Friday, December 10, 2004

Turkey, the EU and Cyprus

/ eu / turkey / cyprus /

My humble prediction is that, should Turkey not recognize Cyprus by Dec. 17, Cyprus and (probably) Greece (at the least) will veto any specific date for the beginning of accession negotiations. Although I've been a critic of the Greek Cypriot leadership, it stands to reason, really, that Turkey should at least recognize all the member-states of a union it plans to be part of. I can't imagine how this could be sidestepped at all. I can also foresee that, should Turkey not recognize Cyprus, the Greek government will have a hell of a difficult time not vetoing the accession dates for Turkey, regardless of the current climate of goodwill, which the Turkish military doesn't seem too keen to preserve anyway...

1 comment:

talos said...

old comments


The date for the beginning of accession negotiations for Turkey, but also for Croatia (for different reasons) is still a big question mark. Turkey's postiton is really very difficult and it will be interesting to see what will happen in next few days.

2004-12-13 00:27
Doug Muir:

Cyprus might. I'll be very surprised if Greece does. (Side bet?)

FWIW, I think this would be an act of remarkable stupidity on Cyprus' part. Not that this will enter into the calculation.

Note that if they'd agreed to the Annan plan, the first tranche of Turkish soldiers would already be packing to leave.

Doug M.

2004-12-13 07:40
Doug Muir:

Hm. If Basescu really has defeated Nastase here in Romania, then my string of accurate Balkan political predictions will be broken.

So maybe you should take that bet.

Doug M.

2004-12-13 09:53

Doug… How would it be stupid? What would Cyprus stand to lose?
How would it even be conceivable that thay can not veto a country that refuses to recognize them.
About Greece: I'm saying that if Karamanlis doesn't veto, he will have lots of problems from inside Greece. His first serious problems - despite the fact that the opposition also yields easily under US pressure. I'm not taking any bets because though, because there might be some sort of behind the scenes deal - a deal that might just win me a bet! There are signs… Although I don't believe that March 2005 is feasible anymore.

2004-12-13 16:58

… On the other hand, I can't see much of a reason for anyone to seriously think of blocking Croatian accession. Delaying, yes, but I think pretty much everyone would agree that if, say, Latvia is allowed in, why not Croatia. And I have the feeling (correct me if I'm wrong) that the issues hindering Croatia's accession, are in the process of being resolved…

2004-12-13 17:04
Doug Muir:

Doug… How would it be stupid? What would Cyprus stand to lose?

Leverage over Turkey.

Look at it from the TRNC's POV. The status quo used to favor Cyprus, because they were getting rich while the RNC was isolated and impoverished. Right? But that's no longer true. The North is about to get direct flights, foreign trade, and foreign investment. The Cypriots are throwing as many obstacles as possible in the path of this process, but while they can slow the train down, they can't stop it.

TRNC independence is now a "fact on the ground". Recognition may take years or decades, but it's going to happen sooner or later, once the diplomatic stars are right.

The only thing that can stop it is Turkey. And if Turkey commits to EU accession, then it /will/ stop it. A Turkey en route to the EU can't afford that nonsense any more. If December 17 goes well, then look for a new round of haggling, probably leading to further Turkish concessions and another referendum (though not before March… more likely in late '05 or '06).

I can imagine a scenario where Cyprus uses its veto to show that it's serious, then immediately turns around and throws its arms open. But I don't see the current administration as being that clever or that organized.

The problem seems to be that the Cypriots either (1) don't clearly know what they want, or (2) want something that they can't openly admit. Probably the latter.

Doug M.

2004-12-14 11:41
Doug Muir:

Further to this: ISTM that the "best play" for Cyprus would be to get some language stating that Turkey will resolve the TRNC issue as a prerequisite to accession.

This is IMO feasible, but would require a great deal of deft diplomatic maneuvering.

Doug M.

2004-12-14 13:20

Doug, if Cyprus could be assured "some language stating that Turkey will resolve the TRNC issue as a prerequisite to accession", there is nothing to argue about. The issue is that at this point the Turkish government is not willing to accept any such statement. I'm hoping for a behind the scenes deal that would restart the Cyprus negotiations…

A Turkey en route to the EU can't afford that nonsense any more. Eh? Why? I think you're not taking into account the nationalist/corporatist nature of the turkish military (and socioeconomic) elite - and you're underestimating their power. The number of violations of Greek airspace has increased accession talks nonwithstanding. The way that these people see the EU, there's nothing problematic with declaring a casus belli over the Aegean territorial waters and being an EU partner with Greece. That's what's worrying me. Turkey can be accepted in the EU when and only when the Generals are no longer a political power, when they are thoroughly defeated politically and the army is as unwilling to get involved in politics as, say, the Greek (finally) is. I think that's an innegotiable democratic prerequisite … It will take a while - in the meantime the EU should work to empower those that would challenge their power and destroy their credibility.

2004-12-15 19:09
aegean disclosure:

I think Cyprus vetoing Turkey looks as ugly as a judge presiding over a case where he himself is the prosecutor, but of course if they feel threatened enough they will have no choice. What Turkey has to do is clear as day, but it seemed Eurling threw a rope when he said the recognition may not be a standard one. Since membership would take a decade or two any, the game plan for Turkey is going to be to go back to the UN again, but our politicians will say that Cyprus will stonewall another Plan until it's my-way-or-the-highway, pointing out Papa's remarks, "People said bad things will happen if we don't accept the Annan Plan, but nothing happened. etc etc." But on the other hand, maybe a UN resolution backing the plan won't get rejected again as it was by the Russians last time, though I don't know if it will do any good.

What's more worrisome for the politicians is that if the Turkish recognition of the Armenian genocide is mentioned in the Commission report, as it was in the parliamentary report, that may cause them to give up on the EU.

2004-12-16 09:34

Well, I think that its in the EU's hands now and, even if the process goes through the UN, the EU will have a large part in it as it will involve a member state and a prospective member state. I'm hearing that the custom's union deal will suffice for now - especially if it's accompanied by some language indicating Turkey's willingness to resolve the issue.

As for the Armenian genocide. I really do not understand why the recognition of a historical (let's face it) fact, can possible be a reason for Turkey to not join the EU - why won't they recognize the massacre, say sorry and get on with it?

2004-12-16 17:40
aegean disclosure:

why? Very easy, if its true it will be admitting that for 90 years Turkey lied to its people, and that—even worse—almost all Turkish historians with Phds (past and present) have the academic insight and integrity of a fistful of dirt, who by the way, as I am writing, are continuing to publish the same thesis in national jounals (For example, articles that refer to some documents signed by Talat Pasha to protect Armenian civilians from harm etc etc). The huge problem is that no one gives a rigorous point by point rebuttal of the international argument,or even follows it in particular detail, dismissing it as Armenian propaganda. It's very convenient, see, to convince the guy on the street. These people can just say the Armenians are everywhere and lobby powerful governments, and how the hell could we have committed genocide if there's so many of them around?

above all, its not a situation where the public is skeptical of the governments position. If the government ever admitted it anytime soon people would flip out. Whats good about it being thrown in our face is that it will hopefully force us to view the international argument in detail. The leader of the Green party told a Turkish reporter, "Your government said your archives were open. Ok, so how about you give 20 of EU picked historians full access to all the archives, including military. Will you accept those findings…" That would be interesting.

2004-12-17 19:54

Litmus, thanks for the reply… has there been no "heretical" scholarship on the issue in Turkey? Similar problems have occured in Greece as far as the official historiography is concerned, but the government usually has no "official position" on historical matters any more (and would certainly find a way around a historical issue if the political stakes were high enough). Then again in Greece there is the effect of leftist historiography which challanged nationalist orthodoxies from early on - and has had a broad influence in the academia - isn't there something similar in Turkey?

2004-12-18 22:21

Talos you are clueless. Turkey will never recognize the Armenian genocide if you read Dadrian's "History of the Armenian Genocide:…"(this work has been translated to Greek) you would know why. Muslim societies cannot accept non-muslims as equals. The attempts of European diplomacy and Armenians under Ottoman rule exceeded the bounds allowed of a rayah or dhimmi. Rayahs or dhimmis are conquered subjects whose existence is allowed if they pay a poll tax(haratsi as Greeks would say) and exist as conquered inferiors under Islamic law, enriching the muslim world to conduct further wars. The second a non-muslim people tries to ask for rights beyond the inferior status allowed under Islamic law their fate is just about sealed in destruction for ending the contract under Islamic law that allowed the toleration of their existence. Even worse for Armenians, the Turks already had to deal with an even larger outrage, the precedent of the Balkan Christians gaining full independence and driving their Islamic state largely out of Europe. Unlike Greeks the Armenians had no military class like the klephts(these outlaws are the only kind of military class a people conquered by muslims can have) to free themselves or even fight back effectively.

Genocide is a crime that implies a punishment, just like when you commit murder you are punished in court, the same goes for genocide. To acknowledge Armenians that died over 80 years ago were subject to genocide would open Turkey to liability to reparations which would imply the equality of non-muslim Armenians who died decades ago with muslims. Contrary to striving for such an equality Turkey tries to reduce its non-muslim communities to extinction. Turkey has no respect for its current Armenian community, it easy to bet Turkey will not care enough about Armenians who died nearly 100 years ago to subject itself to judicial punishment.

Trying to explain the relations of the muslim world to the non-muslim is beyond leftist anaylsis. It is against the principles of the Ottoman and modern Turkish state to recognize the Armenian genocide and it is against Turkish identity or any other identity built upon Islam. You cannot only murder humans, dhimmis are not humans. When dhimmis petition to European powers for rights they abandon the contract that tolerates their existence and they are dead. It is perfectly normal for a Turk to not recognize an Armenian genocide, since non-muslims are not full humans. Only heretical Turks who reject a large part of their identity will ever accept a charge such as genocide. Turkish "secularism" is shallow despite your hollow comments about headscarves.

2004-12-19 11:59
aegean disclosure:

Talos, yeah there are heretical few but their number is in the single digits. And before anyone takes them seriously, they are met with a wave of character assassination. Erdogan has also said something along the lines of "history is for historians," but that hasn't changed much. The reason that their is no rebelling academia, is because they still believe that superpowers engage in divide and conquer tactics and that they are playing the Kurdish and Armenian card in order to weaken Turkey and cause the population to engage in identity politics. Its a very appealing argument. On the other hand, Dadrian's book has been published in Turkish and is in sale in Turkish bookstores.

Most of what Nikephoros says sounds like bs to me. Why the word "minority" in Turkish has bad connotations is because it is used in history books to refer to the christian minority under ottoman rule, who were taxed and treated as unequals. If what Nikephoros said were true, if we believed they were unequal then we wouldn't raise a fuss when Kurds and Armenians are called minorities, but the reason people do raise a fuss is because they refuse to accept that those segments of the population are being treated unequally.

If you ask Turkish Armenian community leaders in Turkey about the Armenian Diaspora, an often cited criticism is that the Diaspora thinks the Turkey at present is the same as the Turkey of 1915. Of course, this annoys the hell out of the Armenian diaspora.

The issue of reparations is one of the fears of Turkey if it concedes anything. But there are many of those who argue for genocide acceptance who are against the idea of reparations (hitchens come to mind), and the two issues should be kept separate.

2004-12-19 13:32

If you read Bat Ye'or's: "The Dhimmi: Jews and Christians Under Islam" you will understand the implications of muslim rule and how attempts by European powers for equality with muslims in the Ottoman context only resulted in massacres and even genocide for the non-muslims instead of the expected equality, because as I said non-muslims were only tolerated as conquered inferiors. Dadrian's work which I mentioned perfectly explains the context of the Armenian genocide in the context of European diplomacy and weak attempts for Ottoman equality along with the opportunity provided by World War I, sealed the Armenians fate. These are all the works you need to read to understand, forget asking some leftist Turk on a blog.

I am not easily fooled as Talos. Let us put this in context, the survivors of the Ottoman Armenian nation in modern Turkey with their uncertain future, who in their minority position vis a vis the much larger Ottoman Armenian diaspora outside of modern Turkey, predictably these sacrophogi act like conquered subjects and not free humans. The only reason Armenians remain in Turkey is because Izmir and Constantinople were not under full Ottoman control at the time, if they were there would be no Armenians in Turkey.

2004-12-19 14:43
aegean disclosure:

er what? You said "muslims societies cannot see non-muslims as equals" and you tried to back it up with Ottoman history. People here are well aware of the unequality of Ottoman rule, in fact that is why "minority" has negative connotations in Turkey—it implies unequality—as I tried to explain. Going from Dadrian's point to your succinct thesis is one hell of a jump.

"…predictably these sacrophogi act like conquered subjects and not free humans."

Yes, I would imagine Israeli Arabs get this Uncle Tom crap spewed on them from their fellow Arabs as well. What, exactly, is talos getting fooled by?

2004-12-19 18:54

Nikephoros_Phokas: I'm puzzled as to why you think that 17th century empires can be used to model 20th century nation states. An obvious flaw in this argument of yours that sees Turkey's Moslemness as the reason for all the atrocities against Christians (and Jews? Turkey is probably less anti-semitic than Greece) is the fact Turkey showed a similar brutality and determination, both in the case of the (Moslem) Kurds and in the case of the (Moslem) Arabs of Alexandretta - and is equaly tenacious in its claims that it has done no wrong.

Even historically speaking though, whatever the crimes of the Islamic empires, and they were many, need I say that the Christian ones were hardly better? In terms of persecutions of Jews f.e. the Christians were guilty of much more thorough and systematic pogroms. While Muslim's in Byzantium were not tolerated (Nikephoros Phokas' exploits, indeed, in re-conquered Crete is a good example) as in Catholic Spain, in both the Arab and the Ottoman world religious minorities hile oppressed where tolerated and only seldon forced to Islamize.

Yet this is moot. Modern Turkey is a secular state - much more so than Greece, in fact. It's atrocities were driven by nationalist rather than religious rhetoric. An analysis that tries to explain Turkey as if it were Saudi Arabia or even the Ottoman Empire, shows a terrific lack of understanding of the history of the past 90 years - at least among the reality-based community.

Bat Ye'or is a petty little Sharonite propagandist, with the political agenda of trying to build a case for keeping Palestinians under Israeli yoke forever - possibly even getting rid of them. I am highly suspicious of her historical accuracy on anything, since really, a person who could write an article titled "How Europe Became Eurabia", (and the highly ideoleptic nonsense contained therein) just because European nations objected to Israel's construction of the new wall of shame, is hardly to be considered a reasoned voice on anything.

Anyway my question was not about the history of the Armenian genocide, but rather the political power of genocide denial.

2004-12-19 23:38

You need to read history books, there is nothing more to say. If you ignore Turkey being Islamic you cannot understand the Armenian genocide denial, the Sun Theory, Turkey's invasion of Cyprus, the refusal of Turkish Cypriots to be equals with Greek Cypriots, Turkey's constant low level warfare in the Aegean with its airforce. If you read the Koran or some of Bat Ye'or's or Dadrian's scholarship you would understand. Instead you are grasping at straws. You should know as a Greek that the word Turk in Greek colloquial usage is a word with one of its meanings as a Muslim. The Ottoman state became the most predominant because the other muslim principalities neighboring it(there were several) could not attract gazi(Islamic) warriors as they did not border Christian land to conquer. Modern Turkey rose the same after WWI, when the Kemalists took a hard line and reconquered with jihad the Armenian and Greek Christians, as oppossed to the Sultan's government which complied more with Sevres and the modern day gazis supported the Kemalist movement of revanchism.

Christianity spread at first with no state support they were persecuted, they refused to serve in the Roman army, they were ridiculed for being too pacifist. Eventually Christianity became the state religion of Rome, and Christians adopted certain Roman principles of War. "Byzantium at War" a non-scholary study talks about this subject. On the contrast in its whole development the biggest spreader of Islam was jihad wars, Mohammed was a warrior, Jesus was a pacifist. The biggest spreaders of Islam through jihad the Arab nomadic tribes, and the later spreaders of Islam through jihad when the Arab advances stalled, the nomadic Turks had no powerful culture or civilization, they could not spread their religion in any other manner but jihad destruction and the inequality of dhimmitude. Nomads cannot make culturally superior farming peoples to adopt their religion or lifestyle without destroying their societal structures first and reducing them to an inferior status and then offering the ability of removing this inferiority through adopting Islam. Islamization mostly happened because of jihad, the destruction of Christian, Zorostian, Hindu, and Jewish structure, the inferior and onerous dhimmi status, etc. Crete was reconquered as a defensive war. Same with the Crusades which were launched only after the muslims conquered more than half of the Christian world or the Reconquista of Spain which you cite. The Christian world does not and never had a theology of war, but the muslims do and they none of the muslim world has abandoned it. More often that not, when muslim states border non-muslim their a conflict or Cold War. India-Pakistan, Israel-Arabs, Greece and Cyprus-Turkey, Singapore-Malayasia, East Timor-Indonesia, Chechnya-Russia, Bosnia and Kosovo-Serbia. The reasons why these conflicts are so intractable and never ending is because they have a theology of war and unless this abandoned nothing will change.

The difference is when Crusaders do something modern Western scholars are all over it, especially the post-colonial and leftist tendencies. When muslims comment an atrocity, case in point the Armenian genocide, the Turkish government destroys copies of primary source documentation(some of the few surviving copies of the Ottoman government newspaper issues that covered the Ottoman military tribunals prosecuting Ottoman officialery for the destruction of the Armenians according to Dadrian are in the Armenian Patriach in Jerusalem all other copies were confiscated), it pays scholars in the United States to do its bidding, it censors access to archives in Turkey, etc. So in effect the only modern criticism being done is one sided, toward the Christian responses to muslim jihad. Throughout the whole muslim world the behavior of muslim scholars is like that in Turkey. Infact instead of Arab and Turkish immigrants in European/American universities exporting Western values in their scholarship back home they export the censorship and lack of modern criticism of their mother countries to the West. So you have Turkish scholars acting like school teachers toward Westerners, you are so cruel with your Crusades, your Invasion of Anatolia in 1918; essentially they criticize only other societies with exaggerated propaganda.

As to Bat Ye'or have read only one of her books. I disagree with her Eurabia articles, as she is doing what she said you should not when studying dhimmitude narrowing your vision to over-emphasize Israel.

When Turkey was founded the Armenians that survived the Armenian genocide and still lived in Turkey were 200,000 almost all in Istanbul. This community was never targeted for destruction because the Ottoman Empire's WWI ally Germany intervened to protect the Armenian community there. Now this community is not even 1/4 that number today. The Greek community in Turkey that survives is reduced to 1/50th its number when Turkey was founded. To use the words of the leaders of these communities in a weak attempt to make Turkey appear tolerant, will only work on the clueless. Most of the survivors of these communities have voted to live abroad with help from the Turkish state and its policies, those left tend to be too elderly to start a new life.

It has nothing to do with just nationalism. The Turkish nationalism is just built on Islam anyways. This is why Turkey behaves the way it does. If you do not understand this fact you will not understand Turkey's contesting Cyprus, the Aegean, its non-recognition of Cyprus and Armenia(both countries Turkey has invaded).

2004-12-21 11:17

Some points:

1. If Turkey's expansionism were grounded in Muslim attitudes towards christians, how then can you explain Turkey's relentless persecution of the (Moslem) Kurds and the Alexandretta debacle. Hand-in-hand with the Armenian genocide denial Turkey engages in Kurd-denial. The denial that Kurds are anything but "mountain Turks" ethnically.
2. You should know as a Greek that the word Turk in Greek colloquial usage is a word with one of its meanings as a Muslim.
Yes, of course the Turks were the Moslems as far as the christians of conquered Greece were concerned. What does that prove?
3. Modern Turkey rose the same after WWI, when the Kemalists took a hard line and reconquered with jihad the Armenian and Greek Christians …and the modern day gazis supported the Kemalist movement of revanchism.
You're kidding right? Kemal Ataturk, was a secularizer if anything. He created a state that was not only secular (to a degree which exists only in France), but actively oppressed any signs of fundamentalism among Turkey's population.
4. Peaceful Christianity vs. Warlike Islam: I think a reading of Bartolomeo de las Casas will set you straight on this. Or do you think that Latin and North America were Christianized by argument? Corpse by corpse the Christians have a historical edge in religious body-counts.
5. The Arab "nomads" created a civilization that was heads over heals superior technologically, scientifically and culturally to the semi-barbaric West and less centered on religion than the Byzantine. Do I have to remind you that ancient Greece found its way to the Renaissance through Arab scholarship, or the vast contributions of the Arabs in (among other things) Mathematics and Astronomy? In the 8th century the backward religion was certainly Christianity - frankly that's not debateable.
6. The difference is when Crusaders do something modern Western scholars are all over it, especially the post-colonial and leftist tendencies. When muslims comment an atrocity, case in point the Armenian genocide, the Turkish government…
Note the switching of subjects here: this had to be done because in the case of the Armenian genocide modern western scholars are all over the issue as well - and the depraved leftists are the last people to give a damn about the plight of the Kurds.
7. More often that not, when muslim states border non-muslim their a conflict or Cold War. India-Pakistan, Israel-Arabs, Greece and Cyprus-Turkey, Singapore-Malayasia, East Timor-Indonesia, Chechnya-Russia, Bosnia and Kosovo-Serbia.
No these are all examples (except the ex-Yugoslavia) of post-colonial divide-and-conquer strategies implemented by the nice Christian imperialists to ensure their interests. Note for example that Muslim Bangladesh has better realtions with India than with (Muslim) Pakistan. Note the unending brutality in (non-Muslim) Congo. Note the (much bloodier than Serb-Bosnian) Croat-Serbian confrontation (and do you really believe that the Bosnian Moslems started that war?). Note that "christian" Russia is backing Abkhaz (Moslem) and Ossetian (Christian) seperatists in (Christian) Georgia. Also you might have noticed that the Christian USA has invaded Iraq (among many a nation of all creeds and colours) and is brutalizing the population. Note also these sample pairs of heterodox states with no serious problem. Thailand-Malaysia, Uzbekistan-Russia, Algeria-Chad, Azerbaijan-Georgia, Sudan-Ethiopia etc. And these homodox countries that had serious problems with each other: Congo-Rwanda, Ireland-Britain, France-Germany, Greece-Bulgaria, Serbia-Croatia, China-Taiwan, Iran-Iraq, Syria-Turkey, China-Vietnam, USA-Nicaragua, USA-Dominican Republic, USA-Cuba etc.
8. Infact instead of Arab and Turkish immigrants in European/American universities exporting Western values in their scholarship back home they export the censorship and lack of modern criticism of their mother countries to the West.
No… The large and broad secularist current in the Arab and Muslim world in general, that created strong and powerful secular nationalist and leftist movements after the war, was crushed by a concerted effort of local feudal colonialist puppets and the long arm of Western intervention. Where they did take control, f.e. Syria, the ensuing dictatorship might be breathtakingly cruel, but it was certainly secular. See for example the oblitartion of whole towns because they harboured pro-islamist elements or the status of Christians in Syria (vastly better than the status of Muslims in Israel I'd dare say). And Singapore-Malaysia? How many dead does this conflict have?
9. Bat Yeor having proven to be a wingnut as far as Eurabia is concerned, I really can't take seriously as a scholar (_Eurabia_ for cryin'out loud!)
10. The Turkish nationalism is just built on Islam anyways. No, rather on a rejection of Islam as a political force.

2004-12-21 15:30

I think Nikephoros needs some hate+paranoia control. Now, if Talos and m.d are wrong about Turkey, he can always go fight the ensuing war. Wouldn't that be lovely?

2004-12-23 13:34