jeff sommers writes:

Obituary For An ATOL Contributor

Andre Gunder Frank (1929–2005)

Jeff Sommers, Asia Times OnLine

Editor's note: In January this year, Andre Gunder Frank submitted to Asia Times Online a lively and insightful two-part report on the dwindling economic influence of the United States under neo-conservative excesses. It was published under the title The Naked Hegemon, and was an immediate hit with our readers. They — and we — yearned for more, but tragically Frank's long battle with cancer was taking its toll, and a long-term acquaintance between him and ATol was not to be.

Among academic activists I know, the two names most frequently cited for inspiring us to pursue our work are Noam Chomsky and Andre Gunder Frank. Last weekend we lost one them — Andre Gunder Frank. Gunder must have put literally thousands on that path, who in turn reached perhaps millions of students in some fashion.

Fantasies and Ultimatums: Turkey and the EU
Ali Tonak
January 31, 2005

On December 17, 2004 Turkey's long-awaited dream took a critical
turning point. After 41 years of tease, the European Union winked and
offered a date for initiating membership negotiations. This
relationship, and the Turkish ambition to join the European Union,
dates back to September 1963 when the European Common Market, the
pre-cursor to the European Union, and Turkey signed the Ankara
Agreement. Since then, Turkey has witnessed three military coups (two
proper ones in 1971 and 1980 and a "post-modern coup" in 1997), four
devaluations of its extremely unstable currency and a 15 year civil war
costing the Turkish Government more then $120 billion and claiming the
lives of more then 30,000 people (mostly Kurds).

The news of the increased possibility that Turkey might join the EU
made news around the world and raised predictable and mildly boring
questions such as: is this the antithesis of "the clash of
civilizations" or does this mean that Turkey will now recognize Cyprus?
But what are the real issues involved in Turkey's entry into the EU
that are being carefully tucked away?


Is Europe a compassionate, multilateral and self-determining entity
that strategically sets itself against an aggressive, unilateral and
imperialist US? Not necessarily. Europe has participated in a number of
recent battles, ranging from the First Gulf War to the bombing of
Yugoslavia, not to mention its complicity in the UN sanctions on Iraq
that have killed upwards of 1.5 million Iraqis, now forgotten in
history. Italy, Poland and Spain have all contributed symbolically and
Britain significantly to the most recent invasion and occupation of
Iraq, reaffirming their commitment to US imperialism. While seemingly
anti-war, both France and Germany have refused to take a firm stance
against the invasion within the narrow confines of the UN.

Europe does take up a counter-position to the U.S. but it isn't one of
peace against war. Rather, European policymakers want to regain their
historic position of domination within the economic realm against the
United States. This strategy is ultimately one of neo-liberalism.


The European Union was conceived as a neo-liberal project and this has
framed the conditions of Turkey's entrance. Part of the Ankara
Agreement was geared towards entrance into the European Customs Union
(January 1, 1996) before entering into the Union proper. The Customs
Union, like other free trade zones, removes tariffs and other so-called
trade barriers, privatizes state run industries and makes labor markets

Economic prosperity, stemming from capital inflow, is one of the shams
designed to sell the EU to Turkish citizens. Any capital inflow takes
the form of portfolio investment for speculation rather than of direct
productive investment and as such intensifies the fragility of the
Turkish financial structure. Some supporters of the Customs Union and
the EU argue that -- unlike western hemispheric free trade agreements
(NAFTA, FTAA, CAFTA)-- the EU also guarantees free movement of
individuals and not just resources and commodities. Currently, this
principle is only talk.

"Freedom of movement" is the primary concern EU countries have over
accepting Turkey into the EU, since ultimately it means a greater
work-force for a limited number of desirable jobs. This concern is also
why a 7-year waiting period was imposed on the 10 countries who joined
the EU last May. The potential for complete "freedom of movement" is
bleaker for Turkey, due to a huge youth population ready for work (25
million under 15), the large number of Turkish immigrants already in
the EU (3.2 million), who would instantaneously become European
citizens, and also the rise of xenophobic nationalist politicians such
as Le Pen in France and Haider in Austria. With the hypothetical
entrance year of 2014 and a 7-year waiting period, the earliest date
for work-force movement would be 2021. (A previous date for "freedom of
movement" of December 1, 1986 was agreed upon in the Ankara Agreement).
Until at least 2021, and presumably later, capital will flow in and out
of Turkey while people will be kept behind borders.

The talk of the impending EU membership is already pushing more
neo-liberal policies on Turkey. On January 3, 2005 the EU announced its
disapproval of generic medicine produced in Turkey. A week later on
January 11, another ultimatum was issued: Turkey wasn't fulfilling its
promise to import 21.5 tons of meat per year from EU countries. Turkish
officials argue that this is due to the threat of Mad Cow disease, a
reasonable concern. Another, just as reasonable concern, is the
undermining of the significantly large animal husbandry in Turkey. Now
that Turkey stands on the threshold of full membership, the European
Commission has a much greater pull on Turkey's policy-making and the
ultimatums appear in rapid-fire succession.

Unfortunately, constraints imposed by globalized capitalism and
competition are slowly dismantling the European economics of social
democracy. In this respect, it can be said that the European Union is
becoming less European. This is happening from inside and outside of
Europe. World Trade Organization rulings, such as the one against the
preferential treatment European countries gave to former colonies,
exemplify the external influences.

Internally, European lobbies for capital, such as the European
Roundtable of Industrialists (ERT), form the European Commission's
major influence. In April 2000, at a meeting of the Trilateral
Commission in Tokyo, ERT member Baron Daniel Jannssen (head of Belgian
chemical firm Solvay) illuminated the interaction between the Round
Table and the Commission, stating: "The Commission plays the lead role
in many areas of economic importance and it is extremely open to the
business community, so that when businessmen like me face an issue that
needs political input, we have access to excellent Commissioners."

Military Might?

The key to why there is a European push towards including Turkey into
the EU is the military power that Turkey possesses. With 650,000
members, Turkey's military is the second largest armed force in NATO
after the US. The size of Turkey's army is a direct product of
long-lasting US military aid due to Turkey's shared border with the
former USSR. The geopolitical (mis)fortune has been continued in 21st
century in which Turkey is now seen as the gateway to Southwest Asia,
bordering Iraq. One thing that has remained constant in the past 50
years is the importance the Turkish geography has played for US
imperialism, from the chilling Cold War to the burning War on Terror.

A European Commission report concerning the advantages and
disadvantages of Turkey's inclusion into the club stated that "with its
expansive army it will be able to contribute to the EU's security and
defense policy." (Radikal, October 1, 2004). Last year, Spanish
Newspaper ABC asked the EU's High Representative for Foreign Affairs,
Javier Solana: "Is there a place for Turkey in the EU?" Solana
responded: "We need Turkey for our security" (Cumhuriyet, October 18,
2004). Incidentally, Solana is NATO's former Secretary General.

While affirming that all military institutions are rooted in oppression
of both populations and their members, the Turkish military is not the
conventional army and could compete with Israel in its ferocity, dirty
tactics and complete disregard for human rights. It has gained a
significant expertise in organizing counter-insurgency groups,
torturing and eliminating resistance movements within the geography of
the Middle East. This experience is worth great value in the years to
come. And if one theory around the war on Iraq is true, that the
control over Middle Eastern resources is in fact about impacting the
European economy, then Turkey is the trophy nation state.

Richard Boucher, then spokesperson for the State Department, said on
october 9, 2002 "Because we're not a member, we have no formal role in
determining the European Union's relations with third countries. We've
long believed, however, that Turkey's future is in Europe; it's in the
strategic interest of the United States and the European Union, of
Turkey and the European Union, that Turkey and the European Union build
the closest possible relationship." The neo-cons in the US are
calculating another state to add to their obedient, well-behaved and
"new" Europe to contribute to the rift they have created. And the EU is
accepting another Trojan Horse because it has the foresight to see that
the control over Turkey will be an important battle in the years to

Human Rights the Wrong Way

The Turkish left has two main prevailing analyses of the EU debate. The
first is an acceptance of Turkey's ambitions to gain EU membership with
fingers crossed, hoping for the best. This position posits the
existence of a Europe different than defined by the neo-liberals: that
while capital calls the shots there is a historical tradition of
socialism rooted in society, from revolutionary thinkers to trade
unions, and that solidarity within the European working class is the
strategy to pursue. It is hard not to agree with this line of thinking
but while there is more than one "Europe" there is only one EU; the one
outlined above. The Turkish left is at a strategic junction where it
will either choose to become obsolete or actively partake in European
constructs such as the European Social Forum (ESF) and others who are
actively working to define another Europe. The ESF and the Europe of
working class solidarity and struggle does not require the EU, in fact
requires the elimination of it.

The second is a flat out rejection of Turkey's ambitions.

Yet why is there such broad support for the EU within Turkey? According
both to private and to state-run surveys, support for entering the EU
is between 70% and 80%. One factor which I will not go into much detail
is an underlining longing and inferiority complex within Turkish
society to become more "European" i.e. "modern" and sophisticated. The
origins of this go to the formation of the Turkish Republic in 1923,
when the multi-culturality of the Republic's geography was rejected by
the revolutionary cadre and a white Europeanness was imposed. Another
reason for such strong support is that the same public that despises
the IMF and its policies has been delicately shielded from the EU's
neo-liberalism. Yet a much more concrete reason for broad support also

The first pro-EU rally was held in Diyarbakir, regarded as the capital
of Kurdistan. Thousands of Kurds converged from around southeastern
Turkey to say "Yes to Differences! No to Discrimination!" There is such
a deep longing for certain rights in Turkey, namely freedom of speech,
freedom from state terror, freedom to assert your ethnic identity, that
this longing has overshadowed all other aspects of the EU. And to give
credit to where it is due, pressure from EU authorities has resulted in
the abolishment of the death penalty, the freedom of Kurds to speak and
communicate in Kurdish, and a reformed and more humane criminal code.
These are all crucial for a democratic and free society, but they need
to be rooted in social struggle not in European bureaucratic

A conceivable scenario is a complete backfire resulting from years of
partial acceptances, no freedom of travel and work in Europe and no
full membership leading to an impulsive anti-EU backlash, a complete
reversal of all reforms made and increased state repression in Turkey.
*Turkey has had a military presence in Northern Cyprus since 1974 when
it invaded the island in response to a military coup initiated by a
Greek military junta, effectively creating two separated populations.
Since Cyprus was initiated into the EU with nine other countries last
May, Turkey now faces the challenge of internationally recognizing the
southern portion of the island.

Ali Tonak can be reached at:

Main sources for this article were:

Emrah Göker, "How the we get into a different "Europe" Gelecek,
Worker's Struggle (,

Susan George, Another World is Possible If...

Andy Storey "The European Project: Dismantling Social Democracy,
Globalising Neoliberalism"

Issues of Turkish newspapers Cumhuriyet, Birgun, and Radikal.

"China and the U.S.: Competing Geopolitical Strategies"

by Immanuel Wallerstein

Ever since Richard Nixon went to China on Feb. 21, 1972 to visit Mao
Zedong, the world's geopolitical alignments have never been the same. The
meeting represented a spectacular shift in geopolitical hostilities of the
post-1945 period. The major consequence was that China and the United
States ceased to act as though each were the other's primary enemy, and
acted as though each were a potential collaborator of the other on the
world scene - collaborator, which is less than an ally. Each has been
careful to do nothing that would allow for a return to the pre-1972 period
which had seen open warfare in Korea and unlimited rhetorical harangue
across the world. This cautious, even wary, relationship has continued
unabated up to today and has survived intact even during the era of U.S.
neo-conservative aggressive foreign policy under George W. Bush.

"China's Rising Reserves Are a Growing Problem:
Beijing May Be Wasting the Fortune It So Quickly Amassed"
Mark O'Neill, China Study Group

If China were to distribute its foreign exchange reserves to its 88 million poorest citizens, each would receive the equivalent of 78 years of their annual income of 625 yuan.

That astonishing statistic illustrates both the success and failure of how China has within two short years built up the biggest reserves in the world, second only to Japan.

At the end of September, forex reserves excluding gold stood at US$ 514.5 billion, triple the US$ 165.6 billion at the end of 2000 and more than double the US$ 212.2 billion at the end of 2001. They are likely to reach US$ 700 billion by the end of next year.

Siv writes

The first public conference of the New Energy Movement (NEM) will be in Portland, Oregon. The venue is Reed College 9 a.m. – 8 p.m. on September 25th, and Portland State University auditorium from 1 p.m. on September 26th.

Confirmed Speakers:

Martin Burger

Mark Comings

Nick Cook

John Dash

Dr. Steven Greer

Win Lambertson

Jeane Manning

Brian O'Leary

Tom Valone

William Baumgartner

Peter LaVaute
...and others

For conference details go to

GlobalZees is hosting a rideboard here.

Anonymous Comrade writes Reclaim the streets is being held june 8th to coinside with the g8 summit. It will be located in Huntington West Virginia at the 9th. street plaza at 2p. If not sure how to find it ask for the public library and it will be there. Bring music, and friends.

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