By Morteza Raissi, an IPS Editor
BONN 7th JAN. (IPS) Humiliatingly snubbed by the European Union (EU), estranged by the Arab and Islamic world, particularly by its two main neighbours and rivals, Iran and Syria, because of its growing military, security and economic co-operation with Israel, with no prospect to get "compensation backing" from the United States nor Russia, Turkey is set to become a "time bomb" if nothing is done to help Turkey to come out of the dangerous solitude the EU has plunged it.
And as this "thorny situation" was not enough, the recent flight of thousands of Kurdish refugee seekers, most of them from Turkey and Iraq, coupled with the deep wounds opened in the relations between Ankara and the EU after the 15 member organisation refused to accept Turkish membership, has not only added "insult to injury" but makes out this nation of 65 million "ultra-nationalists" one of the West's major trouble during the new year of 1998.
Although Greece has for sometime blocked Turkish entry into the Union, but Germany is the main force stopping Ankara's full membership as, in adopting a clear policy towards Turkey, Bonn always take into consideration three important factors: There are more than 500.000 Kurds in Germany; More than 2 millions Turks have been absorbed in the German market; there are more than 2000 mosques and prier places all over Germany with Turkish Islamic associations and groups firmly controlling the 7 millions of Muslim living in this country.
Well aware of these naked realities, the government of Mr Mesut Yilmas showed some degree of understanding. However, by lowering the level of Ankara's expectations from Europe, he was nevertheless hoping that the EU would at least fix a date for the Turkish candidacy.
German Foreign Ministry is adamant to officially comment on a document published recently by the influential "Der Spigel" magazine revealing that in secret paper submitted to other members of the Union, Bonn had urged them to withdraw the issue of Turkish membership in the EU as to avoid giving the Turks false hopes about their possible joining the organisation.
On the surface, German official explain that giving any assurance to the Turks that sooner or latter their demand for joining the EU will be examined rises "expectations" in Ankara which are not attainable and as a result, the already tense relations between Ankara and the EU will suffer even more.
It is not therefore pure coincidence that the EU's leaders, in their last session held in mid December, suspended any decision concerning the Turkish demand, the final communiqué saying only that the Council "shall examine" the request, without further precision.
"The Europeans have used our application for full membership as a mean of leverage. Now, this is finished. Nobody should think that Turkey will be forced to accept some unacceptable formula just because we don't want to be left out of Europe", Mr Yilmaz said in interviews.
In a meeting with a selected number of journalists, Herr Klaus Kinkel, the German Foreign Minister explained that EU did offered Turkey a "comprehensive proposal". However, he did not hide Germany's "doubts and fears" on giving the Turks the same conditions as offered to other former East Europeans to join the EU.
This is exactly what has angered Ankara and although the Turkish government has backed off from its previous threat to veto future expansion of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO), but at the same has flatly rejected an invitation to attend the ministerial meetings of the organisation.
The last communiqué issued recently in Bonn by both Herr Kinkel and Herr Manfred Kanther, the Interior Minister on the problem of Kurdish refugee seekers shows well that the German-Turkish relations have, for the first time, received a severe and serious blow. "The exodus of Kurds is a problem that must be solved in Turkey", said Mr Kanther and for the Foreign Minister, if human rights were respected in Turkey, there would be no exodus. "The Kurdish problem is essentially a political as well as a humanitarian and a minority one and must be dealt with accordingly, including by taking stern economic, social and cultural measures", he says.
This is another subject of bitter contention in relations between Turkey with Germany, Italy and the rest of the EU, for, viewed from Ankara, all those who pretends that the problem of the Kurds is a humanitarian one are going to "harvest a storm", as Turkey does not agree that it is mainly the situation in Northern Iraq and the fact the Kurds in Turkey are not recognised as a separate ethnic minority is pushing them to seek refuge in the European paradise.
In fact, the Turks are, particularly at these peculiar circumstances, more worried for their already tarnished image in international public opinion than the sort, or the rights of the Kurds. In a letter his Italian counterpart, Signore Lamberto Dini the Turkish Foreign Minister, Ismail Cem said that to present the present flood of the Kurdish refugees as a "romanticised human rights problem" encourages those who organise illegal immigration.
Analysts and experts in Europe are considering whether the Turkish government, "burning with a sincere desire to punish" the Europeans, particularly the German for having so humiliatingly rejected them, have no opened deliberately the lid for the Kurds to leave for Europe?
Reports that more than 20.000 Kurds are waiting to leave Turkey for safe heaven in Europe, particularly for Germany, Holland, the Scandinavia and France where they have families tend to confirm this view.
"It is also a way to export to Europe, particularly to Germany the Kurdish problem, a way to tell the Europeans since you like so much the Kurds, please, help yourself", notes Mr Kendal Nezan, the Director of the Kurdish Institute of Paris 719815
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