By Francesca Astorri

Peninsula On-line
Feb 1 2012

Doha: Egemen Bagis, the Turkish Minister for the EU Affairs and Chief
Negotiator, explained the latest developments of Turkey's relationship
with the European Union and its wider implications in a conference
organised yesterday by the Brookings Doha Center.

"Today Turkey is democratic, wealthy and transparent thanks to EU
reforms," said Bagis. "The process to get the EU membership is more
important than the end result," he added.

Turkey-EU is a 52 year relation, but when analysing Turkey's possible
EU membership the obstacles seem to be too many and too difficult
to overcome. Nearly 80 million Muslims: the problem is not that they
are Muslims because the European Union is not a Christian club, but
a political union, but the problem is that they are 80 million and
that they will have a huge weight in the European Parliament .

The border with Iraq: European countries will never want to expose
themselves to the possible immigration problems related to the
proximity, nor to the threats that come from the instable and violent
situation in Iraq. The furthest, the better.

Turkey is also responsible of the last wall existing in Europe: the
one dividing Cyprus. This issue has to be solved if Turkey wants its
membership to be approved.

The non-recognition of the responsibility of the Armenian genocide:
France has recently enforced a law that makes illegal to deny the
occurrence of the Armenian genocide perpetrated by the Turks.

"What happened in 1915 can't be classified as genocide as far as
I'm concerned, but I was not around in 1915," said Bagis when asked
Turkey's position on the issue.

"I'm a politician, my job is to determine the future, not the past,"
he added, leaving the crowd perplexed as the events are well documented
while Aljazeera did a touching documentary on the Armenian genocide.

Europe had to deal with one of the most shameful genocides in the
world's history, but no European country has ever tried to deny its
responsibility: the perpetrators were processed and condemned by the
Nuremberg's court with which the continent established the justice
necessary to expiate its guilt. Genocide is not acceptable in Europe
and the fact that the Turkish government is still denying it makes
the EU membership impossible for Turkey.

There are some elements on the Turkish side that make its membership
still appealing to the EU: Turkey is a fast growing economy, has
a young population and energetic resources. Three things that the
European countries need desperately right now, but apparently not
desperately enough to convince them to overcome the issues that we
have just analysed against the Turkish membership.

Concluding, Bagis attributed the name "Europa" to a Turkish origin,
when all Europeans know that "Europa" was one of the lovers of Zeus,
a god of the ancient Greek mythology, as also the Ambassador of
Greece to Qatar, Helen-Elsa Zorbala, who attended the conference
told The Peninsula. You need to know the history of the continent,
before pretending to be part of it.