Former german FM criticizes EU's Turkey policy
Dismissing recent Western concerns about Turkish foreign policy as exaggerated, former German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer yesterday warned that the West and Europe in particular should stop seeing Turkey as a "subject," and criticized Europe's Turkey policy as pointless and narrow-minded. "Turkey's foreign policy in recent years in no way comes into conflict with Western interests," wrote Fischer in "Who lost Turkey?" a guest op-ed in Spanish daily El Pais. "For centuries, Russia, Iran and Turkey have been regional rivals, but never allies. However, the political blindness of Europe pretends not to see this fact." Arguing that Turkey voting against new sanctions against Iran on the UN Security Council shows how far Turkey has steered away from the West, Fischer added, "Europe doesn't have the luxury to offend Turkey." Europe's security in the 21st century will be determined in Europe's southeast, where Turkey plays a critical role, he also said. In related news, speaking to reporters in Brussels yesterday prior to a key meeting between high-level Turkish and EU officials set for Istanbul today, EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said Turkey has started to pursue a more influential foreign policy in recent years, adding that the EU welcomes Turkey's rising importance in its region. EU and Turkish officials will discuss ways to strengthen cooperation between Turkey and the EU in the region, she added.