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09-03-02 Letter To The Washington Times

                                                                                                                                                                                                              September 3, 2002

Letters to the Editor
The Washington Times

Turkey's growing pains

M. James Wilkinson's column on Turkey ("Turkey's tangle with Europe," Op-Ed, Aug. 23) reflects the views of the departments of State and Defense on the problems facing that country. It presents the European Union as the bad guy, "arm twisting" Turkey over its human rights record and Cyprus.

Mr. Wilkinson implies that the standards expected of Turkey are unreasonable and unusual. They are not. They are the same standards applied to all other applicants. The Turkish Parliament recently adopted a reform package addressing some of the European Union's concerns. The question, however, is whether and how will these reforms be implemented. Moreover, the Turkish Parliament has yet to establish civilian control over the military, a fundamental principle in the United States and the European Union.

Turkey is simplistically presented as an invaluable ally of the United States requiring special sensitivity by the United States and the European Union because of its political and economic instability. Ironically, 20 years ago when Turkey was under strong military rule, the same officials argued for similar sensitivity toward Turkey because of its strong-willed nationalist military.

These rationalizations by State and Defense officials have brought U.S. policy vis-a-vis Turkey to its current predicament. Rationalizations of this type have not helped Turkey's road to democracy or to the European Union. They have only compromised fundamental principles of our foreign policy that we insist need to be applied elsewhere in the Middle East.

Mr. Wilkinson essentially asks the European Union to compromise the principles that have made it a model of democracy and economic growth to accommodate the "sick man of Europe." He also conveniently forgets that the United States and the international community recognize only one Republic of Cyprus, even though portions of its territory are under Turkey's military occupation.

A peaceful, viable, functional, constitutional solution in Cyprus cannot deviate from the principles of the European Union's acquis communautaire, from the decisions of the European courts and from all the Security Council resolutions on Cyprus.

Seeking selective paragraphs from foreign constitutions to satisfy Turkey's and its Turkish Cypriot surrogates' drive for secession and a separate sovereignty for occupied Cyprus will not resolve the Cyprus problem, will not restore stability in the region, will not achieve democracy in Turkey.

VAN COUFOUDAKIS
Dean Emeritus, Professor Emeritus
Indiana University-Purdue University (Fort Wayne)
Fort Wayne, Ind.