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France, country of inventions...

A test of France’s intellectual capacity ?

Friday 6 June 2008, by Beril Dedeoğlu

France’s Turkey policy necessitates a high level of creativity. In this context, several inventions have been developed to sustain an attitude of “anything but Turkey’s EU membership.”

Thus Turkey has become a factor to test France’s intellectual capacity.
France’s first invention was to offer Ankara privileged partnership status, the substance of which nobody seems to know. Moreover, this is not a category that exists within the current EU structures or that is compatible with EU ethics. As such a bizarre status couldn’t be proposed officially by the EU, certain people hoped that Turkey would accept it by itself. However, Turkey has categorically refused even to discuss this unethical proposition.

Then, the second invention was put forward, i.e. the Mediterranean Union. France has proposed the establishment of a union of Mediterranean states, granting Turkey the pivotal country role. The purpose of this bright idea was to convince Turkey that the Mediterranean Union is better than the EU. Turkey never understood why it should renounce EU membership for the sake of this strange organization, and it has refused to view it as an alternative to its official EU candidate status. Furthermore, other EU members have also become suspicious of France’s real intentions. After a long quarrel, the Mediterranean Union became the Union for the Mediterranean, and every involved actor affirmed that it cannot and will not be used to replace Turkey’s EU full membership.

The third invention was to remove the words “membership” and “accession” from EU official documents about Turkey. In other words, France has already asked the EU to adopt a negative stance on Turkey’s membership while the latter engages in negotiations as a candidate country. The idea was to give Turkey’s candidacy dubious status, expecting Turkey to negotiate without knowing the final objective of negotiations. As expected, Turkey strongly opposed this stance and many EU member countries have declared that this inappropriate attitude was unworthy of the EU.

Hence the fourth invention was announced — to transfer the authority of the final decision on Turkey’s membership from Brussels to Paris. Thus even if all other EU member states approve Turkey’s full membership, the verdict will come from French voters. Under current laws France has to organize referendums for every future enlargement, but Paris doesn’t want to risk Croatia’s or Kosovo’s future membership. In brief, French decision makers don’t want their nation to refuse everybody, just specific ones. As they cannot give country names, they search objective-looking criteria that would differentiate Turkey from Bosnia, Croatia or Kosovo. They can’t call this criteria “religion” because that would be shameful for secular France, nor “culture” because that would be racist. They can’t determine a geographical limit either because in that case they would face interrogations about Cyprus. Finally they have noticed that Turkey is a populous country and thus they have said “population.” Countries with populations larger than 5 percent of the EU population will have to make it past the referendum if they want to become an EU member. This means that decisions about countries with less than 20 million inhabitants will be made by the politicians, and for the rest the French people will be consulted. So, the solution is simple for France: head counting. Maybe the next invention will be about the shape and the diameter of people’s skulls. It’s obvious that there are politicians in France eager to “protect” their country from crowded “eastern nations.” One wonders when the French people will get fed up with the scare tactics of these politicians.

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Source : TDZ, 04.06.2008

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