The EU's crippled strategy

Published 22.06.2016 00:43
Updated 22.06.2016 09:30

The U.K.'s upcoming referendum on whether the country will exit the EU (Brexit) is certainly a historic turning point in many aspects. This will be the second referendum that the U.K. will hold on its EU membership. In accordance with its election manifesto, the Labour Party had a referendum in 1975 where 67 percent of British people voted to remain in the union. The 1975 referendum came up as a result of a political process and it was not very profound at all, but this time it has emerged as a result of a deep economic crisis. Soon after the G20 Summit in 2014, British Prime Minister David Cameron expressed a thorough criticism of the EU economy, saying that the root cause of the crisis was the eurozone. Underlining that the U.K. would not be a partner to the crisis, Cameron said the eurozone would not overcome the crisis; unemployment would increase and growth would increasingly fall despite the European Central Bank's (ECB) efforts. He argued that a German-centric EU would not be able to adopt an open and expansive perspective and, as a result of this, the eurozone's markets would continuously shrink. The U.K. advised that the EU should make more trade agreements to escape this possibility. At the same time, Cameron brought a new expansion perspective for the European Commission (EU), saying that the EU should sign more trade agreements with Australia, China and India and convince more countries to benefit from absolutely open free markets and free trade.

Indeed, the dispute between Germany and the U.K. over the EU manifested itself in the EC's presidential elections. For this reason, the U.K. directly opposed the candidacy of Jean-Claude Juncker, who was supported by Germany; however, Juncker was elected EC president as Germany wanted. With Juncker's presidency, Germany's strategy completely dominated the EU. As Turkey, we are quite familiar with such a strategy. Indeed, this strategy is based on the idea that the EU excludes countries that are too large for it to swallow and breaks them into small pieces to include and swallow them in due time. Germany and other countries, which followed in Germany's footsteps and created central Europe, tried this strategy firstly in Yugoslavia where it succeeded. As a result of a nearly 20-year period from the early 1990s to the 2000s, Yugoslavia was divided into seven small countries. The EU quickly incorporated some of these countries that had less economic and political problems. Meanwhile, Czechoslovakia, which was one of the most industrialized countries during the Cold War period, was divided into two countries - the Czech Republic and Slovakia - with the former being advanced in basic control industries such as light metal industry, automotive and iron-steel and the latter coming to the fore in strategic sectors such as arms industry and heavy metal working. Germany quickly included Slovakia in the Eurozone and began controlling the heavy industry it had. Germany increasingly reached the position that it wanted to reach before World War II. However, it failed to reach this position. Germany seized both market and production power of the whole of Eastern Europe, which fell into small and weak pieces that it could swallow. Here, the U.K. objected to the rapid "Germanization" process, knowing that this path would indeed intensify the crisis.

Therefore, regardless of what its results will be, the U.K.'s Brexit referendum reveals that the current EU has come to an end. It is likely that the U.K. will remain within the EU. However, this does not mean the EU's current path will continue. The U.K. will remain an EU member; otherwise, its trade union will collapse and it will have major political consequences. For instance, Scotland might bring up the issue of independence again and all trade agreements that have been signed so far, especially those with Ireland, might be suspended. Moreover, the future of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) agreement, which is one U.S. President Barack Obama's biggest projects, might become questionable. Therefore, after a certain point, the U.K.'s secession might be a problem not only for the U.K. itself, but also for the system. Regardless of what the referendum results will be, this week is a time when the current EU has ended. This moribund Europe includes big industrialized countries beyond central Europe merely by disintegrating them and making them peripheries of the center. Moreover, it absolutely closes its doors to Turkey and strives to resolve all deadlocks, including the refugee crisis and energy problems, in line with its own interests alone. It is the representative of a pragmatic understanding that blocks all democratic means and puts them into cold storage when it is in trouble, as we see in France now.

Beyond all this, with the emergence of the refugee crisis, Turkey is aware that Germany has come to say that it would agree with Turkey and include it, however, not with its current state, but through a disintegration strategy like the Balkanization that it pursued in Yugoslavia. We are currently seeing and experiencing the result of this effort.

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