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Turkey’s relationship with the EU and the US seems to be getting more and more agonised.
Turkey approved the deployment of troops to take part in peacekeeping in Lebanon only after an agonised debate, reminiscent of the the Turkish parliament’s even more heated debate over whether to allow American troops to invade Iraq from Turkish soil. The Turkish government clearly sees the deployment to Lebanon as a means of reasserting its bona fides as a reliable member of the western alliance, and bolstering a troubled bid to join the EU. But Turkish protesters are worried that the deployment could lead to clashes with Hizbollah.
Meanwhile, the atmosphere from the EU side is not getting any more hospitable. Over the weekend Nicolas Sarkozy, the frontrunner for next year’s French presidential elections, gave an interview to Le Figaro magazine, in which he bluntly asserted: “I maintain that Turkey does not belong to the old continent.” If Sarko is elected, that will mean that the leaders of both France and Germany are explicitly opposed to Turkish membership.