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23 november 2011, angelordevil

As ever, it was quite a sight to see the mall decked out with the pomp of a state visit yesterday, with the turkish president in town, a country I know well from hosting a wonderful group of young lawyers and then in turn being taken around the antechambers of ankara and istanbul, making friendships I still have today (the photo is me with the last turkish president). By the time I was working for europe, accession talks were many years in, but by 2007 they were stalled, mainly over the cyprus issue, and they've now pretty much ground to a halt, even as others like croatia (25 may 2011) are nearing completion. There's a bitter flavour in turkey now, with the desire to join rapidly receding and spilling into a broader narrative about the retreat of the whole eu project, which the last ambassador just called a "spent force". Opposition to Turkish accession was an important part of sarkozy's election campaign, and crystallised broader feelings that "european kinship" didn't cross the bosphorus. I did though, many times, and loved it. I welcome turkey's rise and only hope that if accession isn't going to happen (which is clearly the case) then an accommodation can be found that finds not just begrudging acceptance but wholehearted enthusiasm on both sides, though I'm sure that's many years, many frameworks and many formulations away.

Attached File: turkey1.pdf

Attached File: turkey2.pdf