Turkey: very active in the Caucasus region

Turkey
Center for European Studies / Middle East Technical University
 
The military conflict in Georgia (aka the 5-day war) has been debated largely in Turkey by civil society organisations, political parties and the media. After the outbreak of war in South Ossetia, the Turkish government pursued a very active foreign policy in the region. After Nicolas Sarkozy’s visit to the region, Turkish Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, paid visits to the countries involved and the Foreign Ministry of Turkey revitalised the idea of the Caucasus stability pact under the name of “Caucasus Stability and Cooperation Platform” in order to secure stability by involving Russia, Turkey, Georgia, Azerbaijan and Armenia in the process.
 
Caucasus stability pact
 

Focus on enlargement and foreign policies of French Presidency

Turkey
Center for European Studies / Middle East Technical University
 
Enlargement and Turkey’s accession
 
In the Turkish media, Turkey’s general evaluation of the achievements, failures or weaknesses of the French Presidency, is covered under two main headings. First, the French Presidency is evaluated in terms of its enlargement policies with specific emphasis on Turkey’s ongoing accession negotiations process. The opening of two chapters, ‘free movement of capital’ and ‘information society and media’, is welcomed despite the country’s reservations for Turkey’s full membership.[1] It is agreed that France’s policies attempted to reflect the EU’s general attitude on enlargement. Yet, the Irish ‘No’ to Lisbon Treaty, the Georgian war and the global financial crisis are considered as critical events that might have shifted the priorities in France’s policy agenda concerning the enlargement process. Several civil society groups also criticised the European Council meeting decisions of 11/12 December 2008 as proposing very limited solutions in terms of the prospects of enlargement and Turkey-EU relations.
 
Foreign policy and financial crisis
 

Turkish context; reflections from the government, business and trade unions

Turkey
Center for European Studies / Middle East Technical University
 
Starting as a credit crunch in the US sub-prime mortgage market, the economic crisis soon became a global phenomenon. Not only financial institutions, but also real sector corporations have been severely influenced by this crisis. What is more, global economic governance is now under serious scrutiny for the lack of transparency, regulation and co-ordination. Economists like Joseph E. Stiglitz, point out the need for “more global and more robust oversight” that would prevent excessive risk taking, myopic behavior in financial markets, bad accounting and lack of transparency.[1] The hegemony of the USA in the world financial system has been challenged with the recent financial crisis so that the bipolar structure of the world system has reached its turning point.[2] At this juncture, there emerged a search for a new ‘Bretton Woods’. The European leaders aimed to lay down guidelines for co-ordinated action which was named by the President of France, Nicolas Sarkozy, as “the birth of a ‘European economic government’”.[3]
 

Obama’s agenda closely watched

Turkey
Center for European Studies / Middle East Technical University
 
The presidential election on 4 November 2008 was watched carefully all over the world. New US President, Barack Obama, has been one of the strong opponents of the neo-conservatives and their hawkish methods in the conduct of foreign policy. In this sense, his election strengthened the hopes for a change in the United States’ unilateral approach to world politics as well as the re-vitalization of transatlantic relationships. During the Bush Presidency, the EU-US relations became estranged as a result of disagreements over issues ranging from the Iraq War to the Kyoto Treaty. On the other hand, the foreign policy openings of Barak Obama, though not yet clearly launched, are signalling revitalisation and the multilateralism both in foreign policy and economy. In Turkey, these entire developments assessed cautiously to deduce some conclusions from the effects of the revitalised transatlantic relations.
 

The EU at a turning point

Turkey
Center for European Studies / Middle East Technical University
 
The future of the EU after the rejection of the Lisbon Treaty by the Irish referendum has found a broad coverage by the Turkish media in the reporting period, particularly with regards to its implications for Turkey’s EU accession. The exemptions Ireland was able to secure found a large reflection in the media, which underlined that the summit invited Ireland to hold a second referendum on the Lisbon Treaty.