ANKARA – It has become a cliché to characterize our era as one of multiple rapid transformations. But 2012 was particularly eventful. Not a single day passed without requiring continuous and concerted attention to economic crises, political and military conflicts, social upheavals, cultural clashes, or environmental problems in some corner of the world.
Turkey’s immediate neighborhood occupied the top spot on the global policy agenda in 2012, and will continue to so in 2013. To our north, Europe is at a crossroads, undergoing a process of creative destruction, with potentially far-reaching ramifications well beyond the confines of the European Union. To our south, an irreversible quest for dignity, freedom, democracy, and peace is altering the region’s political landscape.
Needless to say, economic measures alone cannot end the EU’s ongoing crisis. Europe must redefine itself and identify its mission anew if it wishes to retain its geopolitical weight. The EU must decide whether it represents a community of values or a narrowly defined geographic entity whose exclusionary impulses will eventually erode its global relevance.
As an integral part of Europe with EU membership as a strategic objective, Turkey is not an indifferent bystander; on the contrary, we strive to participate in the current debate by offering our own views and ideas. We believe, for example, that EU integration needs to be wider as well as deeper, thereby maintaining its positive transformative influence in neighboring regions.