- The Washington Times - Friday, November 1, 2002

If the German foreign minister has anything to do with it, Turkey will not be offered admission into the European Union.
Yesterday, in a press breakfast at the German Embassy, Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer compared the likelihood of Turkey's admission into the EU with Mexico and Central America's admission into the United States. That sounds to us like a firm and permanent veto. When a reporter suggested that EU consideration of Turkey would be helpful to the United States, the admirably honest and colorful foreign minister suggested that, while friends do many things for each other, getting married to a third party because a friend requests it is not one of them. These two vivid analogies admission into the United States and marriage strongly suggest that it is Turkey's lack of cultural affinity to Europe (not merely democratic and economic criteria) that is at the heart of German opposition to Turkey's eventual entry into the EU. The foreign minister made it clear that religious differences were not a factor in his calculations.
While such cultural considerations are, in our opinion, perfectly reasonable, we have not previously heard such a senior European official so frankly express such criteria for admission to the EU. If in fact Turkey is not to be seriously considered for eventual EU admission, then our government should advance our own trade and economic support policies for our friend and vital ally Turkey. Turkey is, and will remain, a lynchpin of our anti-terrorism struggle. It deserves the maximum economic and trade support that we can muster.
We also should mention that Mr. Fischer went out of his way to strongly rebut the assertion of many American commentators that Germany has turned anti-American. He identified the three pillars of German foreign policy as commitments to: 1) trans-Atlantic interests; 2) European unity; and 3) Germany's moral obligation to Israel. Our government should be responsive to German demonstrations (in concrete terms) of those vital values.


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