Friday, November 25, 2011

Eurasian Union dreams Putin. And the Turks design their own too!

Turkey’s President Mr. Abdullah Gul, put forward his vision for a democratic Middle East with its own E.U.-style structure and functions. He never of course commented on what will happen with Turkey's E.U. membership bid that has been pending for decades.

Is Turkey fed up of waiting and decided to set up its own club, or does President Gul see a place for his country as a “bridge” between the two regions? Perhaps this is another bluff to send a message to Europe. Are the Turks turning to the East to establish their influence and what will all this mean for us?

Either way, it’s not the only time that recently we’ve heard of plans for new organizations, modeled after the E.U. Last month the Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, announced that he wanted to see a Eurasian Union set up by 2015 incorporating Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan, with its headquarters in Moscow.

Some in Europe and E.U. fear such moves and are suspicious of them. Perhaps they always see as threat whatever comes from Russia and the East and if they can not be part of it, they are becoming skeptical. Perhaps they do not want to let go Turkey out of their sphere of influence and are afraid of Turkey or Russia becoming too big and powerful.

I do not see why Europe should be afraid when other regions are forming blocks. There are blocks of nations all over the World: ASEAN, AU, MERCOSUR, NAFTA, you name it. So what if the Russians and the Turks want to create their blocks. Mr. Sarkozy created the Mediterranean Union. If any leader can satisfy his ego and leave a legacy by creating a new "Union" of nations, so be it!

What does the Mediterranean Union has achieved so far anyway? Do we ever read about what it does, how it works and what are its functions? While the E.U. is often scrutinized and blamed for being undemocratic, no one cares about what does Mr. Sarkozy's brainchild focus on and how it influences us. So will those two new "Unions" be just another club of nations cooperating, or can they ever challenge E.U./Europe's hegemony?

On the other hand, such initiative by the Turks will perhaps be the solution to the Turkish E.U. membership saga. If we do not want them in, then set them free and be honest with them. Are we afraid that two new strong blocks in our neighborhood will mean more competition? Perhaps that will give us a kick up the back side to get a grip, solve our differences and proceed with necessary reforms.

We should also re-approach Russia, our relationship with this country and not fear them.Our attachment to the hip with America is not good for us. We should have good relations both with America and Russia. Be an equal partner to them, not their sidekick and little toss-ball. We should pursue more independent foreign policies from USA, reestablishing our relationship with the Americans but also Russia, Turkey, China, Brazil and India.

All European nations should join the EU, that means both Ukraine and hopefully even Belarus. Russia and the EU should renegotiate immigration, freedom of movement, free trade and other bilateral agreements, while the Russians should expand their influence in central Asia. In that way, though Russia will never be an E.U. member state, it will contribute in the increasing European influence in the central Asian region. With Turkey we could do the same for the Middle Eastern Region and the Southern Caucasus.

If we keep good  relations with those two nations, re-approach them and set up new, crystal clear bonds of alliance, friendship and cooperation, I believe that it can be a win win situation for all. If we do not want Turkey in E.U. we should form a different close kind of relationship with them. Allow them to expand their influence in the Middle East, and through them we could increase our own influence without us having always to intervene.

What we should give Turkey and Russia back of course is another matter. I guess that is a topic for a good debate. If the Norwegians enjoy all E.U. citizens' rights without being a member, then perhaps that is a suggestion.

Of course we will have to guard our interests and make sure that those two new "Unions" if they ever materialize, do not pose a threat to us. It is down to us to get a grip and start thinking as a unit, supporting each other, backing up each others' interests and protect each others' borders. If we are truly united then no one could challenge Europe.

We do have so much going on for us and we should be engaging in a positive and open manner with our neighbors, not be skeptical or suspicious of them. There is no need to impose our will and interests on our neighboring nations or blocks. We can achieve so much more if we have them as allies.

Will they of course want to cooperate with us? Well Europe is Russia's most important customer when it comes to gas and oil. And if we were not too pro-American perhaps the Russians would behave differently towards us. Their interest in the rest of the continent was always there.

Some E.U. countries of Eastern Europe that were under the Soviet thumb might think differently. But things have changed now. Europe if becomes truly united, it has no need to fear Russia anymore. Turkey has long standing trade and historical ties with Europe as well, why do we always have to push them away?

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