The European Union acted with characteristic provincialism by denying even to discuss admitting Turkey to the EU until December 2004. At that time the unelected Eurocrats will decide if Turkey is democratic enough to join the club and only then will negotiations begin.
The New York Times reports today that when asked when the negotiations would begin, the Danish prime minister, Anders Rasmussen, the current president of the European Union explained:
"Well, it's a very clear message," he said. "The answer to that, well, you ask me, when. It is a good question and the answer is very clear. As soon as possible. Because we stick to principle. We stick to principle that Turkey can get a date for the start of accession negotiations when Turkey fulfills the political criteria."
According to the Times, a draft communiqué, which has not been made public, is more vague and says nothing about opening negotiations with Turkey "as soon as possible" after it fulfills the requisite conditions.
I wouldn’t be surprised if by the time the Euros decide to talk that Turkey’s leaders wake up and realize that they needn’t stoop to join such a blinkered and bigoted organization.
Rather, the United States should step up and invite Turkey to join an expanded NAFTA. That’s an economic club worth joining.
Mr. Rasmussen, normally a soft-spoken conciliator, made clear that the United States had no role to play. "I would like to stress that this is a European decision," he said in a news conference before the summit meeting opened.
Yes, now let’s let them live with it.