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Mr Cameron: do we really want Turkey in the EU?

Van Rompuy is right: Turkey is not, and will never be, a part of Europe

By on Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Photo: PA

Photo: PA

What are we to make of David Cameron’s ‘anger’ towards those in Europe who are frustrating  progress towards Turkish membership of the EU? The argument you tend to hear in favour of this is that Turkey stands at the crossroads between Europe and Asia, and that it will help Europe establish a community of interest with Muslim countries (well, some of them, anyway).

 The price of that, however, is that we change the whole culture of the EU: to begin with, overnight the Muslim population of the EU will rise to around 20%. France and Germany oppose this on the grounds that it will lead to a huge influx of Turkish immigrants: Germany already has 4 million of them.

Turkey would be the EU’s second largest country after Germany.

The cultural arguments against this change are clear enough, and have been expressed by the ‘President of Europe’ Herman Van Rompuy, as follows: “Turkey is not a part of Europe and will never be part of Europe. An expansion of the EU to include Turkey cannot be considered as just another expansion as in the past . . . The universal values which are in force in Europe, and which are fundamental values of Christianity, will lose vigour with the entry of a large Islamic country such as Turkey”.

Of course he wasn’t President of Europe then, but just a Belgian MP; and Joseph Ratzinger wasn’t yet Pope when he said something very similar: in an interview with Le Figaro he said that “Europe is a cultural and not a geographical continent,” and that  “Turkey always represented another continent throughout history, in permanent contrast with Europe,” so to equate the two continents “would be a mistake…. The roots which formed … this continent are those of Christianity.”

But hasn’t the former Cardinal Ratzinger changed his policy now he is Pope? Well, I don’t think so, though there are two views on this. When he visited Turkey, he is supposed, according to the Turkish Prime Minister, to have told him that he had changed his mind. “The pope came bearing a surprise gift…: support for Turkish membership in the European Union” jubilantly reported Der Spiegel.

Well, as far as I can discover, there was no public statement from the Pope himself: and “a papal spokesman” later clarified the Pope’s (private) remarks, saying that he had told the Turkish leader that the Vatican did not have the power or competence to intervene, but “viewed positively and encouraged” the process of Turkish entry into the EU “on the basis of common values and principles” [my italics].

And what might they be? Turkey is a country with an appalling human rights record, which is still some way from satisfying European democratic standards.  France and Germany will anyway continue to veto Turkish entry. The Pope knew all that: “as for common values and principles”,  Turkish “values and principles” are still “in permanent contrast with those of Europe”: nothing is going to change that.

  • Luisfernando Perez

    If Turkey joins UE, what´s next? Morrocco? Argelia?
    It´s absurd, but not impossible.

    Let´s see what happens first with Bosnia and Kosovo, the onlye two muslims european countries.

  • David Lindsay

    There are many bad things about this Government. But there are some good ones, too. Withdrawal from Afghanistan, restoration of the link between pensions and earnings, abandonment of identity cards, the prospect of electoral reform, an inquiry into the last lot's complicity in torture (that means you, David Miliband), dismantlement of the surveillance state, a renewed emphasis on a manufacturing-based economy diffused throughout the country, one coalition partner that really did oppose the Iraq War, and another that at least has the decency to pretend that it did so.

    It is in foreign policy that the most promise is being shown. Bilateral ties are being pursued with Russia, with China, with Latin American countries, with the Arab world in general and the UAE in particular, with India, with Indonesia, with Japan, with the major Commonwealth countries of Africa, and through the Commonwealth generally. There will be more. One such, however, must not be with a country in which the only functioning political alternatives are secular, militarist ultranationalism and militant Islam, both of which glorify the destruction of Byzantium and the genocide of the Armenians. Any more than with a state which has no functioning political alternatives except secular, militarist ultranationalism and militant Judaism, both of which glorify the destruction of a largely Christian predecessor-society and the ongoing genocide of, perhaps above all, the Christian sections of that society.

    Oh, and do not expect any long-term future for any alliance between Iran and a country divided between Persian-hating, Armenian-hating, Assyrian-hating ultranationalists on one side, and Sunni fundamentalists on the other. We all have an interest in halting the rush to war with Iran. So we should all be furthering that interest.

  • nytor

    Cameron is a dangerous idiot, and always has been.

    America wants Turkey in the EU because it is a part of NATO. Cameron is just doing what British PMs always do and making noises which will please Obama.

    He's a fool and it's a good thing that other European leaders have more sense on this issue. Millions more Islamic migrants are just what this country does NOT need.

  • Simple City123

    Just make up your mind people.
    If you dont want Turkey to join the EU why start negotiations then ?
    Dont come each time with excuses why you dont want Turkey to join the EU.
    And in a time frame of 10-15 years do you realy think Turkey wants still to join the EU. LMAO
    The facts: The western empires are ending, economically, socialy,etc..

  • louella

    Politicians are indifferent to the prospect of an Islamic majority Europe which Europe is forecast to become given the disparity in birthrates between secularists and Muslims. Muslims also form a constant stream of inward immigration to the EU. To secular politicians an Islamic populace is as good as a Christian populace.

    But Western Civilisation was a uniquely Christian product, not secular not Islamic. Seems like secularism is the moribund deathknell of Christian civilisation and the herald of Islam. Time to wake up and take note of where we are being passively led!

  • http://www.trumpeter4europe.co.uk Collis Gretton

    For Turkey to join the EU it must meet all of the Copenhagen criteria. That means the full implementation of “common values and principles.” Not “Turkish” or “Christian” but European.

  • http://www.trumpeter4europe.co.uk Collis Gretton

    Cameron is no idiot. He has no influence with France or Germany in regard to Turkey's membership and knows it.. He can safely make diplomatic noises in Turkey.

  • MHenry

    If we want a peaceful, humane and democratic world, you can't go around talking up imaginary differences and pretending that people from other countries are too alien and different to live with.

    Turkey has a long history of being a part of Europe – for most of the past 500 years its capital has been on the European continent and it has ruled large sections of mainland Europe. It is the successor of the eastern Roman Empire and ruled over the same lands as that Roman Empire.

    Christianity and Islam have much more in common with each other than either do with the materialistic values of western capitalist consumerism. I find it bizarre and slightly offensive that self professed Christians, whose messiah spoke Aramaic and came from Judea (a Semitic country to the south of Turkey), can grumble about Turkey being too foreign and alien to join their 'Christian Club' – as if Christianity is a European thing! Jesus must be feeling very left out of this white man's Christianity.

  • Morodery

    Well simpleton we'll go down as a Judaeo-Christian construct if you don't mind. Turkey should be kicked out of NATO, let alone considered for EU membership. If it were up to me, I'd swap Turkey's NATO place for Israel. And get out of Cyprus whilst we're at it, will you!

  • Morodery

    Are you mad? Turkey's relationship with Europe has come about through nothing more than the violent jihad of the Ottoman tribes and empire against those European people unfortunate enough to be in its way ie Greece, Romania, Hungary et al. There is practically nothing doctrinally to unite Islam with Christianity. Christ injuncted people to love one another. Muhammed mandated war and violence against unbelievers. Turkey is a recent precarious construct – you clearly know little about the Arab and Ottoman jihads and I suggest you find out as a matter of urgency. And whilst you're at it check out the Koranic/Hadith view as to whether blacks or indeed women are likely to enter what passes for heaven in Islam. To view the issue of Turkish compatibility with a Judaeo-Christian culture as an issue of race only shows up your almost total ignorance of the subject at hand.

  • AndyFrankophile

    Years ago I crossed from Iran into Turkey; I had left the East and was back in the Greek/Roman world that I thought of as Europe. There in the Caucasus were men, presumably miners in cloth caps. There were placards for political parties. There were wagon-lits and restaurant cars on the train. Clearly it was a moslem country and clearly its Greek population had been expelled as a result of the Greek Turkish war. Clearly it, like most other European countries, has a difficulty in coming to terms with bad events of the last century and like Greece has normally just denied the immediate past. I think it is as important to the rest of Europe as Greece.

  • louella

    Actually secularism and Islam have more in common with each other than with Christianity, both are fierce opponents of the Divinity of Christ which was the backbone of the West for almost 2 millenia. And without its backbone the West can no longer survive!

  • Simple City123

    Well Morod (n) I m sure you will go down. Like i said dont start negotiations talks if you dont wanne let Turkey join the club at the end. Have the courage to say No at the beginning and dont come all the time with excuses why Turkey can not join the EU.
    Keep your EU and NATO.
    Wasnt EU the one who accepted Cyprus as it is.
    Why didnt they told Cyprus at that time to solve the issue before joining the EU???

  • Anonymous

    If there is no common ground, there is no ground at all.
    That is why religions have been enimical….throughout history. Solution: keep away children from religions and their influence until they are of age to choose and be independent. When they choose on their own not as conditioned and bound people, but as grown ups who know what is right and what is not right, what is true and what is not true, we shall have a comparatively more peaceful and happy world. Until then they may be allowed on their own to read and meditate on original Sacred Scriptures of Religions to find whether there is Truth in them, if so how much. By testing the truth they will make their own discoveries and be free.

  • thomaspj

    If there is no common ground, there is no ground at all.
    That is why religions have been enemical….throughout history. Solution: keep away children from religions and their influence until they are of age to choose and be free. World Governments should work towards this. When they choose on their own not as conditioned and bound people, but as grown ups who know what is right and what is not right, what is true and what is not true, we shall have a comparatively more peaceful and happy world. Until then they may be allowed on their own to read and meditate on original Sacred Scriptures of Religions to find out whether there is Truth in them, if so how much. By testing the truth they will make their own discoveries and be free.

  • James.Noble

    You should go read some books because your hatred is clouding whatever knowledge you may think you have. I don't even see why the Turks would even want to join the EU, they have a large growing economy, strong allie to Nato as the second biggest army in the world, they seem to manage well enough on their own.

  • Morcillist

    “The price of that, however, is that we change the whole culture of the EU: to begin with, overnight the Muslim population of the EU will rise to around 20%.”

    YOU MAY WELL DISCOUNT MORE THAN 40-50% OF TURKEY'S POPULATION AS BEING AGNOSTIC AS TO DEVOTED BELIEVERS… 1/2 OF THE 50% REMAINING MAY BE CONSIDERED AS HALF MOSLEMS AS THEY PLAY ALONG WITH STATUE QUO TO KEEP THEIR GOVN'T JOBS.. ETC.. ETC.. ETC…

  • Dcruz

    The day Turkey enter or joins the E.U. that will be the end of Europe and it will be just like a 3rd world country..Muslims breath like misqitoes and cockroaches and sharia will be the law of the E.U.Turkey has a very poor human rights record and a large muslim population and muslims have big famililies and lots pf demands contrary to that of the rest of the white population.Tere will be no love lost without Turkey in the E.U. So all white europeons shouldlok hard into this and wake up . Muslim hate the west and abuse the liberty of the west and want to imposetheri own ideology. Save the E.U. by voting against Turkey joining

  • Dcruz

    Indifference to a vast muslim population in Europe will lead to downfall of the whites. The muslim will be in majorityand then rule Europe which will be called Eurarabia or Islamic Emirates of Europe or Europistan. .Choose what is best. Wake up and ponder before it is too late.

  • Dcruz

    If Turkey, Bosnia, Kosova and Albania join the E.U. means more muslim countries will come as members or partners to Europeon muslim brothers. Jihad and Honor killing will be legalised.Religious freedom for other religion will be resticted and only Islam will be allowed to flourish.Remember lots of Turks went to the Eastern Europeon countries and Russia and forcefully converted whites to Islam .The same will happen in Europe , America, Canada and Australia.The west will then go backward like muslim countries.