German realism vs. Turkish naivete
|German realism vs. Turkish naivete 21/06/2005|
German realism vs. Turkish naivete
View: Huseyin Bagci
Yes, Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan is very disappointed with the decision of the German Parliament concerning the so-called Armenian genocide. Yes, the Turkish public is very disappointed also. But does this change anything? The German Parliament was giving the signal three months ago when European Union members from Eastern Europe accepted the "genocide" in their parliaments, as some German opposition Christian Democrat politicians were using the opportunity to carry it also to the German Parliament. Indeed, German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder was successful in diverting the debate to other directions before he came to Ankara just at the beginning of May with a great business army of 600 investors. Germany was the last stronghold in this respect that Turkey should not lose. However, first the early elections decision and now the ever-stronger Christian Democrats applied such pressure that neither Schroeder nor Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer could defend Turkey anymore. In other words, German realpolitik made it imperative that the Parliament accept the decision without even debating it! So naturally!
The Turkish disappointment does not count for very much. Germany is aware that Turks need Germany, and Germany can decide what is right for Germany, but not what is right for Turkey. Understandable. What is not understandable is how Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan could fall into the German trap! Erdogan was really hit very badly by this decision. It will have a huge domestic political impact. Than, after Cyprus, now also the Armenian issue became a political defeat for him. His good brother and friend Schroeder, as the German press called it "man-to-man on the Bosphorus," is damaged. Everyone knew that Prime Minister Erdogan was so sure that Germany would protect him against the other EU countries, and Germany is the advocate for the Turkish cause in EU matters. Such a naivete by Erdogan? Yes, Erdogan was naive. But politics is no place for naivete. For this you should know European history and the European mind. How it is functioning and how it is responding requires another expertise. The accusation of Erdogan's that this decision of Germany is ethically not right, this is true, but who cares about ethics in international politics since September 11?
The public reactions towards the German decision last Friday, like the protest in front of the German Embassy in Ankara or the demonstration in Berlin, as experience shows will not change anything. The reason for that is that Germany is in trouble and French and German politics must go hand in hand. Even French President Chirac turned his back on Turkey, Germany's shift is just a normal one. What is at stake is the future of Europe, not Turkey. The summit in Brussels last week showed how Turkey will be gradually excluded. It is understandable that the EU will not do anything until 2013 and the negotiations will start formally this October.
Why has Germany taken this decision, and what does it means for the future? First of all, this decision is damaging Turkish-German relations. The trust in German politicians will be questionable. After the Christian Democrats come to power, it is expected that relations will be further determined not in political terms but in political and defense terms. Turkish politics is in a "exclusion period" from now on, and the Armenian diaspora will score more victories in other EU and non-EU countries. The German decision will certainly encourage some other countries. Germany is changing history with this decision. At least that they are partly responsible for the events of 1915-16 is nothing new. The German word "Volkermord" is something which is difficult to translate and understand for Turks. Yes, Germany is finishing the legend of "Turkish-German brothers in arms" from World War 1. It was never truly accepted by the Germans, but accepted one-sidedly by the Turks.
Yes, there is an ignorance by the EU countries of Turkish history, and once again the Turks are "guilty" in the eyes of many EU countries.
Many will not accept it but with this decision of Germany, Turkish-EU relations will be never be healthy again. The reason is, one can foresee it, that the so-called "Armenian genocide" will become a political sine quo non when the day comes that Turkey should join the EU. The Cyprus issue is the best example. The EU is acting unjustly towards Turkey on the Cyprus issue and will continue to do so, and the Turks only blame the EU for having double standards. As our saying goes, "Good morning after supper!" (Why did this take you so long?)
Turkish political parties are losing their enthusiasm for the EU. They will get more and more anti-EU tendencies. The opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) is the latest example of this, and definitely others will follow. Who is the loser? Surely the Justice and Development (AK) Party government. Both the prime minister and foreign minister find it very difficult to tell winner here. The second step will be a privileged partnership debate. Turkish-German relations will move into a much tenser period. This is Germany's decision, not Turkey's. They know what is realpolitik, while the Turks on the other side still try to convince the world that ethics is important in politics. Again, only Turks can be so naive.
The New Anatolian
21 June 2005
source : VAN