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Ambassadors, be braver this time!
Friday, December 26 2003 @ 04:33 PM MSK
|Opinion by Mehmet Ali Birand|
An extremely important meeting is being held in Ankara. Turkish ambassadors in all European Union countries, in Washington and Turkish representative to the United Nations are meeting in Ankara.
This meeting will be a platform for discussions that will affect the coming years, the future of the Turkish Republic.
The brightest figures of Turkish diplomacy will convey what they have been hearing and analyzing in the capitals to which they are posted.
What should the strategy be for the Cyprus issue?
What is our situation in regard to our bid to join the European Union, and what should be done to get the go-ahead to start accession talks?
The foreign minister, prime minister and all other decision-makers will listen very carefully to what the ambassadors have to say. They will take notes and, while making decisions, they will be influenced by the ambassadors' analyses.
Such meetings have one serious disadvantage. This problem is excessive caution and a failure to fully understand what one means, a problem common to most of our ambassadors.
Some of them prolong their speeches in order to make sure they have said everything that could be said. The audience, in return, both feels fed up and loses interest. Another group adopts an attitude of "no involvement" in order to avoid facing any accusations in the future. They would never tell the truth.
Repeat what you told us, be brave!
We have a request from our ambassadors on behalf of the entire public: Please be brave. Please clearly explain what you told us in the course of private conversations. Tell the truth to the foreign minister and the prime minister. Do not skirt around the issues because of career-related worries.
People around you know what you are thinking; so do we.
Please don't be afraid.
Don't forget that what you say can change the future of your children and grandchildren. You may regret it in the future.
This country has raised you with its limited resources and now is subsidizing your stay in the capitals that you are currently serving in.
Now it's time for repayment.
Don't disappoint us.
Don't mislead the politicians in government.
Calendar of events for the next 12 months
The period ahead will be full of critical events related to Turkey's EU bid and the Cyprus issue. I have prepared a list for those whom it may concern:
January 28: Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan will meet with U.S. President George W. Bush in the White House.
Issue: Iraq, Cyprus and the EU will be discussed.
February 1 (approximately): Resumption of negotiations in Cyprus
Issue: It will be understood if it's not possible to convince the international public.
March 4: General elections in Greece
Issue: The victory or defeat of Costas Simitis will have an impact on Cyprus and the Aegean talks.
May 1: The Greek Cypriots will join the EU on behalf of the entire island if there is no solution. They will get veto rights.
Issue: Both solution efforts and relations with the EU will be affected.
June 28-29: NATO summit of heads of state and government in Istanbul
Issue: Cyprus and the Aegean issues will be part of the agenda.
July 4: EU summit in Brussels
October 4: The EU Commission will release its last progress report on Turkey before the December summit.
December 4: An EU summit will decide whether or not to start accession talks with Turkey.