The recent joint communication by the EU Commission & High Representative on CFSP on the state of play between EU and Turkey raises important questions about the internal balance between the member states in the EU and the long-term geostrategic consequences of a non-turkic Europe. Indeed, the premises in the communication doesn’t correspond to the conclusions. EU is upping the ante, as though the EU’s institutional memory have been erased. What are the options available to EU ? What needs to be done in the coming months by Turkey regarding EU’s economic statecraft? What would an honest partnership look like? How can a positive agenda be construed ? When can an honest and fair partnership be said to be reinstated ?

First, Turkey should commit to extending the EU-Turkey Customs Union to Cyprus, recognising that the Cyprus conflict is a micro-cosm of European conflicts, i.e. the solution bargained towards must be federal in nature. This could serve not only to stabilize the Eastern Mediterranean in conformity with the UN mandate, notably UNSCR550, 789 & 1251, but also to unfreeze Turkey’s accession negotiations. Resentments won’t bring Turkey closer to EU. Ankara needs to carefully weigh the potential wealth of a two-state solution on Cyprus with the damage to transatlantic solidarity and security.

Second, joint EU-Turkey Action plans must be adopted in the fields of democracy, human rights and rule -of-law and the judiciary.

Third, Turkey should associate itself with EU mediation on joint exploration of carbon ressources in the Eastern Mediterranean. Perhaps an integrated plan on LNG could be forged.

Fourth, Turkey needs to bring its economic house in order e.g. by bringing back Kemal Dervis on the economic team. Enter also an exchange rate arrangement with the €uro-area to curb inflation in Turkey.

Fifth, Turkey can now afford to align itself with EU Foreign policy positions, having successfully fought wars in Libya, Nagorno-Karabagh and Syria. Turkey, however, must stop playing the European Member States out against each other. An intergovernmental concert of states no longer exists in Europe. EU will evolve further – a state-like polity is emerging. This increases the confidence of the Europeans. An accommodation in the future can no longer be taken for granted in the post-Merkel era.

Sixth, the US in turn should lift its embargo on the Patriot missile and the sale of components for the Turkish foray into missile defense. If the Turkey then opts to promote action in a Western coalition in a spirit of strategic autonomy, operational interdependence by resolving the S-400 issue through dia-logue or in a commission, the F-35 avionics should be cleared for sale to Ankara. NATO could then consider establishing a fourth maritime group, which could cooperate with Ukraine, and operate in the Black Sea. On this basis, it could be considered to revise the US-Turkey a la carte partnership.

Germany on its side must accept it is no longer Europe’s cooperative hegemon. We do not want a German Europe but a European Germany, which acts on its principles, without denying the role of military force in international politics, even as it adheres to the legal obligations flowing from the Ankara agreement and Accession partnership with Turkey and international law. And so, I am generally favorably disposed to Turkish Membership of EU, provided it doesn’t happen at the expen-se of Europe’s federal vocation and the Union’s values. And yes, I’m Old School. EU must assume responsibility for its failure to integration in military terms. I also presume EU also has to consolidate its power through a single €urobond, enhancing it’s democratic legitimacy, confer an EU-tax upon Brussels, develop a common defence, and federalize out of a Council of Europe-Ministers. Well, Turkey should be part of this European adventure, as the Europeans lead the Europe outlined by the Lisboa-treaty up to its maximum yield. EU, an aspiring great power in Euroasia, also needs Turkey in order to compete with Russia, China, India, Brazil and the United States. And EU appears to invite Turkish economic and financial muscle in the Balkans. This is change management continental-wise.

The EU Commission’s positive agenda could similarly be welcomed, to the extent the ideas aired create value to the up-coming negotiations. It is obvious the agenda should not transform an original humble purpose into a haughty endeavour. Or as Talleyrand, the French foreign minister, stated: “Suivre sa pente au lieu de trouver son chemin.”.

Christian ILCUS

MsC in political science & MA in European Studies