Europe's schizophrenia keeps Turkey out

Category: World Affairs Topics: Europe, European Union, Turkey Views: 1486

The Turks are in a quandary . They desperately want to be a part of the European scene but a large segment of the European political system doubts whether Turkey can fit into Europe's mosaic. The Turkish press always jumps for joy whenever any European, major or minor, gives encouraging signs for admitting Turkey to the European Union. What excites many in Turkey even more are statements by European leaders acknowledging Turkey's right to join the European Union. Hence the jubilation on hearing Dutch Foreign minister Hans Van Mierlo say, "Turkey has a European future".

The Turks have been troubled by mixed signals. The anti-Turk lobby moved by its obsession with "human rights violations," has objected to Turkey's membership in the European Union. Then of course there is the Greek lobby which does not want Europe to have any thing at all to do with Turkey. And of course there are those who fear Turkey's Islamic roots.

Alarm bells are ringing in Europe these days because of Erbekan's government. In some quarters, it is perceived as drawing Turkey away from Europe and into the Islamic camp. The religious fervor in Turkey plus a call by a large number of Turks wanting a return to the country's Islamic roots is causing alarm and consternation.

The European Christian Democrats expressed their reservations and revealed their prejudices, both ethnic and religious, by rejecting a Turkish move into Europe.

Wilfred Martens, the former prime minister of Belgium, speaking in racist tones, dashed outright any Turkish hopes of practical support when he stated categorically "Turkey is not a candidate to become a member of the EU". He was echoing German as well as Spanish voices and was focusing on a European identity and civilization.

However much the Europeans may deny it, the fact remains that because of Turkey's ethnic and religious affiliation, its chances of entering the European Union are far less than Zimbabwe's.

The fact that countries like Bulgaria and Romania, perceived for decades as part of the "Evil Empire", are now being welcomed as Europeans reveals the schizophrenia of modern European political thought. 

The Turks, however, have begun their drive for membership, citing their role in NATO. It has, unfortunately, done little for them. Even the United States cannot help. The EU is now planning the inclusion of ten countries, mainly from eastern Europe, and to Turkey's frustration, it is once again being left out.

Excuses offered by the Europeans are many. They include violations of human rights, the rise of religious extremism, army interference in political and economic life and a host of others. 

The argument that an Islamist prime minister is at the helm of affairs does not stand up to inspection . All previous Turkish governments had the EU door slammed in their faces and they were the ones who rejected Turkey's Islamic roots and yearned for entry into the European club.

This is a clear indication of European prejudice . 

The Turks should now look elsewhere for comfort .


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  1 Comment   Comment

  1. Joe from Norway

    Being European and [nominally] Christian I can't say that agree with the allegations of racism/religious intolerance when it comes to Turkey and EU membership. People of Turkish descent are already numerous in Europe. There are millions in Germany alone. They were invited to come work here a few decades ago. Since then they've become ordinary citizens - not a novelty at all. So the prospect of them joining is hardly inconceivable. However the purely economical aspects of a poor Turkey joining the wealthy EU is another. Turkey was not in a position to join the EU at this time - a fact you seem to forget. The very best they could get at this point was a date for membership talks. Something they did get. If Turkey manages to actually implement the 80.000 pages of EU law required. Not to mention bringing their economy, and especially their unsalvageable currency, to European levels on equal footing with all the other members. Only then can they truly expect to be taken seriously. With 75 million people from poorer Eastern European nations joining the EU in 2004, accommodating an additional 70 million Turks is not viable for many years to come. Especially with the low wages and high unemployment the Turkish people "enjoy" today.