Monday, December 04, 2006

C'est fini!

Wednesday I have to do a presentation in French on the pros and cons of Turkish membership in the EU. As is usually the case, I'm blowing off all preparations, which is a mistake. I only get to speak French for an hour a week, leaving those skills a bit fragile to say the least. But I can't help feeling cocky given this is my last class. How strange that those language classes I took on a whim over the past few years have actually added up to a degree.

As for Turkey in the EU? Sign them up now. The Europeans must recognize that their border already joins them geographically to the Middle East, and adding a powerful NATO member as a substantial geographical buffer will not only prove practical for European security interests, but will also prove a resounding propaganda success with a disenchanted Muslim population in the Netherlands, Great Britain, and France. The Madrid train bombings already proved a carload of terrorists can drive from Iraq to Spain--keeping Turkey out of the EU won't prevent that happening again. Of course there will be problems if membership is granted, not least of which will be a flood of Turks moving to Germany and Scandinavia looking for work. But the Turks have just as much of a case to join the EU as Romania or other formerly dastardly East European countries. Sign 'em up!

4 comments:

Earth Dragon said...

Interesting point of view, concerning the Turks membership in the EU.

You make a strong and logical case, and I find I have to agree with you.

And yet, a little uneasy intuitive voice inside my head keeps saying, "they shouldn't be allowed in - Turkey isn't Europe."

I don't know enough about it, to comment intelligently. Our mutual "brit" friend used to live in Turkey, so she thinks it's OK.

I think I wonder, as many people do the world over, how will Europe preserve its individual cultures if they receive a flood of immigrants over the years.

Berlin is the city in the world with the second larget Turkish population, after Instanbul. What has this done to the German Culture of Berlin? Nothing? Improved it? Destroyed it? Something in between?

Not a good comparison, but if we asked the Native Americans what they thought about the mass immigrations, they might have a more protective point of view.

Ultimately, I think you're correct, as usual, but I don't necessarily think the move will be a good one for the elements of Europe that you and I enjoy.

On the other hand, when I lived in Germany, the Turks always had the best little grocery shops. : )

freyr said...

"and adding a powerful NATO member as a substantial geographical buffer will not only prove practical for European security interests,"

A buffer, by its definition, lies outside of the entities that it is intended to seperate. A "buffer" that is within one of those entities is no longer a "buffer" in any meaningful sense of the word.

"but will also prove a resounding propaganda success with a disenchanted Muslim population in the Netherlands"

The average Muslim, including most of the tiny pro-Western contingent, utterly despises the repressive, ultra-secular Turkish state. You might as well try to win over American Southerners by praising France, after all, they're both Christian! Successive US administrations have wanted to aggressively present Turkey as a "model" for modernization of the ME region, but the professionals at State have continuously shot them down - and for good reason. It's a horrible idea.

"The Madrid train bombings already proved a carload of terrorists can drive from Iraq to Spain"

The 2004 Madrid train bombers were not "Iraqis" but instead around a dozen Morrocans and a Tunisian. (i.e. North Africans, right across the Strait of Gibraltar from Spain)

"keeping Turkey out of the EU won't prevent that happening again."

A potential Turkish accession to the European Union will allow Turkish citizens free movement and settlement rights to any EU state within the Schengen Accord Area. Given that anywhere from 40-60% of the Turkish citizens are sympathetic to political Islam it's not difficult to see the obvious security threat Turkish membership proposes.

"But the Turks have just as much of a case to join the EU as Romania or other formerly dastardly East European countries."

Except for the annoying little fact that neither Romania nor Bulgaria, for all of their numerous faults, are currently engaged in an illegal occupation and racially based ethnic cleansing of a neighboring state, in this case Cyprus. If Israel's occupation of Palestine disturbs you (and it should) then why exactly is Turkey's ethnic cleansing of Cyprus seemingly a non-factor in your reasoning? Or, for that matter, it's genocidal repression of the Kurds that resulted in hundreds of thousands of dead civilians that continues today? Or the Turkish state's denial of the Armenian Holocaust?

Seth Anderson said...

and for your non-sequitur of the day, watched Stroszek last weekend, and on the directors commentary W. Herzog mentioned that (in the 70s, or now) Berlin has over 1 million Turks, making it the third largest Turkish city.

geoff said...

freyr--but I thought the bombers in Madrid, despite their ethnicity, actually were trained in Baghdad and drove from there to Spain? Or was that debunked?

You are also correct about the distasteful aspects of the Turkish gov--but will exclusion from the EU improve that situation, or is EU membership a more likely route to bring Turkey (which does have at least the beginnings of a secular republican culture) into the Western fold? What about the propaganda score if Europe proves it is open to a huge Muslim nation as a member state? The radical imams already in Europe will gain if Turkey is excluded.

And Earthdragon--nothing will slow the cultural change of Europe. Nothing will make integration of different cultures an easy process, but trying to integrate Turkey might help, and keeping Turkey out would certainly hurt those efforts.

Seth--What did you think of the film? "We can't turn off the dancing chickens."