EU und Türkei

Wer noch daran zweifelt, dass der EU Beitritt ein Motor der Modernisierung für die Türkei sein könnte, der lese den NYRB-Artikel von Stephen Kinzer, der in der Osttürkei unterwegs war („Kurds in Turkey: The Big Change„).

The European Union has been one of the most effective peacemaking institutions of the modern era. It eased transitions from dictatorship to democracy in Spain, Portugal, and Greece. More recently, it helped manage the peaceable breakup of the Soviet empire. Now, although torn by internal problems, the EU is the main factor drawing Turkey toward democracy, and perhaps even toward resolving the seemingly intractable Kurdish problem


Later that day, I walked past city hall and saw a large banner advertising a conference that was being held inside. Its subject was „The European Union Accession Process and the Kurdish Problem.“ When I walked into the packed hall, a local politician was delivering a passionate harangue.

„For so many years, the Turkish state called us criminals, saying that it was not possible to have dialogue with us and that we had to be crushed,“ he told the rapt crowd. „This is the repeated tragedy that created the Kurdish problem. The only reason Kurds were forced to begin armed struggle was the way the Turkish state has treated Kurds at every stage in the history of this country.“

These would have been highly dangerous words a couple of years ago. Even now, police agents monitor and videotape conferences like this one. Their presence, however, did nothing to intimidate the speakers in Diyarbakir. „They watch us just like before, but they can’t do anything to us anymore,“ one man told me. „This is a democracy now. We’re becoming European. The state can’t touch us.“

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