The other side of the coin: the growing opposition in turkey against to the european union accession

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VI.2.2. Cyprus
The island of Cyprus where there are “two democracies two states two languages and two religions”.132 Turkey and Greece have been always seen as the motherlands of the Cyprus because of having two main ethnic groups on the island. “One example of the separation between the two national communities was the existence of separate schools for Turks and Greeks. Separate curricula to cover Turkey and Greece were followed in Turkish Cypriot and Greek Cypriot schools. There was little or no intermarriage between the two ethnic groups and they flew the flags of their motherlands at their institutions. There was no national anthem for the Republic of Cyprus, which was established in 1960, so the two communities played the national anthems of Greece and Turkey. It would therefore be correct to say that ethnic politics continued during the Republic of Cyprus era. All these divisions were the function of the lack of a single Cypriot culture.”133 Therefore, every single problem in the island of Cyprus is always correlated with Greece and Turkey.
As well-known, in terms of Cyprus, the main problem is the different approaches of Turkey and the European Union on recognition of Cyprus island as a whole country or not. In other words, the EU recognizes the island officially as the Republic of Cyprus while Turkey recognizes the island as Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus and the Southern Greek Cypriot Administration. From the EU’s point of view, Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus is an occupied territory of the Republic of Cyprus. These different approaches create numerous problems on the relations between Turkey and the EU, particularly Greece. Furthermore, Cyprus became an EU member country in 2004 while the problems on the island continue to be existed. Still, the integrity of the territory and population could not be provided, even though providing integrity on the island was one of the aims of the EU when the negotiations started with Cyprus. After nine years, today, the question of Cyprus is the biggest obstacle in front of Turkey to the EU accession negotiations which was previously presented on Table-1 under the topic of New Era in the Relations between the EU and Turkey.
In general, the critiques about Cyprus issue combine on the involvement of the EU in the island. The main perception can be defined as the accession process of Turkey is used by the EU to make Turkey recognize the Republic of Cyprus as one official country in whole of the island. In fact, there was such a request from Turkey that will be presented later. In this context, it is important to understand how the island of Cyprus took interest of the EU and how the problems were formed after the involvement of the EU in the island.
“The European Union’s involvement in the Cyprus problem dates back to the 1960s as the two guarantor powers – Greece in 1962 and Turkey in 1963 – became associate members of the EEC, and the third guarantor power – the UK – applied for full membership. The British application brought Cyprus into the orbit of the EEC as there was a strong element of economic dependence between Cyprus and the UK. ... For Cyprus, British membership of the EC would mean the loss of all British concessions. Consequently, when Britain applied for full membership of the EEC in 1961, Cyprus also sought to establish economic ties with the EEC.”134 In short, as a resul of economic dependence between Cyprus and the UK brought the interest of the EEC member countries. However the dialogues between Cyprus and the EEC were based on the Greek Cypriots. In 1973, an Association Agreement was signed between Cyprus and the EC. “The situation in Cyprus was highly unstable then but, nonetheless, the EC went along with the establishment of an Association with Cyprus on the assumption that this was an economic agreement and does not carry political ramifications. A major miscalculation by the EEC was in its inability to assess the economic impact of the separation of the two communities on the island and the problems of extending EC privileges to both these communities. The EC’s misconceived policy became largely apparent in 1973 with the institutionalization of the Association between the EC and Cyprus. … since the EC only recognized the government of Cyprus – which was Greek – the economic relations between the EEC and Cyprus contributed to the improvisation of the Turkish Cypriots on the one hand, and on the other hand the legitimation of the Greek Cypriots’ claims of sovereign rights on the whole of the island. Thus, the Association Agreement with Cyprus, which could have been used by the EEC to bring the sides together around common economic interests, unexpectedly exacerbated the situation both economically and politically.”135 (Müftüler-Baç and Güney, 2005: 284) However, EEC could not use the chance to bring the sides together in the island.
After signing the Association Agreement, in 1974 a big crisis took place in the Turkish Cypriots and Greek Cypriots relations, which were already tensed. The crisis has grown so much that the military forces of Greece and Turkey came on the Cyprus Island. “The peak in the Cyprus crisis came in 1974 with the Greek colonels’ coup that overthrew Archbishop Makario. On 22 July 1974, the European Political Cooperation (EPC) issued a statement supporting the independence and territorial integrity of Cyprus and their opposition to any intervention in Cyprus. The EPC statement was an attempt by the EC to use diplomatic leverages to prevent further Turkish intervention, as the Turkish troops had already landed on the island on 16 July 1974. Interestingly, the 1974 EPC declaration was the first EPC initiative where the EC members collectively gathered around some kind of a common policy. However, the EC was unsuccessful in its attempt to prevent a Turkish response, as Turkey used its unilateral intervention right under the Treaty of Guarantee and invaded the island, based on the argument that the Greek coup violated the 1960 Constitution for which Turkey was one of the guarantor powers. One of the ironies of the Cyprus conflict was that it became the first test case of the newly established EPC and involved the security interests of one of its new members, the UK.
One can assert that the EC had a diplomatic failure in the Cyprus crisis; first, the Cyprus problem had not started in 1974 with the above mentioned coup. It had started in 1963 when the federal constitution was overthrown by the Greek Cypriots to be followed with an 11-year long inter-ethnic strife. Second, the UK was not an EC member until 1973 so it was absent from the EC institutions that could have made a difference to the Cyprus problem, and even after its accession to the EC in 1973, the UK did not become involved in the conflict despite the fact that it was the Constitution that they had guaranteed in 1960 that was violated by the Greek Cypriotic coup in 1974. This, also, fits well with the thesis that the division of the island was a desired option for the UK during the Cold War and that is partly why they did not become involved. Third, the EC governments could not adopt a course of action or agree on sanctions to pressure the British government to act. Since the EC’s interest in Cyprus was primarily related to trade concerns, the EC did not care much about the collapse of the 1960 Constitution and the government in 1974. Furthermore, the EC did not take effective action – not necessarily military – and endorsed the view that the presence of the UN forces on the island would prevent further instability.”136
Furthermore, related with 20 July 1974 intervention of Turkey on Cyprus, “Turkey’s action was perfectly legitimate and understandable. It was in fact a duty, stationed by the 1960 Constitution of the Republic of Cyprus; in Part IV of the Treaty of Guarantee, which forms part of the constitution. Cyprus was saved from being annexed by Greece and the Turkish Cypriots freed from Greek oppression.
During the 1960s and 1970s, the Western world only watched as the Turkish Cypriots were being massacred by their Greek Cypriot neighbors, with the aid of Greece, in a systematic campaign of ethnic cleansing, and did nothing.” 137 In this context, the crisis in Cyprus could not be understood as it was only between the Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots on the island where the influence of the other countries was clear. Furthermore, the affects of Cold War should not be forgotten in the case of the European involvements in the island. As it is clearly stated, EEC had a chance to bring peace in the island.
The approaches of the EEC to Turkey are differentiated after the collapse of the Soviet Union. The European policies towards Turkey became more exclusionary that affected also the island of Cyprus. If EEC would like to take Turkey inside of the union, establishment of two independent countries in Cyprus would not be a problem.138 In accordance with the arguments of Prof. Manisalı, EU established a new policy towards the Cyprus in 1992 when Cyprus applied for the full membership of the EU. Accordingly, EU started the negotiations with Cyprus regardless of international agreements.139 In other words, Cyprus is an example where the validity of international agreements is not considered when there are benefits.140
During the EU accession process of Cyprus, there had been observed suspicious approaches about the situation in Cyprus on the declarations of European politicians. As Nugent (2000: 134) stated “... many important EU policy actors, not least in some national governments, believe that the Cyprus problem does constitute a potentially insuperable barrier to membership. The French in particular have taken this view, with the Foreign Minister, Hubert Védrine, stating at the time of the opening of accession negotiations in March 1998 that, whilst it was correct to start negotiations, it would be a ‘mistake’ to grant EU membership to a divided country”.
On the other hand, the United Nations (UN) kept continue to advice the solve problems inside of the island or to integrate this divided country by establishing the dialogues between Greek and Turkish Cypriot. When the Southern Greek Cypriot Administration started the negotiations with the EU for full membership in 1992, the UN former Secretary-General Javier Perez de Cuellar showed his reaction and found the attitude of the EU as wrong by explaining that solving the problem was already hard, now it became more difficult and complicated.141 Many efforts of the UN were failed because of the rejections from either sides or one side.142 After more then ten years, on 24 April 2004, Kofi Annan was the Secretary-General of the UN and he prepared a peace plan for Cyprus. As it was stated before, a referendum took place in Cyprus to vote so-called the Annan Plan. The result was not how it was expecting. Turkish Cypriots accepted the plan with 69,4% votes, while the Greek Cypriots rejected it with 75,83%. Therefore, the Annan Plan could not be approved which means the peace could not be provided. Under these circumstances the problems in the island could not be solved. Even though the problems continued to be exist, Cyprus became an EU member country on 1 May 2004.
On 3 December 2004, European Parliament published its report on the 2004 regular report and the recommendation of the European Commission on Turkey's progress towards accession. The Article 38 was related with the results of referendum in Cyprus.143 However, the demand of the EU from Turkey about recognition of Republic of Cyprus as an official country was cleverly included. In fact, in Turkey people mostly approach and understand this as more like a fait accompli rather than a demand.
European Parliament, Report on the 2004 Regular Report and the Recommendation of the European Commission on Turkey's Progress towards Accession. 3 December 2004. (A6-0063/2004) p.12, Article 38:
“Whilst respecting the democratic will of the Greek Cypriot community, regrets that it has not been able to reach a solution, and calls on the Turkish authorities to maintain their constructive attitude in finding a settlement of the Cyprus question leading to an equitable solution, to be negotiated on the basis of the Annan plan and the principles upon which the EU is founded, and to effect an early withdrawal, pursuant to the relevant UN resolutions, of its forces in accordance with a specific timetable; believes that such a withdrawal of Turkish forces is a necessary step forward on the way to further easing tension, resuming dialogue between the parties and preparing for a lasting solution; calls on the Turkish authorities to recognise the republic of Cyprus; calls the attention of the Turkish authorities to the fact that the negotiations concerned are intergovernmental negotiations between Turkey on the one hand and the 25 members of the European Union on the other. The Republic of Cyprus is one of those Member States. The opening of negotiations obviously implies the recognition of Cyprus by Turkey;”
Meanwhile, at the middle of December 2004, the negotiations between Turkey and the EU had been started for the prospective membership of Turkey. Initiation of the accession process meant to recognition of Republic of Cyprus which was clearly stated on the report of European Parliament. Notwithstanding, AKP government signed the agreements with the EU to start the accession process which caused many critiques as well as the supports of Turkish people.144 However, for some people it is disputable whether the AKP government knew the results of signing these agreements because of the declaration from the Turkish government that starting the negotiation for the EU accession does not mean to recognition of Republic of Cyprus as one official country in the whole of the island of Cyprus. This declaration took also place on the Progress Report of Turkey 2005.145
European Commission, Turkey 2005 Progress Report.146 1.3 Regional issues, Cyprus:
“The Turkish government has stated on several occasions that it remains committed to a comprehensive settlement in line with the plan presented by the UN Secretary General.
On 29 July 2005, Turkey signed the Additional Protocol adapting the EC Turkey Association Agreement to the accession of 10 new countries on 1 May 2004. At the same time, Turkey issued a declaration stating that signature of the Additional Protocol did not amount to recognition of the Republic of Cyprus. On 21 September, the EU adopted a counter-declaration indicating that Turkey’s declaration was unilateral, did not form part of the Protocol and had no legal effect on Turkey’s obligations under the Protocol. The EU declaration stressed that recognition of all Member States was a necessary component of the accession process. It also underlined the need for supporting the efforts of the Secretary General of the UN to bring about a comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus problem which would contribute to peace, stability and harmonious relations in the region. …”
Another issue is the natural resources around the island of Cyprus. The Southern Greek Cypriot Administration is making researches around the island more than ten years without dealing with the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.147 At the beginning, there were several debates the existence of petroleum. However, the agreements have been signing between the Southern Greek Cypriot Administration and North African countries that these agreements are disregarded by the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.148 There are some forecasts about the existence of rich oil resources around the island; particularly on the line of Cyprus and İskenderun,149 where is district in the province of Hatay in Turkey.
Furthermore, searches petroleum of the Southern Greek Cypriot Administration causes problems with Turkey in the case of marine course. Prof. Atun150 determined this problem very clearly on his article, named “Is It a Petrol Crisis or a Trick for Sovereignty”151
“Turkey is not a party to the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, UNCLOS, due to the continental shelf demands of Greece for her Dodecanese islands in Aegean sea. Turkey duly did not accept the 12 nautical miles width of the territorial waters of the Dodecanese islands as declared by Greece on the bases of UNCLOS and noted this act as “Casus Belli”, a “Cause of war”.
All the European countries recognized UNCLOS and are part of this Convention. According to UNCLOS, declaration of an Exclusive Economic Zone by an independent state strictly requires mutual agreement’s of the neighbor states around. Since Turkey is not a part of this convention, she already pos-sesses her previously declared southern Continental Shelf stretching 200 nautical miles southwards starting from the baseline joining Gazi-pasha, the eastern tip of Antalya bay, with Kash, the western tip of Antalya Bay, according to the 1958 Geneva Convention.
GCA had signed an Economic Cooperation agreement with Greece years before. Now she signed an agreement with Egypt delimiting their respective economic zones and providing for detailed offshore cooperation, while she also has agreed with Lebanon on a similar delimitation and cooperation.
The Economic Cooperation agreement with Greece covers and delimits the seas between Rhodes Island and Western tip of Cyprus, extending 200 nautical miles southwards, shuts away to Turkey the western waters of Eastern Mediterranean sea. The Exclusive Economic Zone agreement with Egypt covers all the waters with in Cyprus and Egypt and gives underwater sovereignty to Greece, Cyprus and Egypt. The Exclusive Economic Zone agreement with Lebanon covers all the waters in between Cyprus and Lebanon as well.
The target of these agreements is, to occupy Turkey’s southern Continental Shelf zone, to build a solid wall around Turkey’s southern shores and to isolate her from the seas of the Eastern Mediterranean Sea, with all the underwater and sea bed wealth underneath.”152
In this context, petroleum searches of the Southern Greek Cypriot Administration around whole of the island are against international agreements in case of territorial waters of Turkey. However, this should not be thought only in terms of territorial waters, because it also affects the airspaces of Turkey.153 These can be described as one of the other important reason why Turkey does not want to recognize Republic of Cyprus. After becoming an EU member state, the problems in the island of Cyprus naturally started to affect the relations between the EU and Turkey. Related with this issue, as it was mentioned under the chapter of historical background of relations between Turkey and the EU, eight chapters of Turkey were suspended in accordance with the decision taken by the EU General Affairs and External Relations Council in 2006. Moreover, if Turkey will not confirm the Additional Protocol (2006), none of the chapters shall be closed temporarily. In this manner, it can be said that the accession process of Turkey to the EU was stopped.
All these circumstances cause the appearance of the other strong and negative arguments towards the EU, such as repulsion of Turkey out of the island of Cyprus and compression in a narrow area.154 The main criticism after all is that Cyprus was taken in to the EU as a member state even though none of problems in the island were solved. Moreover, it does not seem like problems to be solved even in the future because both sides in Cyprus cannot reach an agreement 155 that as Prof. Atun stated “the confederation of Cyprus seem to be the best and the ideal solution for the island”. 156 However, the Southern Greek Cypriot Administration does not seem to be willing to accept this as a solution for the island of Cyprus that they want to have whole of the island under the Republic of Cyprus.

VI.3. Customs Union between the European Union and Turkey
As a result of long term preparations and dialogues, Customs Union is a phase of the integration process which was initiated Ankara Agreement in 1963. In this regard, the Customs Union (CU) is not a separated agreement. In accordance with the Decision of the Association Council, CU was adopted 6 March 1995 at the meeting of the Turkey - EU Association Council and trade integration between Turkey and the EU has been continuing since 1 January 1996. 157 Today`s Minister of Customs and Trade of Turkey, Hayati Yazıcı, defines the CU as “The CU was something more than just a typical customs union since it has imposed the obligation to align national legislation (concerning trade, competition, intellectual and industrial property rights, patent and customs) with that of the EU. With the enforcement of the CU in 1996, the Customs Administration has considerably improved its structure, quality of service, implementation of legislation and dissemination of customer-focused service approach.”158
Even though Turkey has benefited from this trade integration, the criticisms in terms of CU are increasing in parallel with the disinclination of accession to the EU in Turkey. Unlike the beginnings of the dialogues, the critiques towards the CU occurred over the time. The reason was; several leaders of Turkish Trade Unions were more interested in their own benefits then the country’s benefits in general during 1994-1995. From the end of the 1980s and the middle of 1990s, the Turkish Trade Unions could not reveal any attitudes or show any reactions. Therefore, many people in Turkey did not actually know what the CU will bring to Turkey or take. The results started to be seen clearly from the beginning of 2000s.
At the end of 2001, Confederation of Turkish Trade Unions (in short TÜRK-İŞ) presented a report named AB Türkiye’den Ne İstiyor (What EU wants from Turkey) to former Turkish President Ahmet Necdet Sezer that comprised the relations between the national interests of Turkish workers and the foreign policies of Turkey.159 At that time, the report of TÜRK-İŞ considered as a major step for the democratization of Turkey; because it was the first time that TÜRK-İŞ would like to present its ideas in the matter of foreign relations. Prof. Manisalı explains this action as TÜRK-İŞ had concerns about the national interest of Turkey in terms of the CU.160 It should not be understood as TÜRK-İŞ does not support the accession of Turkey to the EU. In contrast the Confederation would like to see Turkey as a member state of the EU and it declares its full support to Turkey’s EU accession process.161 In fact, the support of TÜRK-İŞ is based on the social policies, trade union rights and freedoms which directly affecting the working-life. As one of the biggest civil society organizations in Turkey, TÜRK-İŞ presents its expectations and demands from the EU. In short, TÜRK-İŞ expects to be taken into account for establishing social and democratic Turkey and be treated same as the member states of the EU “in terms of benefiting fully from trade union rights and freedoms and realization of industrial democracy at the work places.”162 The Confederation also underlines that “the most fundamental reform to be demanded from our country must be trade union rights and freedoms.”163
On the other hand, it is necessary to state here the questionnaire which was based on five simple yes or no questions; replied by 3000 of TÜRK-İŞ members and titled as “TÜRK-İŞ Community Supports the EU Membership, but…” The answer of the first question presents the reason why the Confederation supports the EU. “TÜRK-İŞ community supports the social values of EU and believes that the idea of “Social Europe” is the only alternative against the wild–capitalism.” This sentence should be considered very serious because it shows that for them there are only two options, namely Social Europe and wild-capitalism. TÜRK-İŞ has a positive approach to Socialism. It criticizes the privatizations and complains about the “neo-liberal policies of the IMF and the World Bank”.164Another important result of the questionnaire is the belief that Turkey should not fulfil all the current requests of the EU because of finding unnecessary to fulfil the country based requests of the EU member countries. The questionnaire presents that the members of Confederation are sceptical about EU, have concerns about the future decisions and do not trust to EU. There is no doubt that the determination of Prof. Manisalı was right. Just like in 2001, the concerns of TÜRK-İŞ about the EU and the CU remain the same that can be seen in this simple questionnaire.
In addition to the statements of Turkish officials, these were given in early chapters, the Minister of Customs and Trade of Turkey underlines the impacts of the CU to the Turkish economy by taking into consideration the studies about the differences between the exports and imports levels of Turkey. “... the studies that examine exports and imports separately have come to the conclusion that although the CU increases imports, it does not lead to a substantial increase of exports. ... the contribution of CU’s static impacts to economic growth is either insignificant or even negative. When we also add the losses in tariff revenues CU appears to have had a detrimental effect on the Turkish economy. In conclusion, the literature on the CU’s static impacts165 suggests that there is indeed a trade creation-effect, but not in Turkey’s favour.”166

TÜRK-İŞ Questionnaire











1. What is your consideration about the EU membership, how will it affect the work life in Turkey - in a positive or negative way?


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