The friends of Turkey bemoan its exclusion from the exclusive European club. The treatment accorded to Turkey during the Luxembourg Summit for EU candidate countries (where out of 12 candidate countries, Turkey was not invited)...
The friends of Turkey bemoan its exclusion from the exclusive European club. The treatment accorded to Turkey during the Luxembourg Summit for EU candidate countries (where out of 12 candidate countries, Turkey was not invited) underlined the general European perception that Turkey is unsuitable for membership of the enlarged EU.
Turkey's acute economic problems, the political instability of its governments, the continuing illegal occupation of Cyprus and its savage abuse of human rights at home, all contribute to the overall impression that Turkey is unfit for European club membership. It carries a taint, a stigma - a country on the borders of Europe, but not really a part of it. A country whose history, culture and religion set it apart from the European tradition and make it so conspicuously an outsider. And there is now a legal dimension that complicates Turkey's relations with the EU even further - the judgement of the Titina Loizidou versus Turkey case at the European Court of Human Rights.
Mrs Loizidou was awarded Cyp£450,000 for loss of use of her property in the occupied north because of Turkey's invasion and continuing occupation of that part of the Republic of Cyprus. The Turks' illegal presence makes, in this context, the call for recognition of an independent 'confederated state' in the north even more untenable.
The Turkish government has said it will not give compensation to Mrs Loizidou nor does it intend to pay the Court's costs. It is treating with open contempt the ruling of the European Court of Human Rights. The legal and political significance of this is remarkable, for all countries that are members of the Council of Europe (this includes Turkey) are required to abide by the legal decisions of the European Court of Human Rights. Failure to comply places the offending country in contempt. This is the situation in which Turkey currently finds itself.
To this must be added the fact that any country aspiring to join the EU must be a member of the Council of Europe. Turkey has placed itself in the 'ejector seat' of the Council because it cannot or will not accept the ruling of the Supreme Court of that body. As for the Council itself, should it fail to enforce the Court's ruling then its credibility and hegemony will be at stake: how can co-ordination of foreign, defence and economic policy be conducted on a supra European level when members of the Council can treat with contempt the rulings of the European Court of Human Rights? Such a precedent would fracture the growing unity of the Council of Europe, the EU and adherence to its laws and principles.
The Council of Europe must ensure that its own rules are enforced rigorously or it will pay a heavy price in the near future.