Posted on 14 February 2011
Future of Europe passes through Turkey
Michel Rocard, former French prime minister (1988-1991) and now a member of the European Parliament, strongly defends the case for Turkey‘s membership in his new book “Oui a la Turquie” (Yes to Turkey), published at the beginning of September.
To him, Turkey is indispensable for Europe’s future; that is why he thinks Turkey’s membership is Europe’s life insurance and that the future of Europe passes through Turkey. “When I say Turkey’s membership is the EU’s life insurance, I mean it in terms of peace in the region and safe and permanent access to a very important part of the world,” said Rocard. “The phrase is legally excessive, and in politics anything can happen. But I use the phrase as it will be much easier for the EU to have security in its southeast, much easier to reach energy regions and to be involved in diplomatic problems through Turkey’s membership.”
Rocard underlined that having Turkey as a member will boost EU influence in the Middle East given Turkey’s good ties with both Israel and the Palestinians. “Turkey is also next to the Caucasus, which has large reserves of oil and natural gas. Providing oil and gas is one of the priorities in terms of the EU’s strategic security. Turkey as a member will mean the enlargement of this peaceful and commonly managed zone, which would help draw the maps of pipelines and getting closer to Caucasian resources,” he said. Integrating Turkey, a country with a Muslim population, into the EU will also be the best way to show that Europe rejects “cultivating a suspicion toward the entire Muslim world,” according to the former French premier.
He expressed confidence in President Abdullah Gül and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and said the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) was “competent, serious and hard-working.” He also rejected suggestions that it has a hidden agenda to turn Turkey into an Islamic state. “Had they had one, they would not have started accession talks with the EU in the first place,” he said.
Todays Zaman 30 September 2008