Understanding Turkey and the US

… through the lens of daily newspapers. Shamelessly stolen in its entirety from Turkish Torque, whose sharp commentary deserves a huge audience. (Not that we can provide one, but that does not make the Torquester any less deserving.)

Who reads what?

1. The Wall Street Journal is read by the people who run the country. (Yeni Safak?)
2. The New York Times is read by people who think they run the country. (H?rriyet & Milliyet?)
3. The Washington Post is read by people who think they ought to run the country. (Milli Gazete, Radikal & D.B. Terc?man?)
4. USA Today is read by people who think they ought to run the country but don’t understand the Washington Post.
5. The Los Angeles Times is read by people who wouldn’t mind running the country, if they could spare the time.
6. The Boston Globe is read by people whose parents used to run the country. (Cumhuriyet?)
7. The New York Daily News is read by people who aren’t too sure who’s running the country. (Fanatik & Pas Fotomac?)
8. The New York Post is read by people who don’t care who’s running the country, as long as they do something scandalous.
9. The San Francisco Chronicle is read by people who aren’t sure there is a country, or that anyone is running it.
10. The Miami Herald is read by people who are running another country.

(Sinancigim, tesekk?rler.)

11 thoughts on “Understanding Turkey and the US

  1. Which is very similar to this description of the British newspapers from Yes, Prime Minister:

    The Times is read by the people who run the country. The Daily Mirror is read by the people who think they run the country. The Guardian is read by the people who think they ought to run the country. The Morning Star is read by the people who think the country ought to be run by another country. The Independent is read by people who don’t know who runs the country but are sure they’re doing it wrong. The Daily Mail is read by the wives of the people who run the country. The Financial Times is read by the people who own the country. The Daily Express is read by the people who think the country ought to be run as it used to be run. The Daily Telegraph is read by the people who still think it is their country. And the Sun’s readers don’t care who runs the country providing she has big tits.

  2. Thats wrong that is… I believe the Telegraph bit is straight after the Morning Star bit…

    “The Morning Star is read by people who think we should be run by another country, and the Daily Telegraph is read by people who think it is”.

  3. The more interesting item is the one above it on Cyprus. I mostly agree with his analysis – that it would be best that accession talks are opened and then Turkey recognizes the Cypriot government.

    Turkey is going to have to give up Cyprus. That is all there is to it, frankly. The current Cypriot government isn’t interested in cleansing the Turks anyway, and the EU wouldn’t allow it regardless.

    The Turks have to accept multiculturalism in Cyprus and Turkey itself. That means language rights for the Turkish Cypriots in a single Cypriot state and that means language rights for the Kurds, Arabs, Armenians, Greeks, and Mingrelians in the Turkish state.

    It’s the only way, and frankly the fact that this is coming up at all is a testament to the cultural and economic power of the EU.

    Frankly, it might work for Ukraine and Moldova as well.

  4. HB, we did a lot of Cyprus earlier this year; don’t know if you caught much of it. Since the Greek Cypriots are the ones who turned down the last deal, it stands to reason that, whatever the historical questions involved, they have responsibility for the next move.

  5. Doug, I have to disagree. I don’t hold with the standard “blame-the-Greek-Cypriots” meme. They seem to have voted against the deal for a very simple reason – they didn’t want any Turkish troops occupying their island. The deal provided no mechanism for making all the Turkish troops leave the island, and in fact provided for a permanent force.

    I don’t think it is unreasonable for the Cypriots not to want Turkish troops in their country. Notice that they are fine with other international troops if necessary, just no Turkish troops. It’s also true that they don’t want any Greek troops there long term either.

  6. Let me just add one more thing. The Torque has homed on to an important issue for Turkey’s accession to the EU. The Cypriots can veto it and will as long as Turkey occupies their country. It’s that simple. So if Turkey wants to get into the EU, they have to appease the Cypriots to some extent. It’s just the way things are.

  7. If it’s really that simple, this will probably mark the first time in Cypriot history that anything was simple.

    Judging from the press commentary, the outside world looked at the last round as: Turkish government said ok, Greek government said ok, Turkish Cypriots said ok, Greek Cypriots said not. From that point of view, it doesn’t look like the Turks, on the island or otherwise, are the ones being obstreporous. It certainly looked like the Greek Cypriots, flush with the sure knowledge of EU accession, decided to say no because they could.

    That may or not be fair, but it’s unlikely in the extreme that the wider world will follow the ins and outs of a country with less than half the population of greater Copenhagen. Hence the expectation that the initiative will come from the Greek Cypriot side.

    Certainly there will be negotiating and posturing on Cyprus and all the other issues relating to accession. And I don’t think that any of it will be simple; if it were, it would have been settled decades ago.

    By the way, the second paragraph of your first post is framed to imply that Turkish Cypriots are not Cypriots. An oversight?

  8. Doug,

    Nice try. Of course Turkish Cypriots are Cypriots – which is accepted by everyone on the island, by the way. It’s clear that the majority of Cypriots want Turkish troops off the island. The Greek Cypriots seemed to vote overwhelmingly for that. I have yet to read a clear reference on Turkish Cypriots’ take on Turkish troops, especially since they are split on between immigrants and natives and those who want more independence from Turkey and those who want to be completely integrated from Turkey. Since the Turkish Cypriots voted to reduce the Turkish presence on the island, the main question seems to be whether there will be any Turkish troops on the island at all. That’s the main sticking point.

    This is a serious question that everyone seems to want to avoid, for no clear reason that I can see. Cyprus is a member of the EU. Any member of the EU can veto the accession of a new member. Thus, Cyprus can veto the accession of Turkey. Turkey at this time refuses to recognize the internationally recognized government of Cyprus and occupies part of that country. How is Turkey going to get into the EU without making some concessions to the government of Cyprus?

    Are people actually thinking that the EU will prevent Cyprus from vetoing Turkey either through extreme pressure or changing the rules? Would the EU expel both Cyprus and Greece?

    It just seems a little crazy to me to spend a lot of time discussing Turkish accession without discussing Cyprus. How do people expect to pull this off with the status quo?

    From my vantage point – Cyprus holds most of the cards? I’m very curious about a way that would rectify this without extreme Turkish concessions, but I don’t see it. Since I think those concessions would ultimately be beneficial for Turkey, I’m for them, but I would be very interested in hearing how people would square the circle.

    You say you expect proposals from the Cypriot government. Suppose they don’t? They can still veto the accession of Turkey whenever it comes up. What way do you see around this?

  9. HB,

    Clarification was on this paragraph, “I don’t think it is unreasonable for the Cypriots not to want Turkish troops in their country. Notice that they are fine with other international troops if necessary, just no Turkish troops. It’s also true that they don’t want any Greek troops there long term either.” I hope you can see how confusion could arise, but glad that you have cleared it up.

    Certainly Cyprus can exercise a national veto. First, though, actual accession is a long way away. I’m optimistic, and even I don’t expect a Turkish list for the European Parliament before 2014.

    Second, a long way down the road, will it be smart to exercise a national veto? That’s the question. The row over the name Macedonia might be illuminating.

    If, in ten years’ time, the one and only thing preventing membership of 70+ million Turks in the EU, are the wishes of less than 700,000 Greek Cypriots, then I suspect that the political and diplomatic costs may be considerable. My crystal ball is not so clear that I can see what tinkering with timing and conditions and such will untie the knot, nor what the costs of the Greek Cypriot tail wagging the EU dog might be. I also suspect that the changes Turkey will continue to undertake as part of EU accession will render the dispute more tractable from their side.

    The Greek Cypriot government does indeed appear to hold many cards. Does it follow that the maximalist position is thus the smartest one?

    (Gratuitously, in many questions of international politics, the United States holds a great many cards in terms of simple power. Does it thus follow that the Americans should pursue the maximalist position whenever that is true? I.e., are you making a general statement or a specific one, and if it is specific, why should it not hold true in other cases?)

  10. Things change. If Turkish membership in the EU was suddenly important for one reason or another to, oh I don’t know, say Russia, Ukraine and USA, and many EU states were generally desirous of Turkish membership, would Cyprus hold any cards?? Since little Cyprus holds a good card on the EU admissions matter, plus a bigger card regarding the world’s desire to have an end to the problems of this little country (much bigger countries in Africa have much bigger problems)…. and they want less of Turkey on the Island, the sooner the better, they should play their hand NOW to ensure their good cards don’t turn into spot cards, and they can enjoy their winnings immediately.

  11. Greek government said ok, Turkish Cypriots said ok, Greek Cypriots said not
    The Greek Cypriots would be the ones however that would have to shoulder (among other things) the costs of reunification, indeed they would repay themselves the damages inflicted on them by the Turkish invasion – making their opinion somewhat the more relevant.

    The issue is, Doug, that Cyprus can veto Turkey’s accession at any point exactly because there are an awful lot people and governments that do not want Turkish accession, and will gladly encourage and hide behind a Cypriot veto. In that sense the issue is whether Cyprus will accomodate them.

    You’re missing however an important point. The Greek Cypriots have very little to lose. They seem to have voted for a maximalist position in the referendum because they think that they can get a better deal than the one offered (which was, charitably speaking, chaotic and problematic anyway – and I supported it) which would have made them none the richer and would have legitimized a status quo that no one on the Greek part of the island thinks fair or legal by any standard of international law (and on that they’re right). Will they get it? I’m not sure. But obviously they’ll try. Should they decide to veto (and if they do the internal political costs of Greece not supporting them would be enormous), the worse case scenario is that the TRNC would be incorporated inside Turkey – and then both Greece and Cyprus would be certain to veto any prospect of Turkish accession. A more realistic scenario is that the status quo would remain more or less as it is, and the Greek Cypriots continue to more or less enjoy a high standard of living, and the benefits of EU membership, while accepeting that the areas from which they were ethnically cleansed in 1974 will always remain under Turkish control. Which is what they have now…

    So it is in Turkey’s interest that, either now or later, we head for a new “Annan plan” slightly more favorable to the Greek Cypriot side than the last one. This would make Papadopoulos a hero – and AKEL the ruling party for the next century or so. However the Turkish military has a different understanding of what constitutes its country’s interests and might never cave in – using the Cyprus issue as an alibi for averting Turkey’s accession to the EU. We’ll see.

    Hektor, the “official” Greeks (the few thousands that have remained in Istambul) have already language rights in Turkey.

    Lastly this: should Turkey enter the EU, the Union would certainly cease to be a vehicle for European integration. The prospect of a closer union (already undermined by the last enlargment) would have to continue outside the EU.

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