Transcript: Ahmet Evin on Turkey and EU Accession | Feb 19, 2005

Ahmet appears on screen. He stands on a stage and addresses an audience as part of a conference. He’s in his fifties. He has short brown hair and is clean-shaven. He wears a dark green suit, white shirt, striped red and black tie and glasses.

Ahmet says FIRST, THE ISSUE
OF TURKEY AND ITS RELATION TO
THE IMPLICATIONS OF THE CURRENT
ENLARGEMENT, AND HOW THAT IS
PERCEIVED IN DIFFERENT PARTS OF
EUROPE.
THE ENLARGEMENT, AS WELL AS
RADICAL CHANGES IN THE MIDDLE
EAST AND SIGNIFICANT
DEVELOPMENTS IN RUSSIA, BRING
THE TURKISH MEMBERSHIP INTO A
SHARPENED, ESSENTIALLY
AFFIRMATIVE PERSPECTIVE,
ALTHOUGH, OBVIOUSLY IT IS NOT
UNIVERSALLY PERCEIVED AS SUCH.
THERE ARE THE BURDENS, THERE
ARE THE COHESION POLICIES,
THERE'S THE PROBLEMS OF
INSTITUTION BUILDING,
ABSORPTION INTO THE E.U.,
CULTURE, ABSORPTION OF THE
ENLARGEMENT AREAS IN THE E.U.
CULTURE OF GOVERNANCE.

A caption on screen reads "Ahmet Evin. Istanbul Sabanci University." Then, it changes to "Turkey and EU Accession."

Ahmet continues ON THE OTHER
HAND, THE ENLARGEMENT ALSO
EXPANDS AND EXTENDS THE
EUROPEAN CULTURAL ARENA.
IT ENHANCES CULTURAL
DIFFERENTIATION, AND IT
EMBRACES A BROADER SPECTRUM OF
CULTURES, INCLUDING SOME OF
THOSE THAT WERE ORIGINALLY PART
OF THE EASTERN QUESTION.

The caption changes to "Munk Centre for International Studies. November 12, 2004."

Ahmet continues IN FACT, THE
EAST WILL NOT LOOK THAT FAR,
AND SO VERY DIFFERENT WITH
SLOVENIA IN, BULGARIA AND
ROMANIA NEAR.
SO IN A WAY, THIS ENLARGEMENT
SHOULD MAKE TURKEY LESS ALIEN
AND LESS DISTANT THAN WAS THE
CASE BEFORE.
BY EXTENDING INTO THE BALKANS,
THE E.U. IS IRONICALLY
EMBRACING THE VERY CULTURAL
MILIEU THAT PRODUCED THE
OPTIMUM MODERNISERS OF THE 19th
CENTURY.
THEY WERE, BY AND LARGE, COMING
FROM THE BALKANS, AND LEADERS
WHO SHAPED THE DESTINY OF
MODERN TURKEY -- THE REPUBLICAN
ELITE, ATATURK FOR ONE, WAS
BORN IN SALONIKA.
THE BORDER BETWEEN CHRISTIAN
EUROPE AND MUSLIM TURKEY IS NOT
THE ONLY AND SINGULAR CULTURAL
FAULT IN EUROPE.
IT WAS, HISTORICALLY THAT
CULTURAL FAULT, WAS THAT
BETWEEN WESTERN CHRISTIANITY
AND THE LANDS OF THE EASTERN
CHURCH.
BY WESTERN CHRISTIANITY I MEAN
THE COMBINATION, THE PARTICULAR
AND PECULIAR COMBINATION OF THE
GERMANIC TRADITIONS OF
FRATERNITY AND CONSENSUS, AND
THE ROMAN LAW THAT BECAME THE
LEGITIMISING, THE MEANS OF
LEGITIMISING THAT UH, TRADITION
IN THE MIDDLE AGES.
THE OTTOMANS BASICALLY ADOPTED
THIS LATTER SYSTEM.
NOT THE WESTERN, BUT BY AND
LARGE BYZANTINE TYPES OF
INSTITUTIONS IN RULING THAT--
THOSE AREAS.
AND HENCE THE OTTOMANS DIFFERED
ESSENTIALLY, HISTORICALLY, FROM
THE ARAB MUSLIM EMPIRES.
I'LL GIVE YOU ONE EXAMPLE
THERE.
IT IS VERY COMMON TO SAY NOW,
TURKEY IS MODERN BECAUSE OF THE
REPUBLIC AND SO ON AND SO
FORTH, THE SECULAR INSTITUTIONS
AND WHATEVER.
THE MODERNISATION AND
WESTERNISATION OF THE REPUBLIC
IS A NATURAL CONTINUATION OF
OTTOMAN REFORMS OF THE 19th
CENTURY.
BUT WE CAN ALSO GO BACK BEFORE,
I WILL POINT OUT, TO THE
ESSENTIAL DIFFERENCE BETWEEN
THE OTTOMANS AS OPPOSED TO THE
OTHERS, THAT OTTOMANS RAN THE
EMPIRE WITH SECULAR LAW.
ISLAMIC LAW WAS APPLIED AS
PERSONAL LAW, LAW TO ADJUDICATE
BETWEEN INDIVIDUALS.
ISLAMIC LAW WAS NEVER APPLIED
TO COMMERCIAL RELATIONS.
AND IN FACT, THE HEAD OF THE
JUSTICE SYSTEM HAD TO TAKE A
PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE TO THE
SULTAN.
THE PERSON WHO REPRESENTED THE
INTERPRETATION OF SHARIA, WAS
NOT A MEMBER OF THE IMPERIAL--
THIS IS NOT QUITE UNDERSTOOD.
ESSENTIALLY, THEREFORE, THERE
IS A 600 YEAR HISTORY THERE OF
NOT SUBJECTING THE
ADMINISTRATION OF THE REALM TO
SHARIA LAW.
THIS PART BRINGS US TO NUMBER 2

- LET ME ADDRESS THIS ISSUE,
NOW THE EUROPEAN PART OF THIS--
THIS WIDENING AND DEEPENING.
BOTH WIDENING AND DEEPENING
CANNOT HAPPEN SIMULTANEOUSLY
AND AT THE SAME SPEED.
ONE, THE COSTS
ARE TOO HIGH.
TWO, INSTITUTIONS NEED TIME TO
GET ACCULTURATED AND
TRANSFORMED INTO BEING EUROPEAN
INSTITUTIONS, PARTICULARLY IN
THE FORMER EASTERN EUROPEAN
COUNTRIES.
MORE SO IN MANY RESPECTS THAN
TURKEY.
AND LABOUR CIRCULATION AND
MONETARY UNION WILL TAKE TIME
FOR MOST OF THESE COUNTRIES.
THE CURRENT
ENLARGEMENT WILL LEAD TO
VARIEGATED SHADES OF
EUROPEANNESS FOR A WHILE, AMONG
THE CONVERGING AREAS.
CULTURAL DIFFERENTIATION IN
THESE AREAS WILL OFFER
DIVERSITY IN KEEPING WITH THE
EUROPEAN PRINCIPLE OF UNITY IN
DIVERSITY OF THE UH...
DRAFT EUROPEAN CONSTITUTION.
THE PROCESS OF COHESION WILL
ALSO TAKE PLACE AT DIFFERENT
SPEEDS, WHEREBY INSTRUMENTS OF
DEEPENING ARE ADOPTED.
HENCE THERE IS A SUGGESTION OF
AN INNER CORE FROM WESTERN
EUROPEAN COUNTRIES.
THIS IS NATURAL.
AND IT DOES NOT DETRACT FROM
THE OBJECTIVES OF EUROPEAN
INTEGRATION.
ON THE CONTRARY, IT IS
CONSISTENT WITH THE NATURE OF
THE EUROPEAN PROJECT ITSELF, A
PROJECT THAT CONTINUES IN A
DYNAMIC FASHION.
MY POINT IS THAT DIFFERENCES
WITH TURKEY WILL NOT AND SHOULD
NOT LOOM SO LARGE DURING THE
LONGISH PROCESS OF CONVERGENCE
PRIOR TO DEEPENING IN THIS
GEOGRAPHY AND TO THE EAST.
ENLARGEMENT, INCLUDING TURKEY
WILL MEAN CHANGING AND
STABILISING SOUTH-EASTERN
EUROPE IN A CHANGED E.U.
MY THIRD POINT IS NOW THE ISSUE
OF RELIGION, ISLAM, AND THAT
RELIGIOUS DIMENSION TO THIS
DIFFERENCE OF CULTURE.
ON THE CULTURAL SIDE...
IS EUROPE SECULAR OR CHRISTIAN,
IS THE QUESTION FROM WHERE WE
SHOULD START.
MY UNDERSTANDING IS THAT EUROPE
IS CULTURALLY SECULAR, AS
OPPOSED TO THE UNITED STATES,
WHICH IS CONSTITUTIONALLY
SECULAR, BUT AS WE HAVE SEEN AT
THE RECENT ELECTION, IT IS NOT
CULTURALLY SECULAR AT ALL.
BUT IF EUROPE IS CULTURALLY
SECULAR, EUROPE OUGHT TO BE
THINKING ABOUT THE ASSET
SECULAR TURKEY WILL BRING, AND
NOT A MUSLIM TURKEY WILL BRING.
SECULARISM HAS A STRONG GRAVITY
IN TURKEY'S HISTORY, AS I
MENTIONED.
BUT THAT GRAVITY, I THINK WE'RE
ALSO SEEING IN THE COMMITMENT
OF EVEN THIS PRESENT
GOVERNMENT, TO EUROPEAN NORMS
AND STANDARDS, DESPITE THEIR
ISLAMIST PEDIGREE, OR NOT THE
WHOLE, BUT HIS PARTY'S PRESENT
LEADERSHIP.
SECULAR SOCIALISATION, RATHER
THAN IDEOLOGICAL POLARISATION
HAS WORKED IN TURKEY, AND IS
WORKING NOW.
CLOSELY RELATED TO THIS, AND
CONTRARY TO U.S. EXPECTATIONS,
TURKEY, I DO NOT THINK, IS A
MODEL TO BE EXPORTED, OF
ISLAMIC DEMOCRACY.
SO IN A WAY, I DIFFER FROM A
PART OF THE EARLIER DISCUSSION,
BECAUSE I DO NOT BELIEVE IN
ISLAMIC DEMOCRACY.
THERE CAN BE TOLERANT MUSLIMS,
THERE CAN BE RADICAL MUSLIMS.
THERE CAN BE TUBTHUMPING
BAPTISTS, THERE CAN BE VERY
SECULAR AND NOT CHURCH-GOING
EPISCOPALIANS.
THESE ARE PERSONAL ATTRIBUTES.
DEMOCRACY IS SOMETHING THAT IS
ESSENTIALLY, IT GUARANTEES--
IT GUARANTEES THE RIGHT AND
REGULATION PROPERLY AND IN A
WAY THAT PROTECTS INDIVIDUAL
RIGHTS AND LIBERTIES UNDER
SECULAR LAW. AND
CONSEQUENTLY, THIS FRENCH
LASSITER, IS A LITTLE
DIFFERENT FROM WHAT I MEAN BY
SECULAR, BUT I THINK WE DO
UNDERSTAND, IN THE ENGLISH
SPEAKING WORLD, WHAT SECULARISM
IS. AND I THINK
TURKEY HAS-- IS EMERGING TO BEA
SECULAR COUNTRY RATHER THAN A
MILITANT COUNTRY.
THE TURKISH ELECTORATE'S
OVERWHELMING SUPPORT OF AKP,
ACTUALLY DIMINISHED THE
RELIGIOUS ORIENTATION OF THE
PARTY'S LEADERSHIP, AS WELL AS
MOST OF ITS LOCAL
ORGANISATIONS.
SO ANOTHER IMPORTANT ASPECT OF
DEMOCRATIC EXPERIENCE, THAT OF
PLURALISM, IN FACT HAS THE PULL
OF BRINGING THE PARTY TO THE
SECULAR CENTRE.

As he speaks, the screen shows captions of the audience. The room looks crowded with people in a wide age range, listening carefully and taking notes.

Ahmet continues
NOW WHAT ABOUT MUSLIMS IN
EUROPE, MY FOURTH POINT?
TURKEY'S ENTRY INTO THE
EUROPEAN UNION WILL BE A
DOMESTICATING FACTOR RATHER
THAN A FACTOR, AS THE
MESSENGERS OF FEAR BRING --
RATHER THAN A FACTOR THAT WILL
ENHANCE THE MUSLIM-- RADICAL
MUSLIM PRESENCE IN WESTERN
EUROPE.
TURKEY'S OWN EXPERIENCE THERE
IS VERY CLEAR.
NOW... THIS IS RELATED OF
COURSE, BOTH TO THE IMAGE OF
THE TERRIBLE TURK, AND TO THE
FACT OF THESE MUSLIM
COMMUNITIES, AND HOW THESE
MUSLIM COMMUNITIES ARE A
PROBLEM OF INTEGRATION.
HOW IS EUROPE, BASICALLY,
HAVING VENOMOUS SNAKES IN THE
MIDDLE OF IT, AND HOW TO CLEAN
THESE VENOMOUS SNAKES.
LET ME SAY SOMETHING ABOUT THIS

- THAT THE PROBLEM OF LACK OF
INTEGRATION, AS FAR AS THE
TURKISH POPULATION IN WESTERN
EUROPE IS CONCERNED, I THINK IS
VERY MUCH EXAGGERATED IN THE
FOLLOWING WAYS.
ONE IS, WHO IS TURK IN EUROPE.
IF YOU WALK DOWN THE STREET
YOU'LL SEE WHAT I CONSIDER,
FROM THE EUROPEAN PERSPECTIVE
THE VISIBLE TURK.
THAT VISIBLE TURK CARRIES OUT
THE DAILY IMAGE THAT OBTAINS IN
EUROPE OF, THAT THEY ARE ALL
LIKE THIS, AND THEY WILL NEVER
INTEGRATE.
SECOND, IS THAT THE PROBLEM OF
INTEGRATION, UNFORTUNATELY, WAS
THE FAULT OF SUCCESSIVE, BOTH
TURKISH AND EUROPEAN
GOVERNMENTS. VERY BRIEFLY
AGAIN, THE TURKISH GOVERNMENTS,
BASICALLY IN THE '60s AND '70s,
SENT A MESSAGE TO THE TEMPORARY
WORKERS THERE NOT TO INTEGRATE.
THEY SHOULD REMAIN AS GOOD,
LOYAL CITIZENS OF THE TURKISH
STATE -- TERRIBLE THING TO DO.
THE GERMANS GAVE
THESE PEOPLE,
THEY HAD NO REASON TO
INTEGRATE.
WHY WERE THEY THERE IN THE
FIRST PLACE?
THEY WERE THERE, BECAUSE THEY
WERE INVITED AS TEMPORARY
WORKERS, AND THEY WERE SKILLED,
SEMI-SKILLED AND UNSKILLED
WORKERS WHO CAME FROM AREAS OF
TURKEY AS DIFFERENT FROM
TURKISH CITIES AT THAT TIME, AS
TO EUROPE.
NOW, THE THIRD MISTAKE, AND
SERIOUS MISTAKE WAS THAT
THROUGHOUT THE '80s,
PARTICULARLY IN GERMANY WHERE
THERE IS A GREAT TURKISH
PRESENCE, PARTICULARLY IN THE
'80s, THERE WAS, IN THE GERMAN
PUBLIC OPINION, THAT ANYONE WHO
SOUGHT REFUGE IN GERMANY, MUST
BE DEMOCRATIC, BECAUSE TURKEY
HAD A MILITARY REGIME, AND THIS
LASTED AFTER THE ELECTIONS OF
83, THIS LASTED AFTER THE
ELECTIONS OF 87, AND SO
CONSEQUENTLY, THE...
COMMUNITY FACTORS, THE
COMMUNITY COHESION OF RADICALS
WERE REINFORCED BY THE
ATTITUDES OF THE HOST
COUNTRIES.
IT WAS A HIGH PRICE TO PAY.
MY FIFTH POINT IS THE BORDERS
OF EUROPE.
EUROPE, I THINK WILL ACHIEVE
ITS HISTORIC BORDERS WITH, AND
NOT WITHOUT TURKEY.
TURKEY WILL ADD STRATEGIC DEPTH
TO THE UNION'S FOREIGN POLICY

- WITHOUT TURKEY, THERE CANNOT
BE A UNION FOREIGN POLICY,
PARTICULARLY WITH REGARD TO
THAT REGION.
IT IS LOCATED AT THE CENTRE OF
THE EURASIAN GEOGRAPHY, IT
MAKES TURKEY A KEY STRATEGIC
ALLY NOW WITH EUROPE.
IT CERTAINLY IS A FACILITATOR
OF NEIGHBOURHOOD POLICY.
TURKEY CAN BE AN EFFECTIVE
CATALYST FOR THE SPREAD OF
EUROPEAN VALUES IN THE REGION
AND BEYOND.
YOU'RE TALKING ABOUT
NEIGHBOURHOOD POLICY WHICH IS
JUST LEGISLATED, AND TURKEY IS
NOT PART OF THAT NEIGHBOURHOOD
POLICY, BECAUSE IT'S A
CANDIDATE STATE.
BUT WITHOUT TURKEY, HOW CAN
THAT NEIGHBOURHOOD POLICY OF
THE E.U. EFFECTIVELY IMPLEMENT
IT?
IT REALLY CANNOT.
POLICIES TOWARD THE REGION,
INTEGRATION OF THE WESTERN
BALKANS AND SO ON, TURKISH
POLICIES HAVE CONVERGED, JUST
10-15 YEARS AGO -- 10 YEARS
AGO, TURKISH POLICIES WERE, IN
FACT, RESISTING THE FAST
INTEGRATION OF FORMER COMMUNIST
COUNTRIES, BECAUSE TURKEY WAS
SAYING, WELL I WAS IN THE
QUEUE, AND ALL OF A SUDDEN, YOU
LET ALL THE OTHERS JUMP THE
QUEUE.
AND THAT DIDN'T GO OVER VERY
WELL GIVEN THE EUROPEAN WAYS OF
NEGOTIATING.
NOW, FOR SEVERAL -- FOR A YEAR
OR TWO NOW, TURKISH POLICY IS,
IN FACT, TO ASSIST IN THE
INTEGRATION OF WESTERN BALKANS
AS WELL AS THE UH...
THE CAUCASUS STABILITY.
OIL PIPELINES, OBVIOUSLY, AND
TO TRANSLATE AND EXTEND THE
EXPERIENCE TO THE ARAB MIDDLE
EAST.
MY SIXTH POINT IS THE ECONOMY.
NOW, TURKEY'S MEMBERSHIP,
CONTRARY TO THE SOOTHSAYERS OF
DOOM AND GLOOM, IS NOT GOING TO
BE--
IS NOT GOING TO HAVE A VERY
HIGH-- CAUSE A VERY HIGH
BURDEN, IN FACT, ALMOST NO
EXCEPTIONAL BURDEN TO EUROPEAN
TAXPAYERS.

He pulls out a document and reads from it.

Ahmet continues
WHERE...I HAVE A REPORT
HERE FROM THE FRIENDS OF
EUROPE, AND IT SAYS, THE
TURKISH BUDGET ESTIMATES
FOLLOWING THE SIMILAR APPROACH
TO AGRICULTURE AND SO ON, AS IT
WAS GIVEN TO THE CALCULATOR FOR
THE CURRENT EXPANSION COUNTRIES

- IT GIVES BUDGET ESTIMATES
ABOUT THE SAME AS TURKEY, AS IT
IS FOR THE TEN.
ROUGHLY,
THEREFORE, OVER A PERIOD OF
TIME, WHICH IS FROM 2015 TO
2018, IT WOULD BE ABOUT 45
BILLION EURO.
"IN CONCLUSION," SAYS THIS
REPORT, WHICH IS THE FRIENDS OF
EUROPE REPORT, "THESE BUDGET
ESTIMATES ARE ONLY APPROXIMATE,
BUT THEY INDICATE THAT TURKISH
ACCESSION IS MANAGEABLE, AND
LIKELY TO HAVE AROUND THE SAME
FINANCIAL IMPLICATIONS AS THAT
OF NEW E.U. TEN MEMBER STATES."
MIGRATION, AGAIN, THE IMPACT OF
MIGRATION, THE NETHERLANDS
BUREAU OF ECONOMICS, LOOKS TO
MIGRATION AS RATHER NEGLIGIBLE,
AND ITS EFFECT, BOTH ON
POPULATION AND ITS EFFECT
ECONOMICALLY WOULD BE
NEGLIGIBLE, SLIGHTLY POSITIVE
ON THE EUROPEAN SIDE.
A NEWER STUDY, IN FACT,
COMPARES THE PROJECTED
MIGRATION FIGURES, IF TURKEY IS
A MEMBER, AND IF TURKEY IS NOT
ADMITTED AS A MEMBER FROM 2004
TO 2030.
IF THERE IS FAST ECONOMIC
DEVELOPMENT AND MEMBERSHIP, THE
TOTAL NUMBER WILL BE MUCH--
MIGRANTS WILL BE MUCH LOWER
THAN ESTIMATED NUMBER OF
MIGRANTS, WHICH IS AT 2.7 IN
THE STUDY, 2.7 OR 8 IN THE
DUTCH STUDY, AND SIMILAR
FIGURES, 2.8 IN THE EUROPEAN
UNION BRUSSELS COMMITTEE STUDY.
HOWEVER, IF TURKEY IS A MEMBER,
AND FAST GROWING AT 7 PERCENT, THE
ESTIMATED NUMBER OF MIGRANTS
SEEKING JOBS THERE WILL IN FACE
GO DOWN TO 2.1.
MY LAST POINT IS THE
CONSTITUTION AND GOVERNANCE,
THE IMPACT OF THAT.
HOW CAN WE HAVE A VERY LARGE
COUNTRY, LIKE TURKEY, TO BE A
MEMBER OF THE UNION, AND IT
WOULD HAVE X NUMBER OF DEPUTIES
AND SO ON.
IF THE CURRENT RATIOS ARE
TAKEN, JUST TO SUMMARISE,
GERMANY AND TURKEY WOULD HAVE
82 SEATS AND 11.2 PERCENT SHARE OF THE
VOTE EACH -- IN GERMANY'S CASE,
DOWN FROM 13.5, AND THEREFORE,
NEITHER TURKEY NOR GERMANY
COULD DOMINATE, EVEN IF THE MPs
VOTED ACCORDING TO NATIONAL
INTEREST RATHER THAN PARTY
GROUPING.
SO TURKEY IN EUROPE...
BOTH IN TERMS OF CULTURE OR IN
TERMS OF QUANTITATIVE DATA, IS
NOT SUCH A BURDEN, OR IS NOT
SUCH DIFFICULTY.
ONE SENTENCE ON HOW TO PREPARE
THE SIDES.
I THINK TURKEY HAS BEEN
PREPARED, AND THE OCTOBER 6th
REPORT OF THE COMMISSION
INDICATES.
IT JUST HAS TO MOVE AT THE SAME
PACE.
THE ISSUE IS HOW TO PREPARE
EUROPE.
PUBLIC OPINION -- INCREASE OF
FAMILIARITY, SO THAT THERE IS
THE IMAGE OF THE TERRIBLE TURK,
AND ACTUALLY...
EUROPEAN LEADERSHIP HAS TO
ASSUME SOME LEADERSHIP.
IT IS QUITE CONTRARY, IN FACT,
TO THE SPIRIT OF THE EUROPEAN
ARCHITECTURE AND THE INTENTIONS
OF THE EUROPEAN UNION TO SEEK
SOLACE IN DEMOCRATIC DEFICITS
WHEN ONLY IT SERVES THE PURPOSE
AND MAKE POLITICIANS AVOID HARD
WORK.
LEADERSHIP IS POSSIBLE IN
DEMOCRACIES, AS WELL AS
APPROPRIATE AND PROPER
INFORMATION SHARING.
AFTER ALL, THE EUROPEAN UNION
IS AN ELITIST PROJECT, THANK YOU.

Watch: Ahmet Evin on Turkey and EU Accession