The intentional obstacles placed in Turkey’s accession path and the coming developments in the EU don’t look promising. Proceedings for the accession negotiations are not advancing as well as in the honey-moon days. Soon after the stones settle in Turkey’s Parliament, the new Justice and Development Party (AK Party) government will probably turn its face toward Russia and the Turkic (Turkic-language speaking) countries, rather than the EU.
It seems quite obvious that Turkey and the Turkish people will give up their EU accession hopes and plans soon. After the parliamentary elec-tions in Turkey Jose Manuel Barosso, president of the European Commission, clearly spelled out the impossibility of Turkey’s accession and the inability of the EU to digest Turkey as a full member.
Barosso made much of the difference between “accession talks” and “accession,” clarifying that beginning accession talks may not mean or guarantee accession at the closure. His prediction was that the EU will never accept Turkey as a member — the country is not ready for acces-sion now and is likely to be ready anytime in the near future.
With no other choice Turkey is now turning an eye toward Central Asia and the southern Caucasus. Increasing the number of visas for the Turkic countries soon is on the agenda, particularly for Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and Kyrgyzstan. Already Tur-key has started to develop good relations with Russia that many plan to be long-lasting.
The citizens of these countries will be able to visit Turkey without a visa for a certain period after this unilateral gesture of the new Turkish government gets into effect. Furthermore, in the second stage this people will probably be granted work and residence permits.
In June the Turkish minister of foreign affairs discussed the visa issue with ambassadors of the countries mentioned. After the Cabinet of the 59th government made a decision about enactment, the legislation is now on its way to the President for legalization. This is likely to be among the first group of documents signed by the new Turkish presi-dent.
In a speech during the opening ceremony of the eighth summit of the heads of Turkic-language speaking states in November 2006, the Tur-kish president at the time, Ahmet Necdet Sezer, emphasized the impor-tance of forming a “Turkic-speaking-countries community.”
Vladimir Putin’s dreams of establishing a Russian-Turkish Eurasian Union that would incorporate Central Asia and the Caucasus seem to be in line with those of the new Turkish government.
In the third week of April, President Putin addressed the Russian par-liament and made a call for Turkey to establish a Russian-Turkish Eurasian Union. It was a friendly gesture, asking Turkey to leave the EU and work hand-in-hand with Russia to establish the new union. This was of course the result of Russia’s strategists’ convincing Putin to look toward Turkey after sensing increased negative sentiments toward the country in the EU.
The US will not react well to this unification and seeing Turkey on the side of a rival, especially because Turkey is one of their most important allies in this region.
Given all the current obstacles to Turkey and the EU’s seeming unwil-lingness for partnership with an Islamic country, it looks as though a Eurasian union would be the better place for Turkey.
The giants and tigers of Asia are already on their way toward unifica-tion, or at least cooperation, in the form of the Shanghai Five. In a Eu-rasian alliance, Turkey’s prestigious and decisive seat, especially when compared to a potential “privileged partnership,” would be the best option for Turkey in the long run.
It seems now that the fog is lifting and Turkey’s new direction is be-coming crystal clear — the East and a Eurasian union.