Turkey In Europe
Turkey eats from three different baskets, depending on whether it invokes its geographical position in Asia, its religious character or its European component. The peoples of Europe do not seem to regard Turkey as a European country. The general expectation is that if the governments of the European Union member states were to put it to a vote in a referendum the people of Europe would reject the admission of Turkey to the EU.
What worries ordinary Europeans most, however, is that the 80 million potential additional EU citizens are Muslims. Does it serve the interests of the West if the largest member state of the EU is an Islamic country?
According to Pierre Lellouche, a parliamentarian of France’s governing party whom President Sarkozy has given the task of “re-launching Franco-Turkish relations,” Islamism will be defeated by bringing Turkey into Europe. “We have next door to us, a great secular Muslim country that wants to share our values. It is making the necessary reforms. We would be crazy to say no,” Mr. Lellouche says.
Or is it Europe that will be defeated?
Geographically Turkey is not a European state, apart from the tiny northwestern edge of the country. Last October, however, Turkey was elected for a two-year term in the United Nations Security Council by winning one of the two non-permanent seats set aside for European countries. While the other candidate, Austria, barely won the required two-thirds majority, Turkey won its seat hands down. In the UN, Turkey belongs to the regional group of the Western European and Others Group (WEOG).
Turkey, however, is a special case in the United Nations. It is the only country that participates as a full member in two regional groups. As it geographically belongs to Asia, Turkey is also a member of the Group of Asian States. And as an Islamic country Turkey is also a member - and a prominent one - of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) which includes all Islamic states from Senegal to Indonesia and which is also recognized by the UN.
Four years ago, Brussels and Ankara started negotiations intended to lead to Turkey becoming an EU member. The issue is highly controversial because the economic and institutional consequences of Turkey’s admission will be far-reaching for the EU.
To raise Turkey to a European standard of living would require enormous and sustained efforts of wealth redistribution from the European taxpayers, which would impoverish Europe without a guarantee of success in Turkey. Moreover, if Turkey joins the EU, an additional 80 million people become EU citizens. As an EU member, Turkey will be the most populous member with the highest number of representatives in the European Parliament. In the European Council it will be on a par with the present Big Ones. Its foreign interests will dominate Europe’s. Turkey is too big for Europe to swallow.
Some believe that Turkish EU membership will turn the country into a democratic state and an example for other Muslim nations, and hence prove that Islam and democracy can be reconciled. But what if they are wrong? Many ordinary Europeans would rather play safe. However, that is not the attitude of the political establishment.
There are strong indications that the EU establishment in Brussels already considers http://galliawatch.blogspot.com/2008/11/un-de-ni-able.html Turkey to be a member of the European club in all but name. Turkish ministers are already allowed to participate in EU deliberations.
He is, however, opposed to putting the matter of Turkey’s EU admission before the French electorate in a referendum because this is “to pollute the debate” with the fear of Islam. “Some play around with the fear factor: that is unworthy. Turkey is not Islamism or terrorism. Because of the fear of Islam and of Arabs, we are saying no for the wrong reasons.”
The question, however, is whether those who say yes to Turkey are not doing so for the wrong reason, namely to prove their point that Islam and democracy are compatible.
Why is it that, after 13 centuries of preserving European identity by opposing Muslim attempts to conquer Europe, some claim that Europe can only preserve its identity, its values and its freedoms by opening its doors to Turkey? Why can Turkey not remain free and democratic and “share our values” without becoming European? Is representative democracy only possible in Europe? Is secularism Europe’s only defining element?
Does it serve the interests of democracy and the West that the largest member state of the EU is an Islamic country, when ordinary Europeans oppose it? If so, why should it not serve the interests of democracy and the West that Mexico becomes the largest member state of the USA? Does the religion of the Turks - even those of the secularized Muslims - matter to ordinary Europeans? Yes, it does. It matters as much as the language of the Hispanics matters to ordinary Americans. Only politicians intent on changing the nature of the peoples they were elected to represent do not care about such things.
Comment on this item
by Alan M. Dershowitz
by Louis René Beres
Jihadi violence serves not only to advance the terrorist's delusion of immortality, but also to add, however perversely, an apparent and desperately needed erotic satisfaction, using religion as the justification.
Persuasive promises of immortality -- the desperate hope to live forever -- underlie virtually all major religions.
Washington and Jerusalem should finally address what needs to be done in addition to military remediation -- reinforcing efforts to convince these terrorists that their expected martyrdom is ultimately just an elaborate fiction.
by Gill Gillespie and Shabnam Assadollahi
The aim of the current Iranian regime is clearly to acquire a nuclear weapons capability and to retain as much territory in Iraq as possible under Shia Islamist rule, whatever the human cost. Those aims are also the reason Iran's regime is now trying to intervene in Iraq.
Iran will doubtless be demanding that any cooperation with the West be compensated for by "concessions" permitting its nuclear weapons program.
Involving Iran in Iraq at this point will merely alienate any Sunni allies whose assistance is much needed to defeat IS.
Many people inside Iran have alerted the U.S. Administration for over two years about other industrial facilities being secretly built in Iran and not declared to the International Atomic Energy. So far, all intelligence from within Iran has been wilfully ignored by the Obama Administration.
by Burak Bekdil
The Turkish government "frankly worked" with the al-Nusrah Front, the al-Qaeda affiliate in Syria, along with other terrorist groups.
The Financial Task Force, an international body setting the standards for combating terrorist financing, ruled that Turkey should remain in its "gray list."
While NATO wishes to reinforce its outreach to democracies such as Australia and Japan, Turkey is trying to forge wider partnerships with the Arab world, Russia, China, Central Asia, China, Africa and -- and with a bunch of terrorist organizations, including Hamas, Muslim Brotherhood, Ahrar al-Sham and the al-Nusrah Front.
Being NATO's only Muslim member was fine. Being NATO's only Islamist member ideologically attached to the Muslim Brotherhood is quite another thing.
by Samuel Westrop
British politicians seem to be trapped in an endless debate over how to curb both violent and non-violent extremism within the Muslim community.
A truly useful measure might be to end the provision of state funding and legitimacy to terror-linked extremist charities.