Turkey: Britain's strategic choice
With all due respect to the British Foreign Secretary, Margaret Beckett has apparently forgotten to mention one other very important British policy aspect concerning the European Union, Turkey and the United Kingdom itself, in her contribution of December 12.
It is common knowledge that when it comes to EU enlargement, the UK always pushes for new members because a larger membership satisfies the UK's policy of widening rather than deepening of the EU. There is no doubt that Turkey presents an excellent strategic partner that would make further deepening of the EU a lot more problematic for several reasons. That coincides with the UK's own strategic objectives! The policy of enlargement and widening fits very comfortably with the former British colonial policy of divide and rule.
Ms Beckett's contribution is also seriously flawed in other respects. She says that Turkey "could play an immensely positive role in tackling the challenges" she mentions, including "seemingly intractable problems in the Middle East". Why did Ms Beckett not address the intractable conflict that Turkey has created and sustained over the past 32 years?
How is it that the British Foreign Secretary forgot to mention that Turkey is occupying a part of the EU itself, the northern part of Cyprus? With the UK's unconditional support for Turkey, it is no wonder that the last UN (Annan) Plan for the unification of Cyprus was so biased in favour of Turkey and the Turkish-Cypriots, given that the UK is a permanent member of the UN Security Council.
Ms Beckett has stated that the response concerning Turkey's refusal to open its ports and airports to Cypriot shipping and aircraft "should be proportionate..." Can the Foreign Secretary explain what would be a proportionate response to Turkey's occupation of an EU member state?
Ms Beckett was correct to say that Turkey has larger armed forces than any other European country. Is that an asset or a liability? How many peacekeepers does Turkey have, and how many war-keepers? Why did the Foreign Secretary stop short and not remind us that Turkey has about 40,000 troops in the north of Cyprus, more troops than Nato has in Afghanistan!
Turkey has violated the UN resolutions and the OSCE principles for the past 32 years, and the UN and the OSCE remained helpless. The EU can put pressure on Turkey to withdraw its troops from a member state, and it should not hide behind the UN's toothless and flawed efforts. If and when Turkey withdraws its troops from Cyprus and fulfills all its EU obligations, it may very well join the EU.