The Ankara candidacy
A translation by Fred Scrooby
THERE’S NO LACK OF RATIONAL ARGUMENTS FOR DRAWING CONCLUSIONS ABOUT ANKARA’S CANDIDACY
Today I close the dossier on the Turkish question, my small book, a little heavier than anticipated.
As I write this, intending to get it finished, seemingly unbeknown to the Europeans important changes are shaking up debate in Turkey itself. Involved are probably real developments, in part. The current majority party, AKP, and the alliance of forces which it represents, are making their moves for essentially national reasons. But the program for reform was developed at the end of June with the candidacy for membership in the European Union explicitly in mind, with a view to making it presentable. This was repeated by Prime Minister Erdogan and Abdullah Gül, President of Turkey.
Thus did we see a diplomatic offensive aimed at the Armenians, promising them the future reopening of a border whose shutting has completely closed off their country. There’s been vague talk of normalizing the status of religious minorities (the latter are so small in number, one wonders how they could possibly be a threat to touchy Turkish Jacobinism) — thus are their representatives taken hostage to use as agents of Turkish diplomacy, in the tradition of totalitarian countries.
The most important advance is said to have been proposed to the Kurds. After the head of government had received certain Kurdish leaders, from August 25 to September 22 there is said to have been considerable antagonism between the political leaders and the Chief of Staff of the Turkish Army, General Basbug. In August Gen. Basbug had stated that the Army could not accept, and would therefore oppose, any plan that was in violation of Article 3 of the Constitution which declared that Turkey was a single and indivisible state and its language was Turkish. The Kemalist and nationalist opposition joined in chorus to decry government betrayal. There could be no clearer threat of a coup d’état as has been a recurrent event in this country’s political life since the 1946 adoption of democratic pluralism.
In less than a month, and despite Ramadan, the head of government and of the AKP Party went on television to deny all rumors of genuinely radical reform, and finally on September 22 at Mardin, Gen Basbug declared he had obtained what he wanted and there was no longer cause for concern. The officers should no longer even watch the false, depressing news being broadcast by their beautiful country’s television networks. There would be no real linguistic or institutional concessions made to the Kurds. The Army hadn’t even needed to take the steps it took in the winter of 1996-7 when it forced the government to resign. The Army considered it had won, and contented itself at summer’s end with giving stern looks.
This whole affair had been part of an effort to put on a good face for the encounters in Brussels with very representative individuals like Emma Bonino, Michel Rocard and other spiritual guides who relay the propaganda of our dear friends. The promised reforms will remain cosmetic or they won’t even materialize. But that will be enough to make some European negotiators proclaim new “hopes,” hypothetical “expected agreements,” supposed “progress made in negotiations,” as false as in the past.
And frankly, when over a period of years one obliges oneself to follow the progress of Ankara’s candidacy for E.U. membership, one experiences real difficulty understanding the logic of those who persist. These fishermen can call that fish all the tender names they want, they won’t succeed in getting the poor thing to swim close by them, and they’ve been trying for 20 years. With all their lying, however, they’ll finally appear convincing, and victory will seem a good bet.
Turgut Özal submitted his dossier in 1987, almost a quarter-century after the first trade agreement in 1963. At that time, as designated prime minister of a dictatorship, he reassured business interests and set in motion the transition to a civilian régime that would be in conformity with the conditions stipulated by the military coup d’état of September, 1980. General Evren ran the country in his capacity as president appointed by the Army General Staff. The aim was to normalize the appearance of political life but also the country’s international image. At that time almost no one in Europe could really believe in this Turkish candidacy to join Europe. In Brussels they were asking themselves, “How do we get out of this without creating ill feeling?”
Özal initiated this request at a time when the Delors Commission was preparing to take the first steps toward E.U. political construction, prolonging the economic community of the first treaties. This evolution would bring about the European Union that was agreed on in Maastricht in 1991. Now, Turkey was then finagling to become the thirteenth member of a community still only 12 members strong. Today the number of countries has reached 27. Other new applications for membership (Croatia, Iceland for example) are viewed as more likely and more prepared than that of the pillar of NATO.
To tell the truth, considering all the problems, the State Department in Washington would seem to be the only bureaucracy that has always believed — or pretended to — in this country joining Europe. And because they’ve never paid a price for doing so, U.S. presidents have regularly repeated, when meeting with their Turkish counterparts, conventional expressions of support, to the great satisfaction of Istanbul’s media.
But overestimating the importance of such diplomatic statements tends to mask the culpability of the idiotic European Union, because at the same time, in the halls of Brussels, the project continues quietly to advance. It proceeds at a snail’s pace, to be sure. It disregards all questions of likelihood, to be sure. It wends its way in the most complete opaqueness, to be sure. In 2007 a candidate for the French presidency got elected in part by promising to oppose Turkey’s request for membership, to be sure. Nevertheless in 2008 a wide-ranging constitutional reform, passed at Versailles, allowed the suppression, without informing the citizens, of the stipulations introduced by the short-lived Article 88-5. That article had been touted as the supreme guarantee against unpopular expansion of the E.U. According to the old 1958 amendment to the Constitution, any treaty of this kind must be submitted for ratification to the French people in the form of a referendum. But alas, nothing guaranteed the guarantee! It was deep-sixed a year after the election victory.
In addition, “topics for negotiation” keep opening one by one, like a chocolate bar nibbled bit by bit before disappearing: 35 topics, then ratification. Has anyone ever seen a thing so extraordinary as a last piece of chocolate, the 36th, remaining stoically, chastely uneaten, abandoned in its foil wrapper, after 35 of its mates have vanished?
What they’re going to try to do, then, is use force to overcome the natural resistance of systems of law, of politicians, and of citizens, for imaginary geo-strategic motives dreamed up in sterilized bureaus totally cut off from every flesh-and-blood European reality. Then they’re going to hand down their orders of the day through all their footsoldiers of the politically correct world.
Every one of us has encountered one of these fine thinkers. Though docile, they believe in their unproven but peremptory astrology as firmly as a steel trap, as if it’s been handed down since Antiquity thanks to the Wise Men of Chaldea or Ancient Persia. They press us to bypass a stage they themselves have doubtless never even reached, that of possessing a national, ethno-racial, or European consciousness; to hear them talk, “we must look higher and further into the future of humanity than that.” The weight of Geography means nothing to them. The Tragedy of History escapes them. All that matters is their desire to seem intelligent, and if that illusion proves impossible they want at least to be in step with the latest fashion.
Now, the idea of considering Turks Europeans would rather merit standing out for its ineptitude, its contradiction, and even, when you get down to it, its ridiculousness.
We can cite the rational arguments one by one. There’s no lack of them. […]
Let’s summarize them, to serve as sort of a spark:
Finally, an argument that must be considered separately is that of Europe’s Christian roots. The faithful of the various Churches are legitimately concerned, and this has been mentioned by John Paul II and Benedict XVI. This can’t just be ignored. One can also state that there are European roots of Christianity: Plato influenced the Church Fathers; Aristotle can be found in St. Thomas Aquinas; etc., manifesting as a mutual impregnation of the two realities. But one also sees this invoked especially a contrario by those who claim they “don’t want to offend Moslems,” who want to “keep Europe from being a Christian club.” But strictly no one has ever proposed such a thing. One wonders finally whether their argument consists in considering the real reason, the best justification for this exotic country’s entering the European Family, to be the fact that it’s never been part if it. One wonders if it’s a question of wanting more than anything this country’s entry, of supporting contrary to all reason this burdensome candidacy, precisely because it is Moslem.
Jean-Gilles Malliarakis was born in Paris in 1944, son of a well-known French artist of Greek and French extraction. At one time a member of the movement “Occident,” which he left in 1967, he founded his own movement, ”l’Action nationaliste”, when he was a student at l’Institut d’Études Politiques in Paris. In 1976 Malliarakis bought a Paris publisher and bookstore, La Librairie française, which became a meeting place in Paris for activists of what today’s controlled media refer to as the political “far-right” (but which is, of course, merely the political center seeking to re-establish sanity, and opposed by an entrenched extreme-left-radical fringe which has usurped hegemony and now masquerades as the “center”). Very interested in economic questions, Malliarakis was at the time a critic of liberalism and planned to found an organization devoted to the analysis of economic theory and economic reality (S.P.A.R.T.E), but this project was not realized. He was director of several organisations: the ”Mouvement nationaliste révolutionnaire” (MNR), then ”Troisième Voie”, a movement opposed to both capitalism and communism. Following 1991’s eruption of the Third Way onto the scene, he collaborated with Christian Poucet, president of ”CDCA Européen” (European Federation for the Protection of Small Businessmen, Tradesmen, and Artisans), until Poucet’s still unsolved 2001 murder. Long considering himself a “neofascist” and admirer of Mussolini, Malliarakis evolved over the years toward classical liberalism. Closing his bookstore, he became the director of a small publishing house, ”les Éditions du Trident,” and concerned himself with political and economic commentary. Every other week he was host of the program ”Libre Journal” on Radio Courtoisie in Paris, until he left this position in 2007 as a result of disagreements with the station’s new directors. He began doing internet audio commentary, called Lumière 101, that same year.
Jean-Gilles Malliarakis is the author of several books.
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