SPEAKER 1: This is a production of Cornell University.
NIC VAN DE WALLE: My name is Nic van de Walle. I'm the director of the Einaudi Center, which is sponsoring this event. I want to welcome Professor Laure Delcour, who's come from Paris to participate in today's event. I want to say that we had invited Soner Cagaptay as well, and, well, as of 25 minutes ago, we're not sure where he is. There appears to have been a problem with the plane ride here from Philadelphia.
And we apologize. So we've had to kind of scramble and try to come up with a slightly alternate framework for this. I think we'll do the following. I'm going to talk for just a second. Then the moderator will moderate. Professor Delcour will talk a bit at greater length, and then we'll open it up. And I guess the good news is that you all can participate much more actively, and hopefully take the role of Dr. Cagaptay in this debate. OK?
So this debate is part of our project, Getting to Know Europe, Ithica and the European Union, which the Einaudi Center is pursuing cooperation with the Institute for European Studies. I want to thank the Institute for all of its work on the different events that we've been able to hold this fall.
This is also part of our foreign policy initiative. We are hopeful that debates on foreign policy issues of the day can be a regular part of our programming, and are currently at work on another such event for the spring term. And that's basically the end of my role.
Let me introduce today's moderator. Chris Anderson is a professor in the Government department here at Cornell. He teaches courses on comparative European politics, and conducts research on the micro foundations of democracy and political economy. He holds a PhD from the Washington University of St. Louis, and he studied at the University of Cologne in Germany, and Virginia Tech University. Chris, the floor is yours.
CHRIS ANDERSON: Thank you, Nic, and I will stand over here, because I have a job to do.
LAURE DELCOUR: I will do it.
CHRIS ANDERSON: No? Oh, you will do it? All right. Then I'll stand over here to introduce our speaker. Thanks, Nic. I'm very pleased to welcome to the Cornell campus, Dr. Laure Delcour who is, as Nic was saying, a researcher on the European Union, and who teaches at Sciences Po. And those of you who do political science know what Sciences Po is. It's a leading research university in the social sciences in Paris.
Let me tell you a little bit about Laure who'll get a couple of more moments to take a breath before she has to speak. She has written and taught extensively on the EU's external relations, including the EU enlargement process which is, of course, the topic of tonight's discussion.
She's also worked on the European neighborhood policy and EU Russia relations. She received her PhD from Sciences Po, I believe, and her dissertation was on EU Russia relations. But she's also very active beyond the world of academe.
She's worked extensively as an advisor and trainer in various capacities to train civil servants for various European agencies and educational organizations, and that includes the Bruges College of Europe, the French National School of Administration, and the Swedish Development Cooperation Agency.
She is a [INAUDIBLE] scientist by training, as am I, and we are very sorry to miss the other speaker tonight who is a historian by training, but I think between us and the crowd here tonight, we might be able to lend a historic perspective as well.
So I'm very, very pleased to introduce Laure. What we'll do is slightly different from what we had originally planned. Laure will take about 20-25 minutes, I believe, to present. We were originally going to have some comments from me. I will ask maybe a couple of questions and then we can open it up for the audience. So here we go, Laure Delcour.
LAURE DELCOUR: Do I have to turn it on? OK. So first of all, let me thank the Cornell University and the Einaudi Center and Nic van de Walle for inviting me here. And I want also to thank Heike Michelson for her precious help in organizing these visits.
My speech today will focus on Turkey's accession to the European Union, but ascent from a European perspective. So I will address today three key questions linked with the Turkish accession process.
First the evolution of the European Union's position vis-a-vis Turkish accession, and the current official line of the European Union. Then the kind of hidden agenda beyond and behind that official European Union line, the reasons which make Turkish application so specific for the European Union, and the reasons which create divergences among European Union actors. And finally, the impact of Turkish application on the European Union integration process.
So first, a short insight into the history of Turkish application. The key lesson to be drawn from that short history is that Turkey expressed its interest for being associated to the European community almost since the community was created in 1957. And such interest was expressed before countries like the United Kingdom, for instance.
So in 1959, Turkey applied for association to the newly created European economy community. And the other salient feature, when looking back to the past, is that in the early 1960s, the prospect of a Turkish membership was explicitly foreseen by the European community.
And, for instance, you can see that in the association agreement signed in 1963, aiming at bringing Turkey into a Customs Union with the economic community, and to eventual membership. And the preamble explicitly provides that efforts undertaken by the people of Turkey will then facilitate Turkey's accession to the community.
And indeed, at that time, it seemed it was quite natural in the context of the Cold War to foresee Turkey's accession. And so for us, Turkey was a strategic ally of the Western Bloc and a member of NATO, like the other six founding states of the European community.
So basically, what happened afterwards? What happened to Turkish application? Well, as a matter of fact, it simply disappeared from the top priorities of the European community because of the upheavals in central Europe and because of the end of the Cold War.
So in the 1990s, the European community focused on its own internal integration process. It transformed into a European Union in 1993. It also launched a process of economic and monetary union leading to the creation of the Euro, and it also launched a process of political union leading to a common foreign policy.
And also, immediately after the end of the Cold War, it engaged into a wide ranging process of enlargement to former Soviet satellites, including the design of a strategy and tools which were tailor made to the needs of central Europe.
So even though a Customs Union was finally created 30 years after the association treaty between Turkey and the European Union, there was very little progress in the relations with Turkey until 1999.
And indeed, 1999 is a turning point for Turkish application. At that time, the European Council in Helsinki decided to grant Turkey the official candidate status. So that's kind of a first step towards membership. And that new status allowed to adopt an accession partnership which is basically a work map for accession to the European Union.
And two years later, in October 2005, based upon a positive assessment of the European Commission, negotiations for Turkish accession started, at the same time as Croatia. So basically, we are now standing here. The last step will be the closure of negotiations, and the signature of the accession treaty to be approved by all EU member states, and by the European parliaments.
So the decision of granting that official candidate status reflects a new official European line regarding Turkey's accession. And that new line is based upon a strict application of EU accession criteria. So as a matter of fact, the European Union has turned Turkey into a candidate like the other candidates, which was not the case before.
So let's have a look at the EU's accession criteria, and also at Turkey's record in fulfilling them. In the early 1990s, the European Union gave, for the first time, a formal definition of the conditions to be met for joining. And those conditions are known as the Copenhagen Criteria, and they were designed in the light of enlargement to central European countries.
So you have a first set of criteria, political criteria, such as table institutions, which currently democracy, rule of law, respect of human rights, and protection of minorities, and then economic criteria. And you can see that those criteria were specifically designed for central European post-communist countries, so a functioning market economy and a proven ability to face competition within the European Union.
And finally, a third set of criteria is the adoption of the acquis communautaire. That is the laws and legal text decided and drafted by the European Union, and the ability to fulfill the obligations stemming from European Union membership.
So in fact, before the Copenhagen criteria were designed, the only condition to join the EC was political. And you can see that from the examples of Spain, Portugal, and Greece that joined after the collapse of dictatorships.
Now, about Turkey's current record, regarding the implementation of those criteria, while it is rather positive, according to the report which was just issued by the European Commission a few days ago, unlike central European countries, the economic criteria are not such a big deal for Turkey.
And Turkey has also achieved substantial progress in the political area. But at the same time, Turkey needs to progress in a number of human rights-related areas and issues, for example, cases of torture, for example, also maybe an excessive influence of the army over intellectual and political life, and also, Turkey needs to develop further legal approximation in specific areas, legal approximation to those of the European Union.
However, beyond the formal criterion, there is a kind of hidden agenda, and the Turkish application raises a number of specific issues upon which the European Union has adopted quite different position.
The first issue is the recognition of Armenian massacres of 1915 as a genocide. So tensions arised with member states having recognized the Armenian massacres as a genocide, for example, France.
The European Parliament and the European Commission have called to an open debate between Armenia and Turkey, but they have also made it clear that the recognition by Turkey of the Armenian genocide is not a condition for joining the European Union. And that was stated quite recently by the European parliament. So it is not part of the set of political criteria for joining the Union.
The second issue on the agenda of Turkish accession is the possible intervention of Turkey in northern Iraq against PKK. And here again, well, the European Union supported Turkey through condemning, like the US, the PKK as a terrorist organization. And it also expressed its understanding for Turkey's concern while calling, at the same time, to a political solution.
However, the third issue, and the key issue, which is not negotiable for the European Union is Cyprus. Greek Cyprus has been a member state of the European Union since 2004, and on the one hand, Turkey is committed to a settlement of the Cyprus problem under the auspices of the United Nations.
But on the other hand, it does not implement, vis-a-vis Cyprus, the additional protocol to the association agreement that is the protocol dedicated to the EU member states. So there is a kind of discrimination by Turkey among EU member states. And that is not acceptable to the European Union.
As a consequence, in November 2006, the commission recommended to partially suspend negotiations with Turkey due to the lack of progress on the Cyprus issue. Now another part of the hidden agenda behind the official line supporting accession, if Turkey fulfills, of course, the criteria, there are huge differences vis-a-vis Turkey's membership among EU member states.
On the one hand, we have member states favoring Turkish membership, for example, the new member states, for example, the United Kingdom. On the other hand, we have hardliners opposing strongly Turkey's accession, like Austria or France. And those countries, and also the German [INAUDIBLE] political party, suggested building a privileged partnership instead of accession.
However, and that is quite interesting, member states' positions are also subject to evolution, and the best example of that is provided by Greece. Greece is now one of the biggest supporters of Turkish accession to the European Union after having strongly opposed it. And France has also now quite a softer discourse with President Sarkozy recently stating that France would not oppose the resuming of negotiations with Turkey.
It should be noted that the European Commission is instrumental in trying to bring together member states position and it does so through sticking to a technical assessment of the Turkish application. Now, what are the key factors shaping perceptions and position vis-a-vis Turkish succession?
Differences among member states are structured along three main lines-- first, economy. The Turkish accession, on the one hand, can be seen as a chance for the European Union, as an opportunity of integrating a large and dynamic market.
On the other hand, it is also seen by opponents as a future financial burden with the European Union, especially for correcting imbalances with Turkey under the original policy of the European Union.
The second factor, explaining European perceptions, is Turkey's size and demography. If Turkey joined today the European Union, then it will be the second largest member states just after Germany. And that would imply huge changes in the current decision-making system with, for example, a new balance of votes within the European Council, but also a new balance of deputies within the European Parliament, a new balance also within the European Commission, and new budgets and so on.
Of course, a related fear is Turkey's religion and the fear of a Muslim-led Europe. And that is quite salient in countries like France and Austria. And finally, Europe is also afraid of a flow of Turkish gastarbeiter, of Turkish immigrants, and that was also the case with central European countries. And that didn't occur.
A third line along which EU positions are structured relates to international relations, and that is less visible maybe. Countries opposing Turkish accession argued that it would bring the European Union much closer to unstable areas, and to conflicts, for example, well, Syria, Iraq, Iran, but also Caucasus countries and conflicts-- Chechnya.
On the contrary, other member states see Turkish membership as a chance, as an opportunity to strengthen the European Union's international influence. Beyond perception, what is the expected impact of Turkish accession to the European Union, to the European integration process?
And my key point here will be that Turkey's application is a kind of mirror of Europe's own dilemmas, and it raises three crucial challenges to the European Union. The first challenge is about EU's identity. What does being European mean?
With Turkish accession, the European Union is faced with the need to define its own identity and, of course, to go beyond the treatise which provides that any European country that respects the principles of the European Union may apply to join.
So what is European? The problem for the European Union is the lack of valid criteria for defining itself. First, geography does not help. You have countries in Europe which are not part of the European Union, for example, Switzerland, for example, Norway.
You have also, well, regions outside Europe which are part of the European Union, for example, former French colonies. And finally, the eastern borders of Europe are not clearly delineated, so it is quite difficult for the European Union to base its own identity on geographical grounds because, for instance, it would include a part of Turkey, the small part of Turkey being in Europe, and excludes the other one, the biggest one,
History does not help neither because linking the European Union identity to history, to European history, would lead to the inclusion into the European Union of countries which played a major role in European history-- of course, Turkey, but also, for example, Russia.
And finally, there was a debate around the Constitution, the Constitutional Treaty, about the validity of religion as the basis of European identity. For example, countries like Poland favor the reference in the Constitution to the question roots of Europe, which it was finally decided to mention only a religious inheritance because, for example, Islam is a part of European history as well.
And it is also a key religion in several countries, for example, in Bosnia, and also in Albania. So the only valid criterion to define the European Union's identities, political, that is the compliance with democracy, rule of law, and the political criteria of accession, and also the willingness to join the European Union.
And of course, Turkey cannot be rejected on that ground. Turkey raises a second challenge to the European Union and that is the need for delineating its borders. So where does the European Union end? Where do we stop?
Since we defined the European integration as a political process, it has to be an effective process, a manageable process. And the EU is about to incorporate new member states, and to become a kind of monster with 35 states in.
So turkey is not, by far, the only candidate knocking at the door. We have Croatia, and former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, which also started negotiations, and then Serbia, Bosnia, Montenegro, Albania, that are considered officially as candidates, as potential candidates.
But there are also other countries that have no official status and that are willing to join. We have Moldova, and especially we have Ukraine. Even before the Orange Revolution, Ukraine had adopted a national program of legal approximation for approximating its laws to those of the European Union.
We have also Georgia that is now undergoing times of trouble. So we have the risk of an ever enlarging union, with over 40 members non-manageable. And therefore, last year, the European Union decided to define a new accession criterion, and that is its own absorption capacity.
And that criterion will strictly depend upon the European Union and not upon the candidates. But at the same time, Turkish accession will make it very difficult for the European Union to reject Ukrainian or Georgian applications.
The third challenge raised by Turkey's application is the need to build a vision, to define a project for European integration. Over the last 50 years, the European Union integration process has been progressing through pragmatism, the so-called money method, a pragmatic method, and such a method favored major achievements.
But it has also major shortcomings, one of those being the so-called democratic deficit of the European Union. So as a matter of fact, fears of Turkey's accession are also linked and reflect rejection by European citizens of the European Union's own shortcomings.
And that was quite clear in the case of France at the moment of the vote against the Constitution. Furthermore, divergences around Turkish accession also reflect different visions of the European Union integration. So Turkey's application requires the European Union to clarify its own final objectives.
What do we want to get out of European integration? Is it a single market like the UK favors? Or is it a new political actor? The European Union has set forth to build a vision of its own future, and it's no coincidence of Turkey's accession, on the one hand, and on the other hand, the Constitutional Treaty of parallel processes.
So my final words. What are the concrete prospects for Turkish accession? Turkey has still a long way to go before fulfilling accession criteria. Last week in Brussels, the Turkish minister of economy mentioned 2014 as a possible date for membership, but 2020, which is the beginning of the next EU financial perspectives, is much more likely.
A second option, and that would create a precedent in the European Union's history, is non-accession, non-accession following the end of negotiations, either through the failure of negotiations or through the rejection of the accession treaty by one member state, or several.
And as a matter of fact, opinion polls show that 48% of EU citizens are against Turkey joining the European Union, while only 39% are in favor. And several member states, like France, for example, already announced there would be a vote for accession treaty for Turkey.
Also we have to think beyond Turkey's accession. If we take the European Commission's official line, what the commission is currently doing, that is de-politicizing Turkey's application, that helps building compromises around technical issues.
But at the same time, it is a way out of the key issues facing the European integration process. So designing a political vision for European integration is a precondition to be fulfilled by the European Union to make future accession successful. Thank you very much.
CHRIS ANDERSON: Thank you very much, Laure. So my job is to ask a couple of stimulating provocative questions. I hope I can do that. But before I get to the questions, I was going to emphasize a couple of things that Laure did say, and to bring them home.
Since we are in the United States of America, a country that has grown over the years through the accession of member states, and at some point thought it was done by hitting the Pacific Ocean and then continued by incorporating Hawaii, eventually-- and then, we may not be done. Who knows?
I think to Americans, Americans can innately relate to this question of growing, or an ever-larger and ever-growing union in a very specific way. And one of the things that strikes me about the European Union and the project is what an amazing project it really is, what an unusual project it is.
It's a story with a story line, but a very uncertain outcome. And I think the membership application of Turkey is really a critical part of the story because it really forces the Europeans to think really, really hard about who they are and who they want to be, and to think, both in practical terms, but also in very idealistic terms about what it is that we mean when we say Europe or the European Union.
So I really like this dilemma. I really like this topic because it forces a conversation, and it forces a discussion, and it forces a debate both among the Europeans, within the European Union, at different levels, but it also forces a debate within Turkey.
I know we have some people here from Turkey. This is also a very contentious topic within Turkey, or a topic certainly that you will hear people talk about. All right. Excellent. OK. So this operates at two levels really. In a way, to summarize some of the questions here, the question is how will the accession of Turkey change Europe or change the EU part of Europe?
And the other part of it is, though, is how the EU will change Turkey, and what kind of Turkey will it produce through accession? So for me, part of the debate we're having is about whether Turkey will join the EU. And the other part of the debate is when it might conceivably join the EU.
And I'm not entirely sure that we know what the question is, in that regard. And I was hoping that Laure could maybe take a moment to talk about who, in Europe, is talking about the weather, and who, in Europe, is talking about the when. From your presentation, it struck me that the people in Brussels are talking about the when. They're talking about the technical criteria and the negotiation and the compromise, and accession and so on.
They focused on fairly technical details, as they are wont to do, but it strikes me that a lot of Europe was talking about whether, and maybe not all of Europe, but certainly, if you go to Austria, if you go to France, or if you go to Germany, or Luxembourg, you'll find a lot of people asking the whether question.
So that was the first general comment I had, the first question I had. And the second one is, since we are in the United States, why should Americans care? Why do we need to know? Is it in our interest that Turkey become a member of the European Union? Is it in our interest to have a member state of the European Union that borders on Iraq in this post-911 world?
Maybe is it not in our interest? If it is about interest, what is it that we can do to shape the outcome that we desire? So if you could take a couple of moments to talk about those issues, that'd be great. And then I'll take questions from the floor.
LAURE DELCOUR: I think you are quite right to say that people in Brussels are talking about the one because in every issue, they are talking about the one because first, it's closely linked to the political nature of the European Commission for which time is a strong constraint.
The European Commission has very little resources, and so it's pretty much constrained by time. But beyond that, it's also a choice, a political choice, by the European Commission to focus on technical issues. And that stems from the history of the European Union because the first political projects focused on, for example, defense policies, or high politics
You had [INAUDIBLE] the force Europe and defense community. In 1954, which was rejected by the French parliament, and so the first attempt to unite European people was a failure. So it led the European Commission and European institutions to, well, to abandon high politics for a while, at least for three decades, and to focus on true, purely technical matters.
And of course, well, I tried to show in my presentation that focusing on technical criteria, objective criteria, is also a way of escaping the true questions, true issues. And of course, there's a growing feeling among European countries that accession enlargements are being made, well, without European citizens.
Obviously, that was the case for enlargement to the 10 member states. There was no consultation of European citizens. And the rejection of the Constitutional Treaty in France, in the Netherlands, was also a protest against, well, that passed enlargement, and that way of doing by the European Commission.
Regarding the US position, I see no reason why the US would be against the enlargement to Turkey. It is, rather, a guarantee of stability for the United States, and it is also a guarantee of having another, well, an ally or a friend struggling in unstable areas. It's maybe you have different point of views.
CHRIS ANDERSON: OK, thank you. There's a question up there. We'll start taking questions.
AUDIENCE: In terms of government, this was supposed to be a debate, I will just start the debate immediately, then, countering your point on the US. It seems to me you could also argue that the US should have no interest in having Turkey getting into the European Union since recently Turkish-American relations haven't been very harmonious. If you look at the position that the Turkish population generally has towards the US, I think only in Palestine you find a lower approval rating.
And there are also some Americans that feel probably some unease about a potential competitor in the European Union. Now this potential competitor. If Turkey really joins the European Union as a member, it would probably deprive the US from an option of playing either with Turkey or with the European Union. In other words, it would lose a certain option in its foreign policy. And if the European Union should oppose the US on certain matters-- economic or whatever, related to the Iraq war, and so on-- things would probably become much more difficult for the US.
So I think you could also argue-- I mean, the US could just be against Turkish membership just as well.
LAURE DELCOUR: There is an interesting assumption in your speech. That is that Turkey's accession will strengthen the European Union. And that's not sure from the political point of view. And especially taking into account the current complexity of the decision making system.
So we just agreed on new modes of-- well, new votes, new modes of decision making, and it has been a struggle for the last five years. So I'm not sure, if Turkey joins, that it will strengthen the European Union. And maybe the problems will not come from Turkey but from other member states. For example, currently Poland is quite problematic regarding the decision making system.
But again, I'm not sure the US sees Europe as a competitor. And that is also the UK position. We have to get a wider Union in order to have a weaker Union. So maybe US support of Turkey's accession is in the same line of thinking.
CHRIS ANDERSON: Yes. We have two hands up. First here, and then this gentleman.
AUDIENCE: This is an argument that needs to be said. Why do you think that when anyone round the world starts to discuss the Armenian Genocide and the Kosovo [INAUDIBLE] recognizing there was, in fact, a genocide, rather than a civil war, and that there are still people who are alive who still have first hand, there is documentation of it-- that somehow Turkey gets defensive and starts to make [INAUDIBLE] no threats of cutting off things and bringing their [INAUDIBLE].
Are they willing to review the documents that might point to the fact that there was, in fact, a genocide, rather than a civil war?
LAURE DELCOUR: Well, that would be a question to Dr. Cagaptay, I think. I will try to answer. I'm not sure there has been some progress in Turkey about the recognition of the genocide. And in fact, also many European countries, many member states, are quite critical of the European Union's not taking into account that particular issue as a criterion for Turkish accession.
I think the European Union-- what the European Union is currently trying to do is to call for a real debate on Turkey, which, as far as I know, has not taken place so far. Of course, there have been some debates in Turkey but not involving, as far as I know-- but I'm not sure about that-- for example, Armenian historians. And that's what the European Union-- I mean, the Commission and the parliament are trying to get out of Turkey without making it a condition, because--
AUDIENCE: How can it not be a condition if we are trying to promote democracy around the world? How can we just allow that to be part of our past, knowing that it's going to be part of our future. We accept the future genocides if we allow that to exist without being acknowledge.
LAURE DELCOUR: We had a debate yesterday around that issue. And again, there is a legal definition of genocide, which was created after the Armenian Genocide. And I think one of the issues for Turkey is also the validity, the scientific validity, of the word "genocide." Does it really apply to the massacres which obviously took place in Turkey vis-a-vis Armenians?
Some member states of European Union clearly decided that it applies. But as far as it remains a painful and open question in Turkey, the European Union can not do anything else but calling for a debate. I mean, making it a condition would not be a solution, because you have to think also about other potential member states that experienced recent genocides. For example, Serbia.
So you have to be careful. And maybe the decision of calling it a genocide should not be taken by the European Union but under the auspices of the United Nations. And afterwards, then it could become a condition. But it has to be scientifically or legally defined as a genocide on an international basis.
CHRIS ANDERSON: There's another question. Gentlemen right behind you.
AUDIENCE: I wonder if it's possible to link the "when" and the "whether" as follows. You final slide pointed out something we know, that we're talking 2014 or even 2020, because there are many chapters, and this is difficult negotiation. It seems to me that some of the current discussion takes place on the premise it's going to happen tomorrow. The mention of Iraq, for example.
By the next 13 years, for example, there will be a new demography, a new population in Turkey. The demographic decline in Europe will probably not reverse itself, so the question of labor mobility becomes important. There's some indication that the Turkish economy and middle class is growing. And I think you may have some really faint signs, some addressing across time, of the Armenian issue and some of the other issues that might strick in the craw of Christian Europe issues [INAUDIBLE]. And there will be new Europeans by 2020, some of whom are just being born.
So I'm just wondering if your sense, or if this is discussed, that by 2020, the labor, cultural transformation, et cetera, transform the whole political, economic, and demographic environment under which these questions will be debated. So if the "when" is put off, then the "whether" may answer itself accordingly.
LAURE DELCOUR: I'm quite sure that's what the Commission is relying upon.
AUDIENCE: That's a gamble.
LAURE DELCOUR: Yeah. And it is also a good way of escaping, again, a real thinking, a real reflection, critical reflection, on the purposes of European integration process. And in my opinion, this is quite risky, because it widens the gap between the European Union and its citizens.
A lot of people within the European Union are wondering, well, what do we want? Where are we going? And also, the question, which was never raised before, what are we doing together?
So just after the war, of course, World War II, there were strong incentives for bringing together peoples of Europe. But now, peace is a kind of habit. You can get used to it. So there's no longer motivations or incentives to go on together, and also to bring in other people.
CHRIS ANDERSON: Can I just add to that. The generational issue is an interesting one that you raise. What happens with the passage of time? I would add to that that the generation of Europeans that formed sort of the original core of the European Union was a generation of people who had experienced the war, or two wars, as children or as adults. And I think they had a really strong personal commitment to moving this forward in a particular direction.
And that generation is disappearing. Among political leaders. If you look at who Sarkozy is, who [? Baca ?] is, and these people are involved in a lot of these decisions, they're not people who remember the war. They weren't born when the war ended. And so I think, for them, personally, it doesn't hold the same kind of connection, emotional sort of bond, that it does for leaders today who are playing a different game, I think, in that sense.
LAURE DELCOUR: Same for the Cold War.
CHRIS ANDERSON: Say again.
LAURE DELCOUR: Same for the Cold War.
CHRIS ANDERSON: Uh-huh. Right.
LAURE DELCOUR: You have teenagers or children who have never experienced the Cold War. The fear of USSR and so on. So there's no incentive to struggle for Europe.
CHRIS ANDERSON: There's a hand up over here.
AUDIENCE: Yeah. I would like just to follow on that. Among 48% of the US, US citizens, do they just have a lack of interest, or is it a fear? What is the major reason why they say no?
LAURE DELCOUR: In the case of Turkey, obviously it's fear. Fear of a Muslim Europe. Fear of immigrant flows, as I said. To a certain extent, fear of economic competition. Fear of getting closer to conflict areas. And also, resentment against European Union itself for not being associated to the decision making process and for being, well, left aside from the previous announcement wave.
CHRIS ANDERSON: What's interesting about the question, the percentages that you mentioned, is-- I dug this up before the talk. I thought this might come up. The question actually asks, "Once Turkey complies with all the conditions set by the European Union, would you be in favor or against accession of Turkey to the European Union?"
So once they've done their homework, once everything's OK, they're behaving well, everything is as it should be, are you for or against? And 48% say against, and 39% say for. That's quite a strong number.
One of the things to keep in mind, though, is that there's a lot of what we call in survey research non-attitudes having to do with Turkey and enlargement generally. The European Union in general. There are a lot of people tend to say, I really don't know. I can't give you an answer. Those are quite sizable percentages in most of the surveys.
So these are not cast in stone, I would argue. But they're certainly indicative of what's happening right now. When you ask Europeans, do you think it's more in the favor-- is it in Turkey's interest, the EU's interest, or both that Turkey join, for instance, the vast majority of Europeans say, it's in Turkey's interests predominantly to join the European Union. And a very small percentage says it's primarily in the EU's interest.
When you ask Turks who they think benefits from Turkey joining the European Union, what you'll find is that many people don't have an opinion. But more people say that the EU will benefit from Turkey's entering the European Union than say that it's primarily Turkey that will benefit. I think the numbers are 30% saying it's primarily the EU that will benefit and about 10% or 12% say it's primarily Turkey that will benefit.
LAURE DELCOUR: There's a widespread feeling in the European Union that enlargement benefits only candidate countries and not the European Union. And this is linked to the fact that this is not, well, any more an issue in Europe. So people cannot see any incentives for bringing, for example, Bulgaria or Romania in. And that was already the case for Central Europe, not only for Turkey.
CHRIS ANDERSON: Yes. There's a hand back there. Yes.
AUDIENCE: I think they had good questions. So if tomorrow morning the EU tells Turkey to remove the headscarf ban to join the EU, do you think the Turkish government would reverse the ban, or if the--
LAURE DELCOUR: I don't think the EU will--
AUDIENCE: --trying to do its homework, never-ending homework.
LAURE DELCOUR: I'm quite sure the European Union will not have such a requirement, so I cannot answer that question. No. It was not requested from Albania. No. No. This would not be a requirement, for sure.
CHRIS ANDERSON: Yes. Yes. That lady, right there.
AUDIENCE: I wish to point out that Giscard d'Estaing--
LAURE DELCOUR: Sorry, I cannot hear you.
AUDIENCE: I wish to remark that Giscard d'Estaing, perhaps 10 years ago, said that if Turkey gets into the EU, that's the end of the EU. And this really open the floodgates to all of the sentiments, resentments, however you want to think about it. And Angela Merkel has said that this will not happen on her watch. Do you care to comment on that? Is Giscard d'Estaing still out there? Has he changed his mind, or does Sarkozy different opinion on it?
LAURE DELCOUR: As I say it, well, leaders [INAUDIBLE] and member states positions can change. And over the last month, for example, for France, when he was a candidate and when he was-- after his election, President Sarkozy had, well, not a different position, but the discourse changed.
When he was a candidate, he was really a hardliner against Turkey. And afterwards, when he became involved into the European Union negotiation process, he understood that he had to be more cautious about it. So there are a lot of factors which can bring the member states position to change.
For instance, other candidate countries have an impact. For instance, international events have an impact. If there is a war in Iran, for example, that will have an impact. And so on.
CHRIS ANDERSON: Yes.
AUDIENCE: Do you have [INAUDIBLE] two different types of visions of European Union-- the Anglo Saxon, very loose market place, and the more continental idea of creating a more federal and political unity. And Turkey seems to embody this crisis in identity, because right now having Turkey entering the European Union would be-- I'm sorry, Professor [INAUDIBLE]-- a victory for America and the British in crucially weakening the political union of the European Union.
Do you think it would be possible, first of all, to bring the institutions at a level to which it could-- at a level of political integration that would allow the European Union to integrate Turkey and still have a political unity? And furthermore, would it be possible to go into a two-track Europe [INAUDIBLE] where we could integrate Turkey in this sort of vast market area, and then keep all the countries, like Turkey first, and Great Britain because it never wants to touch [INAUDIBLE] Europe as much. And at the same time, have a very strong political Europe inside Europe. Sort of Double European Union. Could be a solution to the contradictions of Turkey in the European Union.
LAURE DELCOUR: I'm not sure it could be a double European Union. It would be a triple or more. But your questions are closely related because there's already no political unity within the European Union. And you can see that from the fact that some countries-- and especially among new member states.
Poland, not to mention, vetoed the majority's decisions. So for example, there is a new agreement to be signed with Russia, and Poland has decided to put it's veto. So that's over.
And so there's already no political unity, and solutions have to be found now before Turkey's accession and not afterwards. It will be too late. And that's the big failure of the Nice Council, Nice Treaty, which did not sort out the issue of balance within the Council, within the Commission, within the parliament.
So basically, even now, the only solution to get out of the dilemma is to have Europe a la carte. And that's already the case. That has been the case for a long time. When you think of Europe, it is a kind of Europe a la carte. Not every European state has euro. On a few elected and selected members. Same for justice and home affairs issues. For example, the Schengen area.
So that is probably a way of integrating Turkey. But furthermore, I'm not sure that there are only two visions of the European integration process. Probably even on the-- well, not talking even about Great Britain and its vision of the European Union as a market, as a free trade area. You have also within the continent different visions of the European Union. For example, you have the so-called small states, such as Belgium, or Luxembourg, or the Netherlands to a lesser extent, but especially Belgium, that are strongly in favor of federal union.
And on the contrary, France is strongly in favor of the [INAUDIBLE] vision Europe of member states, Europe of nations. So those are also different visions. And it's already quite difficult to find out a way to reconcile those visions.
CHRIS ANDERSON: Yes, we have a question over here, [? Burke. ?]
AUDIENCE: Well, I, first of all, thank you so much for this very interesting and important presentation. I think it was especially helpful for an American audience. Although I have to add that I find it ironic that around the question of [INAUDIBLE], you discussed the chair that is reserved for the Turkish presenter or speaker is left empty. So it's very civil in the sense that Europe captured the 50 years of continued relations in a very meek manner.
CHRIS ANDERSON: Not by design. Not by design.
AUDIENCE: And of course, [INAUDIBLE], I don't like the guy. I wasn't very happy. But of course, as much as Turkey's membership to the EU raises some questions about EU overall and mirrors some of the problems, as you were rightly pointing out, it also mirror some of the potential or actual problems [INAUDIBLE] in terms for the position. And I guess looking at the questions, and then listening to some of the comments that people have been making, we can really capture what's wrong within Turkey.
I would actually like to follow the trend and make two short comments, and then come up with my own question to raise a new issue. First of all, in regards to the Armenian Genocide issue, as much as I sympathize with your position, and I certainly don't see the events as civil war, I think it's a terrible [INAUDIBLE] to basically force Turkey to accept this as a precondition into becoming a member of the EU for basically three reason.
One, it weakens the angle of moderates in Turkey as we debate the issue. Two, I think one of the [INAUDIBLE] aspects of the democratic existence is to accept and tolerate other viewpoints however you might disagree with them or find the to be wrong or stupid. And then third, I think this raises a moral issue that most of EU member states have gone through similar states. So for example, will France recognize the Algerian Genocide? Will the British recognize the Kenyan Genocide? Also, some other countries, there's that were committed by European states.
So I would like to put that on the table. With regards to this fabled American views among the Turkish electorate, although that is true, we have to keep on mind that this, I think, refers to the low approval ratings of the [INAUDIBLE] within Turkey, which right now is, I think, around/below 10%. But in this country, it's also low, in the low 30s range. So I think the US is sort of following along the Turkish electorate in that issue.
Coming to my question. Although people have raised this issue with regards to Giscard, I'm curious as to how you perceive or how, let's say, European [INAUDIBLE] look at the [INAUDIBLE] power for the last five years, simply because of the fact I think that raises a critical question. What aspect of Turkey would the EU like to incorporate? Is it the Islamic Turkey, the Populist Turkey, the Democratist Turkey, or the Nationalist Turkey? And then this whole debate is going on between the middle classes and the military versus the Islamic [INAUDIBLE] reflecting some sort of a shift of power is actually very interesting. So I'm curious as to how you look at that.
LAURE DELCOUR: Thank you. We had already yesterday a debate on the genocide, so I will not-- including about French genocide in Algeria. So I will not--
I will not speak about that. But I think, basically, we have to--
LAURE DELCOUR: We have to remain cautious about the word genocide because it was designed for a very specific situation, which is the Holocaust. And it is-- I mean, you cannot downplay the war. It's not possible.
About the perception-- the Brussels perceptions of the Turkish government, I think it has been evolving over time. And now the perceptions are quite positive because the European Union found out that the Turkish government succeeded in leading a number of reforms. And you should have a look at the European Commission last report, progress report, on Turkish accession. And it was quite positive about the government.
Also, this is linked to the fact that the European Union is willing to incorporate the moderate part of Turkey, of course, and the democratic part. So it is, of course, much more willing to cope with a democratic and even with the army than with an Islamic Turkey.
CHRIS ANDERSON: There are several more hands up. We have one over here, and then a couple more in the middle. So let me go from here around this way.
AUDIENCE: Great. Thank you. I heard a UN delegates say that when Turkey enters the European Union, it will become an Islamic state. And I was wondering why they would say that. And then they said that it would be a disaster for all. I was wondering why would it be a disaster for all?
LAURE DELCOUR: Well, I don't know what he had in mind, but of course you can find different explanations. It would be a disaster for the European Union if no solution is found to the inefficient decision making system. It will be maybe a disaster for Turkey also if Turkey feels not being accepted by European citizens. And my feeling is that it would be a disaster if the European Union does not design a political vision of its own future and its own objectives. But you can easily find other explanations.
CHRIS ANDERSON: Here. Yes.
AUDIENCE: I have question about your views on the-- you say that a lot of Europeans fear a Muslim Europe, to me, that means that Muslim and Europe is mutually exclusive, so I was wondering if you could elaborate on that point.
LAURE DELCOUR: No. Muslim and Europe are certainly not mutually exclusive because you must remember that Muslims once ruled parts of Europe. And that was obviously the case in Spain. For example, in the eighth or ninth century that was the case in the Balkans, and that is still the case. And furthermore, there are important Muslim minorities in a number of states. For example, in France, for example, in the United Kingdom, in Germany as well.
So that was my point about religion not being a valid criterion for defining European identity. There is a Muslim Europe. There is, of course, a Christian Europe, but a Christian Catholic, Christian orthodox. There is also a Jewish Europe. So Europe is not linked to a specific religion, I think.
CHRIS ANDERSON: Yes.
AUDIENCE: You talked about the issue among some Europeans there being fear of immigration, fear of a Muslim Europe, and that issue could be especially poignant with immigration rights they had recently. And yet, at the same time, I see that Sarkozy is more open to the idea of Turkey joining the EU. So is there a disconnect between Sarkozy and the French people on the issue of Turkey joining the EU.
LAURE DELCOUR: No. No. No, I don't think so. Because Sarkozy is currently setting up a hard line on immigration policy, allowing qualified people to get into-- to come to France and to get, well, green cards, and even citizenship. And that does not apply to Turkey. That is not targeted at Turkey, but rather at northern African or African states.
So the flow of immigrants is a kind of irrational picture, a kind of irrational fear among EU citizens, and especially French or maybe German citizens. And that was already a fear of, for example, hordes or troops of Hungarians crossing the Danube and invading Paris. But of course, it did not take place.
CHRIS ANDERSON: The Polish plumbers never came. We will take two more questions, and then we'll call it a day. There was one hand up over here. And there are two of you. Maybe you can fight out which of you wants to ask the last question.
AUDIENCE: Germany has already experienced difficulties in integrating its Turkish population.
LAURE DELCOUR: I cannot hear you. Sorry.
AUDIENCE: Germany has already experienced difficulties in integrating its Turkish population, and among the EU provisions for member states, there's a free movement of labor within the EU. Wouldn't the accession of Turkey multiply the extent of such problems with integration?
LAURE DELCOUR: Can you repeat just that sentence?
AUDIENCE: Wouldn't the accession of Turkey multiply the extent of such problems of integrating the Turkish?
LAURE DELCOUR: As always, the big issue stems from a lack of common policy. And that is the case for migration. There's no migration policy in the European Union. At the European level there are only national policies. So Turkey's accession is also an incentive for bringing together-- at least approximating, or bringing to an equal level, migration policies.
And basically, that was also the case for other topics. When the EU faces external threats, because the Russian or not, that is an incentive for upgrading policies and for making them at European level. And recently, you could see that for the energy policy, based upon the Russian threats to cut gas on Ukraine and so on.
So Turkey, again, is reflecting the shortcomings of the European Union and the lack of common policy.
CHRIS ANDERSON: Final question. You haven't fought it out, have you? Well, I'll flip a coin, and it'll be the gentleman who had the hand up a little bit longer.
AUDIENCE: Question one is, what happened to European council? Question two is, I don't know how European Union works. Why can't they admit members on a parts and parcel piece, rather than wholesale? Like agriculture, industry, pollution control, fishery, farming, immigration or passports?
LAURE DELCOUR: Sorry. Why cannot they admit members on specific issues?
CHRIS ANDERSON: Yes.
AUDIENCE: Why can't they divide the membership into five or six parts and admit in parts and pieces?
LAURE DELCOUR: That's how accession negotiations are built. They are basically divided into 30, 33 chapters, each corresponding to a specific sector. And until all conditions in all chapters are met, there is no accession. But if I understand you correctly, you would like a kind of in-between accession-- accession for agriculture, or accession for energy.
That is not possible because, in that case, there would be no coherence and no solidarity among members. For example, for energy, you could have Slovakia and France, and agriculture you could have Poland and the UK. So there would be no longer any European Union, I think.
And what happened to the European Council. What do you mean exactly?
AUDIENCE: Our European Council.
LAURE DELCOUR: You mean the Council of Europe, or--
AUDIENCE: The Council of Europe is still alive. And it has 46 member states, among which-- well, of course, members of the European Union, but also Russia, all former Soviet republics. And it is not considered to be an effective, powerful institution. But at the same time, it is responsible for setting the rules in human rights related areas. And to that extent, it serves as a basis for easy decisions when it comes to the political criteria of accession.
CHRIS ANDERSON: I would like to take the moderator's prerogative to thank Laure for making the long journey from Paris to Ithaca and telling us about the European Union and Turkey. So thanks very much, everyone, for coming.
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On November 12, 2007, Cornell's Mario Einaudi Center for International Studies hosted a debate scheduled to feature Laure Delcour, senior research fellow at the Institut des Relations Internationales et Stratégiques in Paris, and Soner Cagaptay, director of the Turkish Research Program at the Washington Institute for Near Eastern Policy, to discuss the European Eunion enlargement and the Turkish accession. The debate was first in the Einaudi Center's Critical Debates in Foreign Policy Series. Professor Cagaptay, however, was unable to attend, so the audience at the Einaudi Center became participants, offering their questions and observations for a uniquely improvised debate with Professor Delcour.
Building on the success of its Foreign Policy Distinguished Speaker Series, the Critical Debates in Foreign Policy Series is meant to bring together experts in the field of international studies for scholarly debate around current global issues.