Europe and Turkey: In search of a new world

DISCLAIMER: All opinions in this column reflect the views of the author(s), not of EURACTIV Media network.

Some EU governments act in contradiction with a strategic vision for the common European values and interest when they block Turkey’s accession talks, writes Kader Sevinç.

Kader Sevinç is the Representative to the EU of CHP (the Republican Peoples’ Party, which is the largest opposition force in Turkey). She is also Presidency Council Member of PES, the Party of European Socialists.

The Washington-based Diplomatic Courier and the Young Foreign Policy Professionals honored me recently as one of the “99 Foreign Policy Leaders” under the age of 33. I am grateful that on this occasion EURACTIV invited me to express my views regarding the foreign policy, the future of Europe and Turkey.

When asked by the Diplomatic Courier in an interview, I tried to develop a concept of Foreign policy as an expression of an interaction between several global and local challenges: finance, energy, technology, climate change, social problems and electoral politics. Therefore any policy labeled as "foreign" loses its primary meaning and becomes transnational and multi-dimensional. At the core of this evolving notion of foreign policy the human dimension ought to become the priority of our century.

The challenge for the 21st century's first generations of leaders, whether they are in the politics, business, media, or the civil society, is to define new transnational set of values, a progressive sense of correctness and idealism. For me the priorities would be the freedoms, ecology, science, and fight against the poverty. In this respect, the wisdom, innovative thinking, and the talent to use the big data are important qualities of leadership.

Both in my previous years at the European Parliament and today as a member of the PES Presidency Council and the EU representative of the Turkey’s social-democratic party (CHP), I am excited to promote the better understanding of economic and social policies shaping Europe’s future and having an impact on the positive role that Turkey can play in this perspective.

The world truly needs that the actual transitions in the international system generate opportunities for a better global order. This is why our world needs a better Europe.

  • A Europe, which will have the political and institutional capacity to lead the shaping of a new world order.
  • A European Union which will be able to re-define itself as a source and a better representative of universal values of democracy, human rights and cultural pluralism.
  • A European Union, which can be a driving-force for a better global governance system to fight against wars, poverty, climate change and the financial shock.
  • A European Union which will be able to wisely promote the Transatlantic Partnership (TTIP) and productive relations with rising Asia, dynamic South America and shaky Africa as well as the creation of a new prosperity belt from the Mediterranean to Central Asia.
  • And, consequently, the world needs a European Union which will prove its potential to become a larger single market, social model and political unity in an ever challenging global context.

This is the kind of Europe we all need. And this is why we believe in and work for a Turkey which will be part of the European Union soon.

Since the Gezi movements of last June in Istanbul, the Turkish citizens protesting all over Turkey against the incumbent ruling government demanding  to  respect a pluralistic society, individual freedoms, women rights, secularity of the  nation, accountability of the political authority and the protection of the environment. I share their demands and their creative action. They also contribute to Europe’s social evolution in developing innovative methods of democratic protests.

A survey conducted by Consensus Research in June 2013, clearly reveals that the Gezi park protesters are supported by the 54% majority of the population. 29% of citizens  who voted for the ruling AKP have also expressed  their support for the Gezi Park protests, whereas among citizens who voted  for CHP 86% have expressed their support for the Gezi activists. In addition the Gezi movement has been supported by 70% of the independent candidate voters. Among the seven regions,  Eastern Anatolia (44%) and Southeastern Anatolia (48%) were the least supportive regions of Gezi Park protests; however the Aegean Region at a rate of  66%, has been the most supportive.

I am confident that Turkey will overcome its social challenges with a stronger democracy inspired by EU. Unfortunately the stalled accession process has undermined the EU's positive role in the transformation of Turkey. Some EU governments act in contradiction with a strategic vision for the common European values and interest when they block Turkey’s accession talks. Such negative policies could only serve the interests of anti-European and undemocratic trends in Turkey and in the EU. This is an old-fashioned attitude in the style of cold war politics of the past, whereas in the 21st century we need to be creative and more visionary in Europe.

Is Turkey ready to join the EU?

Maybe not today! Tomorrow’s Turkey will be member of tomorrow’s EU. Turkey’s current problems can be better solved within the EU accession process, which should be re-energised by both the EU and Turkey through more rational policies, open and transparent dialog and without questioning the target of the membership.

As a member of a new generation of European Turks, I believe that my generation will adopt and implement progressive policies that Turkish citizens deserve. We will work for a better Europe as well. A Europe which deserves the confidence of its citizens; their pride of being European; their optimism for the future. We will finalize Turkey’s EU membership process: this will be a new beginning for Turkey as a success story of political and economic reforms,  as well as fo the EU as a triumphal moment in the expansion of its global power. Moreover, will also be a great achievement of the human civilisation’s progress towards ever better democracy."

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