Europeans Having Second Thoughts about Turkey
News/Comment; Posted on: 2004-09-24 19:52:01

Europeans get cold feet about letting Turkey in the European Union -- but give every reason in the book for their reluctance, except the most significant one: race.

Ted O'Keefe reports for the Occidental Herald:

PREDICTIONS THAT TURKEY would be admitted to the European Union swiftly and smoothly after satisfying EU objections to a few points of legal and political punctilio are fortunately proving unfounded. Although Turkey’s Islamist premier, R. T. Erdogan, recently placated some of his critics by shelving plans to make adultery a crime, other European leaders are waking up to the fact that, despite the alleged potential of its 70 million strong “market,” Turkey—Asian, Muslim, precariously balanced between autocratic generals and increasingly Islamist masses, and with a long tradition of ruthlessly suppressing its minorities—is a poorly qualified candidate for inclusion in Europe.

Jose Barroso, president of the European Commission, has recently stated that Turkey has so far failed to fulfill the conditions necessary even to begin EU negotiations. France’s Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin has questioned whether Turkish society is European enough, given its failure to separate church and state (despite the efforts of Kemal Atatürk, founder of modern Turkey, and his successors).

EUBusiness reports that although most EU nations still welcome talks with Turkey on EU membership, sentiment is cooling:
[German] Foreign Minister Joshka Fischer, quoted in New York by Spiegel Online, said he hoped for a positive decision but warned that the talks for eventual Turkish accession would be "a very long process, (lasting) 10 to 15 years."

Germany has one of the largest Turkish populations in Europe, and the opposition Christian Democrats have voiced opposition to Turkish accession, echoed by its allied Christian Social party...

French President Jacques Chirac has voiced support for Turkish membership once it meets "all the necessary conditions."

But his prime minister, Jean-Pierre Raffarin, was sceptical in an interview Thursday in the Wall Street Journal, expressing doubt that Ankara could "bring Turkish society to accept European values on human rights."

Britain has been strongly supportive of Ankara's EU aspirations.

Prime Minister Tony Blair said in May that EU membership would be "important for Turkey, important for Europe, and important for Britain too," and last month Foreign Secretary Jack Straw warned that isolating Turkey would be in no one's interests.

Italian Prime Minister Silvion Berlusconi has long expressed support for Turkish EU membership and his foreign minister, Franco Frattini, told the German daily Bild earlier this week that Rome hoped that the EU summit would vote for talks.

However a key member of Italy's ruling coalition, the populist Northern League, is strongly against Turkey joining the EU, expressing the view that "60 percent of Europeans" are also opposed.

The Vatican, insisting on Europe's Christian heritage, has said that allowing Turkey to join would be a "huge mistake."

...Of all EU members Austria appears the most opposed to Turkish membership, with Chancellor Wolfgang Schuessel urging that the EU "digest" the latest wave of members, admitted on May 1 this year, before engaging in a further round of enlargement.

His ruling People's Party (OeVP) is resolutely against Turkish membership both at leadership and grassroots level, as is the opposition Social Democratic SPOe, and a recent opinion poll found 76 percent opposed among the population at large

Frits Bolkestein, EU Internal Market Commissioner, has warned that letting in Turkey could “implode” the European Union, while the heads of all of Denmarks’s major parties are demanding that there be no rush to admit Turkey to the EU. No doubt recent polls that show Germans, Austrians, Danes, and other Europeans strongly opposed to Turkish membership have helped the politicians focus more clearly on the real issues.

Deustche Welle report

EUbusiness article

Reluctant Europe

Copenhagen post article

Source: The Occidental Herald • Printed from National Vanguard
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