For example, we can observe some kind of shift within the EU, which is the incarnation of development, modernity, democracy, human rights, peace, secularism and stability. Xenophobia and racism grow stronger there with every passing day, maybe because of the consequences of the economic crisis such as unemployment or maybe because of politicians who prefer to exploit voters’ fears. One of the main objectives of the EU was to establish a system preventing political currents such as racism from causing new tragedies; however, the EU itself has begun to adopt policies and practices that increase racism. Maybe this is an axis shift.
Foreign trade and investment domains may provide another example. EU members have pledged to build foreign trade relationships according to the principles of their common foreign policies, which cherish certain values. So EU countries must bestow privileges on countries that respect human rights and freedoms and do not constitute a threat to its neighbors. This policy also means that countries that violate human rights mustn’t be chosen as trade partners. However, when it comes to money, no one seems to care that much about principles. For example, not long ago, the Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama was warmly greeted in Paris. Later on, French authorities didn’t miss the opportunity to praise the Chinese dissident and human rights activist Liu Xiaobo, who won the Nobel Peace Prize. These gestures have raised eyebrows in China; however, all of these are forgotten when the two countries signed trade agreements worth 16 billion euros. As China plans to double the value of its annual imports from France to 56 billion euros over the next five years, it seems that the Tibet issue and China’s human rights record will no longer be a variable for bilateral relations. Commentators who claim that Turkey’s axis is shifting because it wants to do business with countries like Sudan should also claim that France’s axis is shifting, too.
Participating in political decisions through voting is a basic right in all democratic countries, and the EU system is formulated according to the same principle. No individual citizen can be deprived of his right to vote because of not respecting the law or being unthrifty. For example, people who have lost all their fortune to gambling or people who are convicted of traffic offenses still retain their right to vote, and they keep participating in their countries’ political systems. However, some EU member countries suggest that the voting rights of EU members that haven’t played the game by the rules and that have wasted common funds must be suspended. Is there any EU country that hasn’t violated EU regulations at least once? The problem is that some member countries easily defend sacrificing the EU’s fundamental principles to daily concerns. Maybe this means an axis shift in “European values.”
The EU suggests that the fight against terrorism must be conducted in concert. However, there are reports that the explosive used in the Taksim bombing last week was Austrian-made and that it was brought into Turkey from Bulgaria in a diplomatic vehicle. Does this information mean that some of European values have been altered? Does it mean that the members of the UN, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), the European Council or NATO are drifting away from these organizations’ main principles? Are they subjected to an axis shift? Or maybe there never was an axis, after all.