A new EU vision is needed

Published 20.11.2015 02:03

The recent terrorist attacks in Paris point to the fact that the EU, as well as the Middle East, is facing a multi-dimensional problem. The EU is regressing not only in terms of economy, but also security, and moving rapidly toward a multi-dimensional crisis. Russian political scientist Sergey Karaganov's article titled "A Eurasian Solution for Europe's Crises," which was published in the Turkish edition of Le Monde Diplomatique magazine, includes interesting arguments that shed light on the matter. He says, "Russia is drifting away from a Eurocentric cultural and economic course toward a Eurasian alternative." This is significant, as Russia has faced Europe since Russian Tsar, Peter the Great, established Saint Petersburg in 1703 and turned the city into the center of Russia's integration and renaissance that emulated Europe.

Saint Petersburg gave birth to all of Russia's most constructive leaders over the past three centuries, including Vladimir Lenin. Russia's contention with the Ottoman Empire was because of its aim to access Europe, the European markets and trade routes that reached Europe and its markets.

Following World War II, the Soviet Union reconstructed Eastern Europe and gave it back to Europe with its industry and infrastructure. Until very recently, President Vladimir Putin's Russia was a partner with Germany in energy. Nowadays, however, just as Karaganov argues, this history is coming to an end, which signifies a major breakaway from the politics of the past. During the last G20 summit in Turkey, Putin said the West and Europe must restructure debts and observe the interests of developing countries and Russia as well. He implied that the West unknowingly supports DAESH terror. Russia has turned up its criticism of the West across almost all of its platforms and has deliberately escalated the frostiness between itself and the EU. This means Russia needs the European markets and economic power less than before and has revoked its previous Euro-centric objective. From my standpoint, this is a dangerous situation worth stressing, not for Russia but for the EU, which is still dependent on Russian energy.

Karaganov also suggests that two new geopolitical macro-blocs will determine the 21st century and says, "One centers on the U.S. and its ambition to conclude the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). The second macro-bloc is "Greater Eurasia," featuring China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Iran, and possibly India." And further, we can consider the south, countries in Latin America, who started to act partially independent from the U.S., and the Pacific region, countries like Japan and South Korea, as a third bloc. Karaganov does not include Europe in his classification; however, he argues that these blocs partially play a role in the disintegration of Europe. Europe is weakening in terms of economy and security, which accompanies political weakness. Since the early 1990s, which correspond to the fall of the Berlin Wall and the dramatic disbanding of the Soviet Union, Europe has failed to produce any solutions to various humanitarian, economic and political issues.

I do not know whether France deserves the U.S. media's ridiculous criticism that the French army did not do what it had done on June 14, 1940 and protected Paris for the first time in its history, following the recent terrorist attacks. However, what I know for certain is that the EU, including France, is in a quandary in the face of DAESH whose actions it cannot make out, just as it could not imagine what Adolf Hitler and the Nazis would do between 1933 and 1944.

My impression of the G20 Antalya summit is that the EU still cannot fathom the economic and political crisis that it is currently going through. And so, it fails to make out dynamics in Turkey, the Middle East and Eurasia. Europe still considers the refugee crisis to be a case where unemployed and helpless people ask for mercy from it and thinks that it can overcome this question by donating several billion euros to Turkey, which already hosts millions of refugees. Indeed, this is a European question and Europe cannot resolve it through bargaining in a manner similar to the way that Venetian merchants and Galata bankers drove at the Ottoman Empire in the past. What is more, Turkey will not be engaged in such a bargain. Unlike Europe, Turkey regards the refugee crisis as a humanitarian issue that can be handled through a true and human-centric political perspective.

As I noted in my previous article, Europe must acknowledge that terrorism in Paris is a boomerang effect, as voiced by German political theorist Hannah Arendt, and its resolution requires human-centric economic policies.

Let us revisit Karaganov's geopolitical macro blocs. Turkey is poised to become one of the founding countries of the new world thanks to its geopolitical position and its increasing power. Turkey is of key importance for the Eurasian Union and a new EU as the old EU, or more precisely old EU understanding, has come to an end. The old understanding has already failed as it considers the EU merely a sphere of a few wealthy countries and other countries in need of the wealthy ones. A new EU will be established with a new understanding and expansion perspective that pays regard to Turkey, the Middle East, the Eurasian region and North Africa. As Victor Hugo dreamed, the new Europe must be a union that will politicize not conflict, but integration and peace. This is the sole way to overcome terror and the poverty that gives rise to it. This requires a completely new EU vision.

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