STA, 11 September 2019 - A group of 28 Slovenian scholars has urged President Borut Pahor to resign for his recent statement suggesting that Turkey and Ukraine should not count on full-fledged EU membership. Should he fail to do so, parliament should impeach him.
At the Bled Strategic Forum (BSF) last week, Pahor made "an inappropriate, unreasonable and xenophobic statement, a statement that is extremely harmful for Slovenia politically and diplomatically", the group writes in the open letter.
By making such statements, Pahor contributes to Slovenia's foreign policy's credibility being further undermined, says the group, featuring Slavko Splichal, Boris Vezjak, Svetlana Slapšak, Niko Toš, Maca Jogan, Vlado Miheljak and Rudi Rizman.
"I would make a difference between Western Balkans on one side and Turkey and Ukraine on the other side. I would go with a special status as far as Turkey and Ukraine are concerned and full membership as far as countries in Western Balkans are concerned," Pahor told the BSF.
Responding to the appeal, Pahor's office said the stance on a special status of Turkey and Ukraine within the EU had been known at home and abroad for several years.
During Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's 2015 visit to Slovenia, Pahor said that "given how slow the negotiating process is, it would also be worth thinking about a sui generis status. But as long as EU law does not envisage such a status, Slovenia will advocate Turkey's EU membership," the office said.
It explained that such a stance is an attempt to find a solution to the slow pace, unclarity and absorption incapacity on the part of the EU in the enlargement process, particularly in relation to large countries.
Pahor has excellent relations with Turkish and Ukrainian leaders exactly because he is politically in favour of the two countries, which has however sometimes earned him even criticism in Slovenia, according to his office.
The intellectuals, however, believe such views could also be a reason why Slovenia has not been assigned the enlargement portfolio in the new European Commission.
Pahor's statement does not only deny his previously expressed support for Turkey's EU prospects, it also considerably exceeds "his presidential powers", the says.
He has once again proved to be a completely untrustworthy politician who cannot enjoy the trust of Slovenian citizens or European and international partners.
The group also believes that every European country meeting EU membership criteria deserves to join the EU.
It notes that closing the EU door encourages a rise in authoritarianism in the countries which lose the prospect of joining the bloc.
Pahor is also accused of bypassing the declaration and strategy on Slovenia's foreign policy, which were passed in parliament and which Slovenia's political representatives are bound to respect.
He is moreover accused of neglecting the document on Slovenia-Turkey strategic partnership which he signed with Turkish President Erdogan in 2011.
"As many times before, Pahor showed that instead of serving ... in a responsible, respectful and dignified way, he opted for populism modelled on Trump, Johnson or Salvini."
By making this statement, Pahor not only degraded the office of the president yet again but directly jeopardised the security and welfare of Slovenia and its citizens.
"This is the reason for which he should irrevocably resign as president of the republic.
"If his sense of responsibility lets him down again, the National Assembly must launch a constitutional impeachment against him, because in doing his job, he overstepped his powers from Article 107 of the Slovenian Constitution," the letter says.
Pahor's office also said that at the BSF, the Turkish foreign minister told Pahor that Erdogan would wish to visit Slovenia soon.
At a recent brief meeting in Warsaw, Pahor and new Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky also agreed to meet soon.
"So it is possible that both Erdogan and Zelensky will pay official visits to Slovenia at the end of this year or at the beginning of 2020," the office announced.