pair, it seems Europe is setting sail toward a colonialist mentality known as "Bonne pour l'orient," which reeks a little bit of racism and a little bit of religious fanaticism.

Sarkozy's opposition to Turkey's membership should not be surprising. We see France trying to solidify its leadership in the EU over its conciliatory role as a country that can handle complicated issues in the East and overcome crises. It doesn't deny doing this either. However, when we look at its performance since coming to power, it hasn't achieved anything impressive related to these issues. People know how France lost credibility in the eyes of Russians and Georgians after its intervention in the Georgia-Russia war. After intervening in ceasefire talks during Israel's attack on Gaza, France quickly realized that it was way over its head.

Considering that the French leader is in a hurry to reinforce its leadership position in the EU by pointing to its successful intervention in crises in the Middle East and the Caucasus, there's nothing more natural than for him to not want a country that has realized he won't be able to handle its impact in these areas.

I must note, however, that the ability to make a minimal contribution to crises look like a maximum contribution must be applauded.

When it comes to Turkey's membership, the real job is left to the other EU members. It would be good if other member countries realized that Sarkozy does not have a "Europe vision" and took a stance accordingly, for Monsieur Sarkozy is playing his own game, but Europe will lose in the end.

The future of a Europe that excludes Turkey is uncertain. At a time when power centers are rapidly shifting from the West to the East, the European continent must see that it needs Turkey in every sense.

Besides, everyone should bear in mind that if a "Berlin-Paris wall" is built against Turkey, then Ankara will have walls to build of it own. Take for example a "Turkish-Russia wall."

Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu had said: "Some Europeans have this in their mind. They think Turkish people and the Turkish Republic are not European. But Turkey's geography is a geography that Europeans can use as they wish. Turkish-European relations cannot make progress with this kind of a mentality. It is a big contradiction that some countries that have undersigned projects that create problems for our country in the EU process and that see our people as non-European as well as countries that support these countries have big expectations when it comes to energy projects."

Take these words spoken by Davutoğlu concerning the energy sector and apply them to all other areas. Hopefully these words will help in the treatment of Europe's "strategic blindness." Otherwise, the Sarkozy/Merkel mentality, which sees Turkey on Europe's periphery, will eventually turn the European Union into a "periphery" in the "global game."

Gürkan Zengin