Interviewee: It is very difficult. I think that one country you didn’t mention was Germany. Angela Merkel has the Christian democratic union which has long been not in favour of Turkish membership and she herself has been quieter than President Sarkozy, but she certainly does not object to him at his statements.
Interviewer: Fanning the flames.
Interviewee: It’s somewhat ironic because Germany has one of the highest Turkish populations.
Interviewer: That’s right.
Interviewee: In fact, the social democrats under Gerhard Schroder came to see this as an important constituency, and were according the Turks and pushing for them to get citizenship and be able to vote just as an American politician will vote for any ethnic interest group, you know.
Interviewer: Right, exactly.
Interviewee: So, there is quite a bit of difference there. It does make it seem an insurmountable task. How can you ever get unanimity among these countries? From what I’ve seen in Europe is the way opinion can swing, not suddenly but it can coalesce around an idea.
Interviewee: I think that what Turkey needs to do and Europe needs to do is to figure out a way to expand their relationship so that the discussion is not always about enlargement and membership. When Turk showed up, and that’s all they want to talk about, Europeans get defensive, EU and Europeans get defensive. When Europeans want to talk about how Turkey is not qualified for membership, Turks get defensive, quite normally.