Should Turkey Join the EU?


The Pope says Turkey should be part of the European Union. Is he right?
Posted by David Ignatius & Fareed Zakaria on December 4, 2006 7:42 AM

Readers’ Responses to Our Question (175)

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D. Hodara - Monte-Carlo :

The Pope approved that Turkey be part of the European Union when in delicate position, both politically and diplomatically. Therefore, it is difficult to give a clear answer to your question.
However, Turkey should be allowed to join, provided the European Union obtains strong assurances that the secular Turkish Republic, founded by Kemal Ataturk, with a constitution separating state and religion, will remain strong, and avoid any danger from the Turkish islamists, who have gained some ground in the past years, to make any changes to it.

Michael, Miami, USA :

Turkey, by way of its membership in NATO, recent emigration patterns to EU states as well as high volumes of trade, investment and tourism with the EU, is already an integral part of the European Union. From an economic standpoint, Turkey's ascension into the EU would be a simple recognition of existing conditions.

From a social standpoint however, the inevitable initial difficulties not withstanding, Turkey's admission to the EU would send a strong signal that Europe is not an exclusively Christian club, that Islam is not fundamentally incompatible with liberal democracy and that there are values around which humans of all walks can coalesce.

The question of Turkey's admission to the EU rests with Europe itself. In the long-run, what kind of union do the members want for themselves?

Raechel, Washington, DC USA :

Generally speaking, the question arises - is it in Europe's economic interest for Turkey to become a member of the EU? Already criticism from adding multiple countries to the EU in the past year is staggering; at this point in time, Europeans aren't ready for Turkey to be a part of the EU. Furthermore, as long as Cyprus remains an issue of contention for both Turkey and Greece, that hostility is not likely to disappear anytime soon.

Jonathan Braun, New York, USA, Managing Partner, http://www.badnergroup.com :

The United States should encourage its European allies to embrace Turkey and accelerate its acceptance into the European Union in order to undercut Iran's spreading influence in the Middle East and help counter the rising tide of Islamist extremism. Apart from brokering a breakthrough in peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians and Israel and Syria, there may arguably now be mo more effective available means of promoting democracy and progress in the Muslim world—and defusing the threat of a clash of civilizations—than supporting Turkey's quest for EU membership.

Turkey is a truly unique and important country. A secular democracy with a dynamic, growing economy, Turkey is part of Europe and identifies with Europe while also looking east for trade and other opportunities. The country is overwhelmingly Muslim and is actually led by a moderately Islamist government; yet, it is also a Westernizing NATO member with significant ties to the US and Israel.

Rejecting or indefinitely delaying Turkey's application for EU membership—over the Cyprus issue and other disputes—would send the wrong signal at the worst possible time, reinforcing the radical Islamist view that the EU is a hopelessly Christian club and that the West will never fully accept a Muslim nation into its midst.

I have great faith in Turkey: even if its EU membership drive is derailed, it will not turn against the West. For one thing, the Turkish military, which sees itself as the guardian of the secular state, will not allow Turkey to become another Iran. More important, the extremist element in Turkey is a contained minority with limited support.

It's Europe that concerns me. The continent that has been so outspoken in its criticism of the US for its misguided attempt to import democracy into Iraq has so far shown itself to be basically devoid of statesmanship and vision in its approach to Turkey.

Jonathan Braun, New York, USA, The Badner Group, Managing Partner, http://www.badnergroup.com

rk, Oakland, USA :

To get something you must give something. The price for Turkeys acceptance into the EU should be nothing less than Turkeys acceptance
of Kurdistan as a sovereign state. I am speaking of the part of Iraq
now being governed by the Kurds and not any disputed parts of Turkey
or Syria or Iran. By the way, Kurdistan might be just the place for
America to reposition all its forces in Iraq.

Prof. Dr. Muhammad Shamsaddin Megalommatis, Cairo - Egypt :

The question should rather be the following:

How many Europes can there be?

Following the unbalanced and disparaging proposals by J. Chirac as regards Turkey?s adhesion to the European Union (being linked to an eventual recognition of the Armenian ?genocide?), one should question to what extent France can safely be part of the Union of European states and peoples.

We know for sure that France was one of the six countries that embarked on the European ?reconstruction? and unification project in the middle 50s. How determinant is this fact? In the long path of European unification many questions were never asked, let alone answered! People have been terribly misled for nobody had the political or intellectual courage to express opinions, approaches and doubts as regards critical issues. This is nothing new; many people throughout the continent have already noticed the lack of debate about the identity and the destiny of the under unification continent.

Polarization around J. B. Duroselle

J. B. Duroselle composed before 15 years a European History of Europe to offer an ideological ? historical support to the unification project; it was an ideologically European History of Europe, a text written following the preconceived idea that the European unification was by definition ?good?! The book was subsidized by the Commission of the European Union, and was expected to be translated to all the official languages of the Union. Then, the Greeks embarked on a paranoiac War against Duroselle, refused to translate the book in Greek, and reproached to the late French academician a supposedly partial viewpoint that, according to their erroneous assumptions, minimized the Greek contribution to the formation of Europe.

For having then been the only Greek citizen to openly, publicly and unreservedly support the French academician (for a period, more than 10 articles and 100 letters of besotted nationalists were published daily in the Greek newspapers and magazines), and emphatically refute the falsifications of Greek nationalism (imposed through the prevailing in the Primary and the Secondary Education Greco-centrist historical dogma), I can be taken today as impartial and objective when talking about France and Europe.

I did not refer to the aforementioned episode of the execrable Greek nationalism (that exploded equally against a) Albania, b) Macedonia, c) Turkey, d) Islam, e) Vatican and Papacy, f) Jews, Israel and Zionism, and g) Free Masonry, taking them all as enemies of the supposedly diachronic Hellenism) in order to highlight my participation in that debate, but to underscore the striking variances of perception of European History that exist in the various countries of the European (Dis)Union. The concept ?Europe? is extremely different from a Russian to a Turk, from an Italian to a Spaniard, from Pole to a Brit, and from a Dane to French! If this concerns the historical appreciation of the European past, the divergence will be even more marked, when it comes to future perspectives, political planning, and ? wishful thinking.

History and Politics

Historical data can be combined into thousands of varying systems, even without being necessarily misinterpreted; this relates to human nature, and there will always be people to see the glass ?half empty? instead of ?half full?. In this regard, what matters most is the aim, the target, the goal we pursue while reassessing historical information; as one can easily understand, this is highly ideological and political, as it relates to our own perception of today?s issues before delving into the historical depth for further resources.

If one historian overstresses the presence of Islam on European soil in order to bring together Christians, Jews and Muslims, and help them coexist and peacefully cohabitate Europe, the positive target is a certain excuse for the overstressing Islam?s importance in/for Europe.

If one historian undermines or diminishes Islam?s presence in Europe and contributes therefore to the separation and the segregation of the Muslim citizens of Europe from the rest of the continent?s inhabitants, the negative target ? added to the historical alteration ? offers us an excellent reason to reject the approach.

One must effectively admit that there cannot be 100% neutral historiography, as we tend, when recomposing material, reassessing data, or even reading sources, to see in the past what each one of us is more familiar with. Balance between one?s own ideas and historical source reading is a very difficult task. Even if one attempts the best, one must always stay close to the source!

When countries, administrations, and regimes are involved in History ? fixing, we have good reasons to believe that the falsification corresponds to traditional, national geo-strategic plans and geopolitical options. History must be left exclusively to Historians, intellectuals and academics. Recent History can be a case of great political concern, and this has to do with the geopolitical balance of power; we can understand it and accept it.

If Hitler had prevailed in WW II, we would never have had the voluminous legislation about the Holocaust; we would have lived under a totalitarian regime that would have imposed its own version of History.

Armenian Genocide and European Unification

How important for us today and how up to date with our world can the Armenian drama 1915 ? 1916 possibly be? We have reasons to doubt. These reasons we are going to present here have nothing to do with the historical events that took place in the Eastern ? Northeastern provinces of the Ottoman Empire before 90 years. The historical events can be certainly discussed in a separate article, but here we will deal with their possible connection with our world today.

A. If one insists that the Armenian Drama plays a role today, one has to immediately admit that similar role play also the following events:
1. The massacre of no less than 20000 Turks during the 1821 siege of Tripoli (Mora or Peloponnesus) in southern Greece.
2. The massacre of repeatedly revolted against the French colonial rule Algerians (1830 ? 1960).
3. The bloodshed and the oppression caused by the French colonial rule in Corsica.
4. The bloodshed caused by the Christian state of Leon and Castile at the times of Reconquista against the Umayyad Caliphate of Andalusia.
5. The barbaric act of cutting the two hands of each and every Sicilian Muslim who did not accept to convert to Christianity ? an act carried out by the Norman armies and shamefully depicted on monumental gates of Palermo.
6. The massacre carried out on St Bartholomew?s Eve
7. The massacre of the Mamelouk garrisons of Egypt by Napoleon and his invading army, and so on.
It is however easy to understand that more we talk about past bloodshed more we expose ourselves in misperceptions and erroneous sentimental approaches. Then, more bloodshed will come, and the responsibility will be ours.

B. Speaking more specifically about the Armenian Drama, we have to realize first that as event it does not concern the History of Europe but the History of Asia, since Armenia belongs to Asia. To what extent the European unification hinges on events occurred in Asia? Then, why not considering the French massacres of Indochinese people at the times of the colonial rule as important for the European unification?

C. A very serious issue in cases going back to remote past is the responsibility of a regime; in case of regime change the responsibility of a deposed / defunct regime is null. To what extent would the French Republic could be held responsible for acts and policies of the Ancien Regime (the Kingdom of France)? How reasonable would it be to demand from the Communist rulers of Soviet Union the responsibility of slavery practiced by the Czars 50 years before the "October Revolution"? Should we ask today?s Italy to bear responsibility for acts carried out by Mussolini? How could De Gasperi, Fanfani, Andreotti and the other leading figures of post-War II Italy apologize for something they did not commit and they already rejected when it was committed? The emergence of modern Turkey and the establishment of the Turkish Republic by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk are events that occurred in order to bring an end to the Ottoman Caliphate; how could therefore the modern Turkish establishment be held responsible for the acts of the previous ? so diametrically opposed ? establishment?

These are basic points one has to bear in mind when discussing the Armenian Drama 1915 ? 1916 at the level of a modern political debate. Extending the subject to level of historical analysis, one may even accuse Russia and France (instead of the Ottoman Empire) for these events, but as we earlier stated we consider historical issues totally irrelevant of our current political circumstances, and we do not believe that pouring more oil in the fire is going to bring a positive result.

Demented Chirac demands Turkey to admit responsibility

The ridiculous remarks made by the French President implied that Turkey needs to recognize the alleged Armenian genocide to become an EU member; they were not accepted in Europe. The EU Commission declared that this is not a pre-condition for full membership.
The Council of Europe disapproved of Chirac, and the Chairman of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) Rene van der Linden stated: "It is not new that Jacques Chirac has made such statements. The game has already started. You cannot change the rules of the game while it is on. Like other European states, France signed a document to start discussions on Turkey's EU membership. Jacques Chirac has made a mere political statement. I do not think this position is right."
It is important to note that the EU Commission, despite pressure from the Armenian lobby, refused to define the 1915 incidents as "genocide". The Commission?s 2005 report cited the incidents as "the tragic events of 1915."

Quite astonishing is that the embattled and disapproved French politics? dinosaur did not show any sign of repentance and did not express apologies for atrocities committed in Algeria by the French over the span of no less than 130 years!

However, France plans to keep on pressing the issue with a vote tabled in parliament on 12 October over a fresh resolution that Turkey must give the Armenian killings their proper name. This makes clear the reasons of the French president: inner political purposes related to the rise of political opponents within Chirac?s own party (N. Sarkozy) and to the French despair and disillusion about Europe (as already reflected in the famous ?No? in the referendum concerning the European Constitution) obliged the French president to take a position like this.

Can France be part of a Union of European Nations?

As we know, in their majority French disagree with any further European expansion, being categorically opposed to the adhesion of Turkey and Ukraine, let alone Russia, to the European Union. The reasons for this absurd approach are deep; France used to have a most nationalistic and erroneous approach to European issues. Mentally sick and incommensurably arrogant, French politicians viewed Europe as a kind of high class colony of France. They did their ingenious best to export their paranoiac Franco-centric version of European History to the rest. Their subjectivism reaches the level of cultural discrimination, and several countries dared oppose this irrelevant and pointless dogma.

No one can accept in today?s Europe that
a. Victor Hugo is superior to Andersen,
b. Rousseau is more important than Immanuel Kant,
c. Racine is more resourceful than Shakespeare
d. Chopin is greater than Wagner
e. Sartre is more influential than Adorno
f. Moliere is of greater value than Goldoni
g. Corneille is more imaginative than Cervantes
h. the Chartres Cathedral is more impressive than Agia Sophia at Istanbul and /or
i. Notre Dame de Paris is more remarkable a masterpiece than the Mezquita of Sevilla. No one ? except the French.

The problem will exist on permanent basis, as only dramatic changes in France can help the French become reasonable once forever.

We have therefore to seriously consider options about France. The discriminatory and racist regime that controls this country cannot take the good and recent example of Italy, a non colonial country that had the courage to return to Abyssinia a stolen treasure, namely the 2000-year old Hawalti (obelisk) stolen from Aksum at the times of Mussolini. Yet, it would show a certain courage and a degree of repentance, if France returned ? as a first gesture ?
a. the Code of Hammurapi to Iraq
b. the Proto-Elamite tablets to Iran
c. the Hittite cylinder seals to Turkey
d. the Palette of Narmer to Egypt, and
e. the Winged Victory of Samothrace to Greece

We know for sure that the aforementioned suggestion is relevant to wishful thinking and that the colonial regime of Paris, heavily influenced by the Free Masonic lodge Grand Orient de France (that produced generations of discriminatory Orientalists), will not accept the responsibility for having so long been the "Thug of the Nations".

That is why we have to wonder which version of Europe is more European, more relevant to the historical reality, more human(ist), more ethical, and more representative:
a. the French version of Europe ? in which France belongs but Russia, Turkey and Ukraine are out
or
b. the Real version of Europe ? where Russia, Turkey, Ukraine belong along with Germany, Italy, Spain, Poland, and England, but France is left out.

Ask the Dutch! When in the 60s the opposition of megalomaniac De Gaulle to Britain?s adhesion reached the levels of paroxysm and hysteria, the Dutch suggested (to the other 4 participants of the then 6-member European Community) to continue ? without France.

As the Ancient Historians had put it before more than 2000 years:

- Alexander son of Philip, and the Greeks except the Lacedaemonians.

(first published in: http://www.buzzle.com/articles/europe-european-union-turkey.html)

Zathras, Sun Prairie, WI :

For many years the American government encouraged integration of Turkey into the EU (and before that the Common Market), seeing that as a way to bolster a country considered a crucial ally in the Cold War. Since the Soviet Union's collapse the American view has not changed that much, though as the United States is not directly involved its position has not had a high profile.

An overseas observer might well think that the key distinction is whether European leaders believe Turkey should proceed to be admitted to the EU if certain conditions are met adequately, or if European leaders believe Turkey should not be admitted to the EU unless a somewhat larger number of conditions is met perfectly. The worst thing Europe could do is present to the Turks that its position is the former when it really is the latter.

There is no question that Turkey's being a predominantly Muslim country is an issue in Europe. To the degree Islam has grown as a factor in Turkish life and politics recently, Turkey's attractiveness as a potential EU member has decreased. At the same time, from an economic standpoint Turkey is a much better candidate now than it was in years past, when the country was poorer and more dependent on agriculture. From a strictly religious standpoint Turks have more in common with their Arab neighbors to the south, but in every other way — economics, governance — Turkey has more in common with, and more to gain by closer association with, Europe.

I don't see any reason why the United States should not favor Turkey's admission to the EU. But for the parties involved the question is not a simple one; both Turks and Europeans would be best to acknowledge the real issues involved, facing them squarely and without rancor.

John Tirman, Cambridge MA USA, www.johntirman.com :

Turkey is a part of Europe. It belongs to NATO, OSCE, and the Council of Europe, and has agreements with the EU. Yet it does not fulfill its treaty obligations with respect to human rights, freedom of speech and identity, rule of law, etc. This is the question—-not the openness to Cypriot ships (Turkey has behaved more responsibly in recent years on Cyprus than have Greek Cypriots)—-but who rules Turkey? The military? The hypernationalist prosecutors? The paramilitaries assassinating Kurds? And why aren't European institutions insisting on Turkey's treaty obligations? Turkey is not ready for the EU until it demonstrates it can fulfill the promises it has already made, and this has nothing to do with Islam.
See more at www.johntirman.com, including comment on my book, Spoils of War, which was the object of prosecution in Istanbul.

Valer Ambrus, Duisburg, Germany :

Although the EU was created as a free trade zone, its leaders are now aspiring to much more. Their official goal is to create a political union.

A political union is a single state with a central government, a common chief of state, a common army and a common foreign policy. Such an institution can only be build and kept together if there is a strong bond between the societies supporting it. Democracy and human rights are not enough. Those are universal values. While they can provide the foundation for friendship and good relations, they are not sufficient for a political union. So ultimately the bond will have to be some kind of national identity.

National identities are not created at whim. They have deep historical roots, they take a long time to develop and most of all they recquire the firm ground of a specific culture.

In the case of Europe this culture is Western and christian. If the European peoples are ever do develop a common national identity it will be on the basis of their western and christian culture. Turkey is not part of this culture. Therefore Turkey can never join the European Union.

If the leaders of Europe ignore the basic truth that in the modern world every viable state must rest on a sense of national identity, they will create a failed state and wreck the EU forever.

yknot :


The joining of Turkey into the EU "family" is but the first step in the, finally, logical, rational and humane, road towards the amalgamation of peoples in economic and social arrangements that should in time benefit all concerned.

Such an arrangement puts to shame and wasting of human and financial resources in the colonization process which as recent as the 1950s resulted in the creation of a racist state in the middle of the Middle East.

As far as past actions or inactions all of the European nations as well as parts of the Middle and Near Eaast have been guilty of inhuman and murderous acts of their neighbors far and wide.

Whether the Pope gets the major part of the credit or not the least and most that can be said is that his comments represent logical, rational and humane considerations worthy of what should be the norm in the early parts of the 21 st. Century.

When the fukk integration occurs formally and informally it will be come a beacon to others nations in other parts of the world. The more integration formally and informally between peoples of the world all benefit in every imginable way.

Go for it you'll.

yknot :


The word above "fukk" is a misspelling it should read

FULL integration.....

Mea Culpa.

Zoltan, hungarian, Paris :

No !

Lets' detail:

There are many issues, and most of them will - or already are - presented better than I would do. There is however a fundamental point which prevents Turkey to be acceptable to us Europeans today: it's important to know who and when to join, but it is vital to know how one country can leave - or be thrown out. Right now, this condition is not met.

When would this be met ? With a new constitution (a better one than the one proposed and rejected) whose one of the primary focuses should be just that. The borders and to know who and where we are. Democracy and so on don't really matter, or Australia could also apply.

And why is Turkey different from - let's say - Bulgaria ? Because when a country joins, it's borders become our borders, and today that would be Iraq and Kurdistan. Useless to say, that's today not acceptable.

Zoltan :




Oh, and please, Turks and Kurds, don't hijack the blog, will you ?

Bob Gallagher, Austin Texas, U.S. :

In pursuing his ill-conceived and horrendously-executed goal of producing a modern, democratic Muslim state in the Middle East by invading Iraq, George W. Bush ran mindlessly roughshod over the one nation with such qualities- Turkey. Thanks to Ataturk's vision, Turkey was brought into the modern world eighty years ago, sometimes not too gently, and even today not totally adhering to pure democratic principles, but then most of the present members of the EU have all had their issues with democracy at one time or another. The point is that Turkey has not only made a dramatic break with its decadent Ottoman past in order to enjoy the benefits of Westernization, but it has also paid its dues in blood as an member of Western military alliances. Turkey should stand as the eastern pillar of the EU, rather than, because of rejection at the hands of the EU and subsequent rise of Turkish fundamentalist extremists, as a western book-end of a turbulent and threatening Middle East. An independent Kurdistan cooperating of necessity with Turkey makes a much better buffer state between Europe and the Middle East than Turkey. Turkey should be solidly EU, inside the tent rather than soiling the tent from outside.

Elwood Anderson, Las Vegas, NV USA :

As the head of an organization that is stuck in the Middle Ages, why should the Pope's opinion count for anything?
Turkey is the sole democratic Islamic country that has a secular government. If they can't be considered for membership in the EU then no Islamic country would be considered eligible. Excluding Turkey is a sign to all Islamic countries that having a secular government is no advantage in becoming a full fledged member of the community of nations and they might as well opt for Sharia.

GlobalMaven, highwayscribery, Los Angeles, http://highwayscribery.blogspot.com :

Yes (as soon as it takes up the exciting trends happening in the 19th century).

Mr. SD Rodrian, Trenton, USA :

Let Turkey Join Europe's Union.

Yes. And that way Christians and Jews can be
converted to Islam all over Europe—and if any
of them decide to covert back they can be
hunted down like dogs and have their heads
chopped off anywhere in Europe, and not just in
Turkey and other Muslim countries as now.

S D Rodrian

Jon M, Falls Church, VA :

**If they can't be considered for membership in the EU then no Islamic country would be considered eligible.**
Why do any Islamic countries have to join the EU? Why can't they just do their own thing? Should Sweden should join the Arab League?

S. Clark - USA :

I think Turkey's EU membership provides more advantage to Europeans than Turks. Europeans, as hypocrites as ever, have tried to turn Turkey's interest in EU membership into an opportune time to come up with more and more demands to allow themselves to give full usage of Turkey's vast and rich resources. All Turkey has to do is to explore different markets to do business with. Europe needs all the wealth, Turkey would offer upon full EU membership. Europeans need to wake up and ask themselves how long low dollar against Euro will last and how long the United States will stay in the funk they are in now. Europeans can continue keeping their heads in sand or put their hypocrisy behind and get logical.

Patricia Kushlis, Albuquerque, NM, USA :

http://www.whirledview.typepad.com

Can someone confirm that the pope, in fact, stated that Turkey should become an EU member? If I recall correctly this is a quote from Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan immediately following his meeting with the pope at the Ankara airport last week. The pope may well have been somewhat less specific stressing that he viewed Turkey as an integral part of Europe ñ at least thatís what Iíve seen in some reports elsewhere. The popeís careful phrasing, of course, may well amount to one and the same. In any event, this may simply be a way for the Vatican, a spiritual organization, to refrain from publicly advocating a temporal policy. Sometimes such an approach can be the better part of valor.

What is most significant in my view is that Pope Benedictís words and deeds throughout his recent visit to Turkey suggest a shift in the Roman Catholic Churchís attitude and approach towards this large Muslim-majority country of 73 million people with its burgeoning youthful population and adherence to moderate Islam. Perhaps the popeís attitudinal change will help ñ at least in the long run - overcome the most recent politically inspired log-jams that badly afflict these early stages of Turkish-EU accession talks.

Do I think Turkey should eventually become a member of the European Union? Yes, I do. As Hugh Pope pointed out in the Wall Street Journal on November 28, Turkey ñ and its predecessor the Ottoman Empire ñ has long been part of Europe ñ this included, albeit briefly, the Concert of Europe. Today this includes memberships in various European regional organizations including the Council of Europe, the OSCE and NATO. Turkish sports teams ìplay in European leaguesî and its performers compete in the Eurovision song fest, as Pope also reminds us.

Further, itís also useful to take a look at whatís happening in the Turkish economy which thanks to the Turkish governmentís adherence to IMF standards has apparently overcome its traditional ìboom or bustî cycles. The burgeoning financial sector is also interesting: The fact that the state-controlled National Bank of Greece paid $2.9 billion for a controlling stake in Turkeyís Finansbank, Turkeyís eighth largest bank, and Dexia, the Franco-Belgian Bank, purchased Denizbank for $2.4 billion this past year suggests to me that Europeís financial sector sees something certain EU politicians apparently ignore for short-term electoral gain.

Further, as William Chislett also pointed out in his analysis of the Turkish economy for The New Anatolian, if Europe ever wants to break out of Russiaís stranglehold over its energy supplies, then Turkeyís ìrole as an energy conduitî from the Caucasus and Central Asia to Europe is vital thanks to the recently opened pipeline from Baku, Azerbaijan to Ceyhan on Turkeyís Mediterranean coast.

Do I think Turkey, or the Turks are ready to be offered or to accept instant EU membership: no, I donít, there are a variety of high and low stakes hurdles that have already been detailed in previous comments in this discussion that need to be overcome. But I think we need to remember that Turkeyís winning Europeís instant membership lottery ñ as far as I know - has never been in the cards anyway. In the meantime, the popeís visit to Turkey throughout which he stressed the importance of just treatment of religious minorities, conciliation and the cessation of violence is, in my view, an important step in the right direction.

Ted Laskaris, Athens, Greece :

I am sorry I will sour the Turkey Cheerleaders Club's soup, but I feel that Turkey belongs to Europe and the EU as much as Greece is a "rightful" member of a China-Korea co-prosperity sphere. Sadly, I do not buy that "the benefits of Turkey joining the EU are evident to all."

I am deeply disturbed, but not surprised, at the continuing charade of Turkey's European "march" and the sweaty wringing of hands by largely bankrupt European political elites over Turkey's "future," a prospect opposed, if you haven't noticed yet, by the majority of European public opinion, and especially in core countries like Germany and France.

I would need a tome to just begin to touch on the stark Turkish incompatibilities vis-a-vis Europe, but this is neither the time nor the place to do it. Do give though some thought to two salient points:

— (ONE) If Turkey does indeed abide by the basic norms and requirements expected by the EU, it would have to go through a spectacular transformational act, unprecedented in history, and put its current authoritarian models (the very same that pro-Turk propagandists insist on calling 'secular' and 'democrati') through a slow, deliberate act of incremental harakiri before reaching the EU dream; is it — and are its elites, both Muslim and secular — ready to proceed down this path?

and

— (TWO) how credible and based on hard fact is the mantra, monotonously chanted by mainly American and English observers, politicians, and "experts," of the Western world suffering a "catastrophe" if we somehow manage to "lose" Turkey?

Those with a memory would surely recall similar apocalyptic warnings about "losing" key "geostrategic" countries that eventually fizzled out with a whimper rather than a bang.

At least one generation of American diplomats and others, for example, grew old breast beating over "who lost China." Half a century later, the world still turns, America is a vastly more powerful country (although experiencing some hiccups right now), and we have all settled into a working relationship with communist capitalism.

More recently, we wrestled for years with the potential "catastrophe" of losing the Shah in Iran. We eventually lost him unceremoniously to the mullahs but, again, the world kept turning, Iran itself sunk into the 12th century but without the dominoes reaching the coast of California, and only recently we have been confronted with the nuclear tussle (which developed, I might add, with some significant Western help).

I would submit that Turkey can be "lost" with results comparable and no worse to those of having "lost" China and Iran. Turkey rightfully and consciously belongs to the Muslim East and could have a special relationship with Europe if it so wishes. In other words, Turkey would still need to work hard at smoothing the edges, discarding its threats in the Aegean, pulling its occupation troops from Cyprus, and becoming "Western" in more ways than few (and tailor-made to its obsessions).

Turkey historically, culturally, socially, and, yes, religiously does not integrally belong in Europe. And those who would say otherwise are either ignoring the facts for their own "globalist" and "strategic-economic" purposes or are total dilettantes dabbling in stuff they neither understand nor have any hope of ever grasping.

Ah, and before I forget: Would any thinking person have expected the Pope to visit Turkey and declare another Crusade on the shores of the Bosporus? The pontiff had to say the right words to fill nervous ears, but it is an entirely different matter whether such utterances reflect the working ideas of Vatican diplomacy. If anything, we should give more credence to both Vatican history and this particular Pope's intellectual, theological, and philosophical roots than those who rush to declare "papaturka" do.

PS: As for Greece supporting the Turkish EU bid, this is a separate sad story that requires its own detailed discussion.

Arben Yabali, Istanbul, Turkey :

I liked Nikos Konstandaras' article, but it looks very optimistic and I also do not think Cyprus is a key issue. Cyprus is a tool used by European Commission and some European countries to dictate impossible and unfair demands. First of all, Cyprus was not a problem of EU until May 2005 when Cyprus was made a member. Cyprus was and still a problem of United Nations. Does anyone think, accepting Cyprus as a member of EU was the right thing to do before finding a political solution? Now it has become both UN's and EU' s problem. But of course, making Cyprus a member before solving the issue was not a coincidence. It was the ultimate intention of EU, which explains the reason today. Greek Cypriots refused to unify the island, as we all know and rejected Annan plan, while Turkish Cypriots accepted the plan. Is it possible, Cyprus with a lower GDP than the city of Antalya, Turkey have tremendous veto power, regardless what the others think.

I also do not agree, when Konstandaras claims Greece supports Turkey's EU bid. I really doubt it. Cyprus is an independent state, but no one can argue the great influence of Greece over Cyprus, as same as Turkey over NTRC. I believe Greece is the wizard behind the curtains when it comes to Turkey and Cyprus issue as well as Turkey's EU bid.

When it comes to human rights issues, it really makes me laugh and angry. Knowing the problems of Turkish minority of Greece, I think Greece is the last one to talk about human rights issues of Turkey and the minorities. Greece does not even recognize Turks as minorities but sees them as a whole Muslim minority and does not give the right to organize. In Greece, in the past, (I don't know if this still goes on) a Turkish organization can not have a word "Turk" on its label or they could not even hang a sign which contains a word "Turk". In addition, Greece's demand of airspace is unreal, if Turkey accepts what Greece demands, some of won't be able to even enter into the seas in some parts of Aegean coast.

EU always imposes this so called bad treatment of Kurdish people; I am surprised Mr. Konstandaras did not bring this up. I am asking to him, Can Greece tolerate a Turkish origin Greek citizen to be prime minister or a minister in its cabinet. The answer is of course, NO. But this Turkey, a country which mistreats Kurds had many and many Kurdish origin prime ministers and ministers. Like today, Abdulkadir Aksu who is a 100% Kurd, is at the most important position in the Turkish cabinet, Ministry of Interior Affairs. Yes, Turkey has problems with Kurds in the southeast region but seeing this only a Kurdish problem is not accurate. The problem is socio economic, which goes beyond a only issue of Kurds. And it is Turkey's interior problem, If EU really wants to solve this issue, they must pressure Turkish governments to implement radical policies in order to develop this poor region.

As a result, Turkey will not sacrifice of anything any more; at least it is my opinion about the issue of Cyprus. If we look at the history of nations over the last decades, we have witnessed many break-ups and separation of states such as Czech Republic and Slovakia, Yugoslavia. Turkey did the right thing in 1974 and practiced its right under the treaty as a guarantor nation. Greek Cypriots do not want to live the Turks aside. Therefore, the best option is, if we want to avoid another 1974, to divide the island in two separate nations and recognize both. Remember Turkey will not loose anything if it does not have any relationship with Greek Cyprus, but Cyprus is and will. Moreover, I don't know how long EU will tolerate Cyprus using the veto power when it comes to negotiations with Turkey.

Finally, even tough I am not religious person; I think E.U. is a Christian club. It is really ironic to say, Christianity is a western value. Judaism, Christianity and Islam are all Middle Eastern religions and they all involve Ancient Middle Eastern culture and tales. The basis of all of these religions is same. However, I know for sure, that if Turkey was a predominantly Christian nation, she would be already in the EU and a major player.

I also do not agree, when Konstandaras claims Greece supports Turkey's EU bid. I really doubt it. Cyprus is an independent state, but no one can argue the great influence of Greece over Cyprus, as same as Turkey over NTRC. I believe Greece is the wizard behind the curtains when it comes to Turkey and Cyprus issue as well as Turkey's EU bid.

When it comes to human rights issues, it really makes me laugh and angry. Knowing the problems of Turkish minority of Greece, I think Greece is the last one to talk about human rights issues of Turkey and the minorities. Greece does not even recognize Turks as minorities but sees them as a whole Muslim minority and does not give the right to organize. In Greece, in the past, (I don't know if this still goes on) a Turkish organization can not have a word "Turk" on its label or they could not even hang a sign which contains a word "Turk". In addition, Greece's demand of airspace is unreal, if Turkey accepts what Greece demands, some of won't be able to even enter into the seas in some parts of Aegean coast.

EU always imposes this so called bad treatment of Kurdish people; I am surprised Mr. Konstandaras did not bring this up. I am asking to him, Can Greece tolerate a Turkish origin Greek citizen to be prime minister or a minister in its cabinet. The answer is of course, NO. But this Turkey, a country which mistreats Kurds had many and many Kurdish origin prime ministers and ministers. Like today, Abdulkadir Aksu who is a 100% Kurd, is at the most important position in the Turkish cabinet, Ministry of Interior Affairs. Yes, Turkey has problems with Kurds in the southeast region but seeing this only a Kurdish problem is not accurate. The problem is socio economic, which goes beyond a only issue of Kurds. And it is Turkey's interior problem, If EU really wants to solve this issue, they must pressure Turkish governments to implement radical policies in order to develop this poor region.

As a result, Turkey will not sacrifice of anything any more; at least it is my opinion about the issue of Cyprus. If we look at the history of nations over the last decades, we have witnessed many break-ups and separation of states such as Czech Republic and Slovakia, Yugoslavia. Turkey did the right thing in 1974 and practiced its right under the treaty as a guarantor nation. Greek Cypriots do not want to live the Turks aside. Therefore, the best option is, if we want to avoid another 1974, to divide the island in two separate nations and recognize both. Remember Turkey will not loose anything if it does not have any relationship with Greek Cyprus, but Cyprus is and will. Moreover, I don't know how long EU will tolerate Cyprus using the veto power when it comes to negotiations with Turkey.

Finally, even tough I am not religious person; I think E.U. is a Christian club. It is really ironic to say, Christianity is a western value. Judaism, Christianity and Islam are all Middle Eastern religions and they all involve Ancient Middle Eastern culture and tales. The basis of all of these religions is same. However, I know for sure, that if Turkey was a predominantly Christian nation, she would be already in the EU and a major player

MikeB :

Given Turkey's treatment of the Kurd's and other minorities, its history of annihilating whole populations and, then, simply denying that it ever happened, even getting upset and demanding apolgies from people who point this out, the EU is flat out insane even to consider Turkish membership. About the only equivalent I could think of would be to have ex-Nazi prison camp guards run a summer camp for Jewish children or have the North American Man-Boy League run the Boy Scouts.

Don, Fayetteville, NC :

Yes.

While I lived there the Turks showed great acceptance of diversiy in religions and cultures. Even more so now. Many of the accusations against them are just bigoted and unfounded.

If you want to speak of human rights, take a look at other European countries like the UK and their participation in a pre-emptive war and human rights violations in Iraq.

Turkey was a key ally of the US and western Europe through the cold war. Even now very little is publicized in regards to their support against the Soviets.

Turkey now has more liberal laws than the US, which still has the death penalty.

Turkey has made sweeping changes and has more than earned the right to change. It's about time Europeans got over their prejudism and accepted Turkey in the EU.

Ajay Jain, Dallas, USA :

The debate on Turkey's inclusion in the EU should be on the merits of the nations standing in the international community of nations by how it follows bilateral relations / treaties and the UN Charter. The often repeated reference to Turkey being an Islamic state or a predominantely Muslim state is diversionary in nature. If Turkey abides by the UN Charter and resolutions and follows its obligations to the world community then its entry into the EU should stand on its own merits

OBrien :

Interesting how the United States and the UK wishes to see Turkey admitted to the EU.

Allegedly it would improve relations between the west and the Middle East in some unspecified way, even though Turkey is looked upon as an apostate country and a former colonial master that has territorial disputes with Syria, and embargo against Armenia and water resource conflict with Iraq.

Never mind its refusal to recognize the Armenian genocide and its recent brutal campaign in suppressing Kurdish separatist and refusal to recognize the ethnic and national rights of its Kurdish citizens. (Could one imagine Turkey recognising the right to sesseion as the UK has done with Northern Ireland?)

The fact that the modern Turkish republic has ultra-nationalist and quasi-fascist roots under Ataturk is as much an impediment to its acceptance in the EU as a ìnormal Europeanî country as there is the fear of Turkey becoming over run by Islamic extremism.

As for being a NATO member not every country in the EU is itself a member and the EU itself is gradually moving in the direction of an independent (i.e. not under US stewardship) military capability.

But perhaps this gets closer to the reason the US and the UK are as keen on Turkish EU membership, perhaps as a Trojan horse to forestall any deepening of EU federalism or independent military capability while forcing the EU to engage in the Middle East through an American led NATO.

I just donít think Finns or Irish or Swedes or French are that interested in patrolling a future EU frontier bordering on Iraq, Iran or Syria while attempting to assimilate low wage Turkish migrants.

And indeed I fail to see beyond the ìfeel goodî factor how a Muslim member of the EU would be a burst of sunshine and light for Europe's Muslim underclass or curb the rise of Islamic extremism in the West or the East, since for example the EU and Turkey are currenlty powerless to influence American policy on Palestine/Israel now and one presumes in the future.

Indeed several European nations are not EU members but have a favourable association with the EU through EFTA; there is no reason why something of this kind can not be arranged for Turkey or Morocco or Tunisia.

If EU is to admit a ìMuslim nationî then that should be Albania, Bosnia and Kosovo, all of the European family of nations and if it wants to admit a large new member state to the east then perhaps it should be Ukraine.

AM, Vienna, VA :

When Turkey abides by the agreements it signed last year, then Turkey should be eligible to join. However, Turkey is trying to pick and choose the parts of the agreement by which it will abide. (These include recognizing ALL members of the EU, and dropping the threats of war against ANY member of the EU). I expected that as a result of the application process, Turkey would drop her belligerence towards her minorities and her neighbors. There is NO indication of that.

By way of example, no state of the US can decide to not recognize another state, or threaten any of its neighboring states with war, or that only those who submit to the 'majority' (in that state) culture will be accepted (try opening a new church in Turkey; or use the letters 'q' or 'x' if you are Kurdish).

The next decision is WHETHER Turkey should join the EU. That will have an impact on both, but more on Turkey. For Turkey to join the EU, Turkey's Islamic character must weaken, but the EU must support Turkey economically to the tune of many billions. They must BOTH decide that THEY both want the union. And yes, part of that is the fact that the EU is based on Christianity whereas Turkey is Muslim. However distasteful that may be to some, it is an important factor.

of course :

Yes, of course. Wonderful Turkey, with all it's talent and potential should join whatever it wishes. Lucky the group it wishes to join.

Baris, Izmir, Turkey :

I'd like to try to clarify the 'predominantly Muslim' epithet. (Disclaimer: I am not a sociologist—I am a physicist, so this is only one person's opinion. However, I think I'm not too far off the mark here.

Some 95%+ of Turkey's 70M+ population would say, yes, they are muslims. But then you must distinguish between practicing muslims and non-practicing muslims. (Note that some interpretations of Islam say there's no such thing as a nonpracticing muslim, but the 'non-practicing muslims' would say they are muslims.) A sizeable portion of that 95%, and probably most of the muslims in the big cities, fall under the non-practicing category. You could then further divide the 'practicing muslims' into various categories and cultures that sometimes overlap: (by outlook) The moderates, the conservatives and the radicals; (by sect) Sunnis, Shia, Alevis and more; (by living style) urban, rural (a good deal of rural folk just consider Islam as part of their culture rather than something separate from daily life), tribal (tribal culture still exists in Southeast Turkey, where the Kurdish population is most common)... So it's not as simple as it seems.

Turkey is a country roughly the size of Texas geographically with 6 times the population of Texas and with much richer geological features. You can see all of the four seasons somewhere in Turkey at the same time all year round. It is and has been a bridge between cultures; many of the ancient trade routes pass through turkey and many a war has been fought on its soil. Turkey is the home to the most ancient city known to man. It has had a rich history of Greeks, Romans, Persians, Hittites, Babylonians, Turks... It has seen great poverty and great riches, both materially and culturally. This country has one of the most, if not THE most, complex amalgams of culture on earth.

My point is, please refrain from labelling Turkey with a single epithet. It's a lot more complex than that. The labels just won't fit.

reporter, USA, http://theclearsky.blogspot.com/ :

The International Herald Tribune recently reported, "Turkish officials say the EU is applying a double standard. ... A recent European Commission report assessing Turkey's membership progress rebuked the country for its failure to meet minimum standards on human rights and cited concerns over the rights of women.

It also highlighted "serious economic and social problems" facing the minority Kurdish population in the southeast of the country and chastised Turkey for its resistance to amending Article 301 of its penal code, which makes "insulting Turkishness" a crime and has been used to press charges against writers, including the 2006 Nobel literature laureate, Orhan Pamuk." (2006 November 21)

http://www.iht.com/articles/2006/11/21/news/turkey.php

Supporting human rights, which includes civil rights (like freedom of speech), is not rocket science. Supporting human rights is simply a matter of your wanting to support human rights. Look at the Eastern Europeans. They needed no prompting whatsoever and immediately proceeded to enact laws (including new national constitutions) to support human rights when the yoke of Soviet oppression was removed.

Now, look at the Turks. In response to appropriate demands by the European Union (EU), the Turks begrudingly made minor (almost negligible) changes to Turkish law to improve the status of human rights in Turkey. Most Turks view these changes as a concession — as a favor — done for the benefit of the Europeans, not the Turks.

The attitude of the Turks and the attitude of the Eastern Europeans are shockingly different.

The Turks paint the problem as the Europeans' being racist against Turks and being prejudiced against Islam. In reality, the problem is not the Europeans. The problem is the Turks. They are the bigots. They reject Western values.

If the Europeans admitted the Turks (and their bigotry) into the EU, then the Turks would diminish human rights in the EU and would degrade the standard of EU admission. An EU polluted with Turkish values would likely admit today's authoritarian Russia into the EU.

Until the Turks openly and enthusiastically embrace Western values, we in the West should oppose admitting Turkey into the EU. Moreover, Washington should review its immigration policy with the aim of reducing immigration from undesirable countries like Turkey.

AM, Vienna, VA :

Jonathan Braun, New York, USA, Managing Partner, http://www.badnergroup.com at December 4, 2006 10:43 AM

With all due respect that has all the indications of a 'sponsored' post.

Let us recognize that there has been no 'breakthrough in peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians and Israel and Syria'; let us also recognize that the road to 'undercut(ing) Iran's spreading influence in the Middle East and help counter the rising tide of Islamist extremism' is to resolve the plight of the Palestinians, not to mention eliminating the arrogance that the Bush administration has exhibited.

The issues that Turkey's EU application face are strictly the creation of Turkey: The continuing oppression of her minorities (the Kurds but the Christians as well are suffering in Turkey) is a major obstacle that only Turkey can resolve. The failure by Turkey to recognize ALL member states of teh EU is also an obstacle that only Turkey can resolve; afterall, Turkey signed an agreement that states that Turkey will do so. The continuing threats of war against EU members are also for Turkey to cease.

The fact that Turkey is not a liked neighbor by any of her neighbors, should give pause to think.

The same arguments about Turkey's great value were made when NATO was about to go to Afghanistan. The reality is that the advantages have not materialized. Not in Afghanistan, and not anywhere else in the Middle East.

In short, the advantage of Turkey becoming a member of the EU is that Turkey will change her beligerent attitude towards her neighbors. That may not be sufficient.

Metin, Newport Beach, California :

As an American of Turkish descent, I do not believe that Turkey needs to enter the EU, a political entity. Turkey aready is a part of Europe geographically, and even competes in tournaments all the time under the 'Europe' bracket, and is considered European worthy by many. I think the EU is a dying proposition, one that Turkey may play a second fiddle role in. The EU is the new sick 'men' of Europe whereas Turkey is not too far from becoming an economic force to reckon with.

Granting a different/special status for Turkey by Europe can be a better outcome, as well as Turkey aligning itself with Russia and other Turkic Republics. A leading role in an eastern bloc community may even pave the road for a United States of Eurasia (USE) where Turkey can be a great ally of the US, and Istanbul its capital. This can be a replacement for NATO, outlived its existence by some years. Then maybe the EU will wish it had invited Turkey with open arms.

It's not a question of whether EU will allow Turkey in. It should be about whether Turkey should consider joining!

Metin
www.talkturkey.us

AM, Vienna, VA :

Prof. Dr. Muhammad Shamsaddin Megalommatis, Cairo - Egypt at December 4, 2006 10:50 AM

A long post that prompted me use 'Google'. You have posted this same article many times. Obviously you do not have an interest in the subject of this blog. What are you really interestd in, and why don't you just state that, instead of the over-long post?

AM, Vienna, VA :

Prof. Dr. Muhammad Shamsaddin Megalommatis, Cairo - Egypt at December 4, 2006 10:50 AM

Now on tho the post: Of course there can be only 1 EU, that strives towards agreed upon common goals. To that end, the behavior of applicants is revealing:

1. Refusal to acknowledge the massacrs against the Armenians, and subsequent repeated massacres of Christians until the 50's and 60's, shows that Turkey has no remorse.

2. The continued oppression of minorities, The Kurds as well as the Christians, to this day, show that Turkey has not yet decided to share the values of the members of the EU.

The remainder of the post is frankly too incoherent and irrelevant to post, let alone read and/or respond to.

In short, it is incumbent on Turkey to adjust to the current members of the EU. Not vice-versa.

Stavros, Portland, Maine :

As someone who has experienced "democratic" Turkey up close and personal during the Greek "Kristalnacht" in 1955 (if you don't know what I'm talking about you know nothing about Turkey), when my family and I barely escaped with our lives, I find it humorous in the extreme that Turks would now like to fulfill Ataturk's dream by becoming full-fledged Europeans. Let's forget what Turkey has done and is doing to its minorities; let's forget Turkey's aggressive military actions in the Aegean, Cyprus, and Iraq. Let's forget Turkey's inability to forge a true democracy where its own people are no longer jailed for exercising the right of free speech or practicing their religion. After all, Americans and Europeans have skeletons in their closets, don't they? It's all in the past, let's move on. Turks have changed their ways. Unfortunately, too many Americans (and a number of Europeans) are anxious to relegate the past and the present to obscurity and too many more don't have a clue about the true nature of their so-called Turkish "ally." Americans who encourage Europeans to absorb 70 million Turks, fail to understand, nor do they have to live with the consequences of such an action. It's time we shut up and mind our own business for a change. Perhaps our time would be better spent putting our own house in order. Furthermore, how can anyone say Turkey is a good friend and ally, with a straight face, given the fact that they have let us down at every turn in the recent war in Iraq. Change in Turkey must come from within. It cannot be initiated in Washington or Brussels. The agents of change are neither the Kemalists nor the Islamists but forward thinking, honest Turks who are presently in very short supply. I wish them well.

Tom Wonacott, Boise, Idaho :

To PG:

Turkey needs to meet the criteria of the EU before they are admitted. Human rights, especially women's rights and minority rights, and the Republic of Cyprus, which Turkey does not recognize as the sole government over the island of Cyprus, need to be addressed before admittance to the European Union.

From the New York Times (editorial) Dec. 3rd:

"...It is obvious why Turkey would want to join Europe?s wealthy club. But Europe and all of the West have a lot to gain as well. The prospect of membership is already encouraging Ankara to make needed political and economic reforms, although a lot more needs to be done. Turkey?s admission would be a strong sign that the West truly believes its claims of tolerance and respect for all religions.

As he left Istanbul, the pope said he hoped his visit would bring ?civilizations progressively closer.? The European Union should listen."

The Pope and the New York Times seem to support Turkey's admittance for the same reasons, but the rules should not be altered JUST because Turkey is a Muslim nation; however, Turkey should not be denied JUST because it's a Muslim nation, as well.

Tom Wonacott, Boise, Idaho :

AM

What do you think of Israel's latest proposal for peace to Hamas?

Anju Chandel, New Delhi, India. :

Yes and No.

Yes, because Turkey does have 'value system' similar to the European society.

And, No, because the Turkish society is fast losing its 'liberal' sense and embracing 'fundamentalism'.

In order to be a part of the EU, Turkey will have to behave and practice EU values. Otherwise, the country would be a misfit and the EU should not include it in its union.

The ball is in Turkey's courts!

metin, newport beach, california :

I once posted the following on my blog http://www.talkturkey.us

NO TO EU!
http://www.talkturkey.us/2006/05/wwid_no_to_euro.html

"First and foremost, the EU is a political alliance, a federated entity of states, much like the US, but unlike the US, with each state in Europe representative of a nationalistic, and racial, as well as ethnic bias. So joining or not joining the EU is not an indicator of 'belonging' to Europe or being accepted by the Europeans, as far as socially, economically, philosophically, geographically or even culturally.

Second, this should be a case of the interviewer impressing the interviewee and not the other way around. Especially given the prospect that the EU is doomed to fail by unifying the differing forces of Europe without a real common cause. The presence and insistence of nationalistic agendas of individual states negatively affects any team resolve, and will be followed by infighting and demise of the union concept. The decentralized approach to governing the masses with minimal respect for the centralized body will also eventually lead to disconnect with the 'figurehead' approach of the governing body.

The complexities of the responsibilites of the 'haves,' along with the status symbol-itis and wanna be-isms of the 'have nots,' will require all parties to be faithful to the matrimonial arrangement of convenience, amid signs of 'cheating' by the not so easily satisfied, and the hungry for affairs of attraction and distraction. Thereby, a breakup is imminent and foreseen by historical experts.

There are no real advantages for Turkey's admission from the Europeans' perspective, including reasons even Turks admit privately but not publicly, of non-equality and uneven standards, as well as the presence of harboring hundreds of years of animosity and fear. From Turkey's point of view, why is such an invitation even worthy of the pride and prejudice that Turks continue to employ, practice and preach, in the interest of a subliminal role of belonging.

Is Turkey accepting of a secondary role in a waning power struggle, or would Turkey be respected more by the powers to be, if it had its own agenda of being a power broker, and possibly a strategic superpower in that part of the world yearning for such a leader.

I guess Turkey should reevaluate whether it is fine with being a follower, or expose its true intentions of being a leader. Of course, its leadership qualities are questionable so far, but the new generation of global perspective educators, as well as the new world order followers can gain political access, take advantage of the national hunger for respectful leading, and bring Turkey finally out of the closet.

I guess that's the long-range plan of the ruling party in Turkey - and before you may object remember there's more to it than meets the eye. In fact, I applaud their wait-and-see attitude in the hopes that EU will fail sooner than Turkey's dreams of becoming a EU member will ever prevail.

Bottom line is that Turkey should partner with the EU, but not necessarily accept the typecast role as just another EU member. The US, China, Russia and others would be better off without the prospect of losing another future decision maker to the 'elusive' club of indecisive opportunists and inactivists.

If the popular game show 'Deal or No Deal' is any analogical indicator, Turkey striking a deal with the EU brokers for a lesser position even though its own case has been revealed to contain the higher value would be foolish. Say 'NO' to joining the EU once and for all!"

As for the Armenian Genocide issue that keeps popping up as the reason to deny Turkey membership into the EU, I have a message for all parties:

No matter the origin, perpetrators, or excuse, it's about time for real debate and discussion by all relevant parties. It's the responsibility of both sides to resolve this issue once and for all. All guilty parties should admit guilt so that the long process of reconciliation and healing can then begin. History is full of unjust occurrences, as well as enough holocausts. We can only learn from the mistakes of the past as we play out the current chapter, and prepare future generations to become admirers of our courage and unselfish acts of global matrimony. Let's not allow pride and prejudice get in the way. Let's eliminate all of the reasons for the continued hatred that seems to serve the needs of a certain segment of the population who delight in continued discord. Let's beat them at their own game.

Dr. Amir Matin, Canada :


There is an insurmountable cultural gap between Europe and Turkey. Turkey is still in denial of its oppressive actions and insists on subjugating minorities. Therefore, as it stands Turkey does not qualify to be a full member of EU. However, Turkey is demonstrating signs of change and it is a positive step for EU to keep pressuring Turkey for fundamental changes in preparation to its EU membership. If successful, it will be a model of cultural exchange, tolerance and dialog between east and west. The least achievement of this union would be the improvement of human rights for nearly 70 million Turkish residents and its overflow impact on the rest of middle east. EU should seriously pursue Turkey adhesion project. Its positive democratic and cultural improvements will by far exceed the economical gains.

Rick Morren, Uithoorn, the Netherlands :

Absolutely ! The EU will benefit and the pro's certainly outweigh the con's when it comes to cultural heritage, democracy, economics and geographical location. Religion should be a non-issue, because the EU states are all secular and so is Turkey. Even the Pope changed his mind on that subject. Also the so-called "Armenian genocide" is an issue which does not belong within the sphere of EU-Turkey membership discussions, but rather needs to be discussed between Armenia and Turkey, regardless of the strong world-wide Armenian lobby, which over the years has turned this issue into an industry. Also the Cyprus issue is out of context in these discussions. This has been and should continue to be an issue to be solved between Cyprus and Turkey, arbitrated by the UN. Obviously there are still a large number of problems to be ironed out between the EU and Turkey, but I believe that with the right attitude of all the parties involved, the EU can only gain by having Turkey as a full member.

Rick Morren - editor EU-Digest at http://www.eu-digest.com

Nanne Zwagerman, Berlin, Germany :

Why does Turkey matter to us?

In American foreign-policy thinking the most widespread argument for pushing the EU to accept Turkey into its arms is the supposed transformational power of the decision. By taking up a Muslim, second world country the EU is supposed to show the world that the cultural and economic standards of what we still call the west are open to everyone. This is one of the few really bipartisan foreign-policy ideas, supported by Clinton as well as by both Bush 41 and 43. The view was repeated in recent comments by US undersecretary of State Nicolas Burns:

"Historians will say it is one of these important decisions the Europeans made ... at the beginning of the 21st century, to open the EU up to this major Muslim secular democracy"

In the EU, we should be extremely careful about this idea, because in a way, it asks us to embrace Turkey precisely because of the aspects that separate us. We will be ill-served by this kind of enlightened idealism when we want to work with Turkey on the things that unite the EU, like respect for diversity, human rights, international law and a dynamic economic system that rewards all people's efforts. Turkey still has some way to go on all of these.

The potential reward of welcoming Turkey is also belied by the more detailed cleavages that exist in the Middle East. Turkey's neigbours are Arabs - who dislike Turkey for having been an occupying country and not being or speaking Arab; Iranians, who are of a different Islamic denomination; Armenians, who are Christian and have some old issues with Turkey, and Georgians who are also Christian. Turkish entry into the EU could well serve to enlarge instead of bridge these cleavages, especially those with the Arab world.

There are other, more important geostrategic reasons for wanting Turkey in the EU. Most notably, Turkey is the only alternative route to Russia for oil and gas from Central Asia. Just yesterday, the EU signed a memorium of understanding on closer energy ties with Kazakhstan. One of the things discussed was extending the Baku-Tblisi-Ceyhan pipeline, which runs from the Caspian sea to the Mediterranean. Pipelines to Iran and Iraq also run through Turkey. If we are unsure about the intentions of Russia, as we have every reason to be, we can't allow ourselves to alienate Turkey.

Although strategic considerations matter, they don't suffice as a reason for wantint Turkey in the EU. The ultimate reason should be that it has a culture and economy that is already strongly integrated into the European Union. Both sides will become richer if the process of integration is carried forward successfully. Turkey is still a large, poor country, but it is richer than the Ukraine and many Balkan states that are considered to be up for membership. The average income of its people is comparable to Bulgaria and Romania, two countries which will enter the EU next January 1st. In addition, it has a healthy economic and demographic development which should put it in a better position when it is up for entry. Which is 2014, at the earliest.

Turkish complaints that the EU is 'measuring with two sizes' (Dutch proverb) are somewhat justified, because the European Union has cut Romania and especially Bulgaria an enormous amount of slack by not postponing their entry after they failed part of the requirements. Turkey, instead, is now being held up to the rules that had been set. But this is necessary. The process of integrating Turkey is a much more difficult one. We can get there in the end, and should do as much as we can. But the issue is too politically sensitive among the European population to allow Turkey to enter when it is only halfway ready. At the same time, we need to get a stronger commitment from the national leaders of the EU, who need to signal again that they will allow Turkey in when it meets all of the requirements.

To walk this tightrope, we need to stop thinking about Turkey as a geostrategic or cultural prize, and start thinking about Turkey as a European country.

This entry will be crossposted at http://djnozem.blogspot.com

Nanne Zwagerman, Berlin, Germany

Vedapushpa-Bangalore-India :

It is very heartening that we have a Pope - who represents the massive Christian-population of the world is not any 'staunch' leader of the Christian Faith in terms of Churchdom or a 'Denomination' but is a genuine 'religio-philosophical leader' of the Old Christian Faith which like the olden Islam or the olden Hinduism is far more 'Inclusive - Spiritualistic and Cosmic' which shows 'the paths' of transcending the human sectarian differences of sorts like caste-creed-state and nation.

By that logic - as Pope suggests Turkey should join the EU - but the issue therein will be a freshly aggreeed upon All-EU religio-cultural ethos with a primacy of 'citizenery-status' for all public transactions and a due delimitation of religion without making it irrelevant socially and individually.

Vedapushpa
[Social Anthropologist]

AM, Vienna, VA :

Tom Wonacott, Boise, Idaho at December 4, 2006 10:43 PM

Sorry for the long delay in responding :)

"Israel's latest proposal for peace to Hamas" is the subject for another blog. But the brief response is that it is a beginning but insufficient and, I believe, insincere.

AM, Vienna, VA :

Tom Wonacott, Boise, Idaho at December 4, 2006 10:32 PM

I agree: "Turkey should not be denied JUST because it's a Muslim nation". There is an undercurrent of that in some of the posts.

I also agree that "the rules should not be altered JUST because Turkey is a Muslim nation". This is the basic argument of those who favor Turkey's admittance to the EU, however. And they all seem to be English or from the US. That is interesting since the US, of course, is not a member of the EU; and Britain does not fully participate in all EU activities. In other words, those who are most insistent on the EU accomodating Turkey,
(1) Are not full members of the EU;
(2) Have a large responsibility for the animosity the Muslim world has for the West.

:

metin, newport beach, california at December 5, 2006 12:16 AM

You posted about the genocide of the Armenians (do you realize that mentioning that is a criminal offense in Turkey, by the way?) "No matter the origin, perpetrators, or excuse, it's about time for real debate and discussion by all relevant parties. It's the responsibility of both sides to resolve this issue once and for all. All guilty parties should admit guilt so that the long process of reconciliation and healing can then begin. History is full of unjust occurrences, as well as enough holocausts. We can only learn from the mistakes of the past as we play out the current chapter, and prepare future generations to become admirers of our courage and unselfish acts of global matrimony. Let's not allow pride and prejudice get in the way. Let's eliminate all of the reasons for the continued hatred that seems to serve the needs of a certain segment of the population who delight in continued discord. Let's beat them at their own game."

By refusing to acknowledge the genocide against the Armenians, and the subsequent massacres against the Christians (they continued until the 60's), and the continuing oppression of the Kurds, Turkey:

(1) is being immature and insecure;
(2) has not yet decided to share the values of the members of the EU

Acknowledging responsibility for the massacres has a cathartic effect. Eliminating the oppression of the religious and ethnic minorities, can only help Turkey. It will also help relieve the concerns of Turkey's neighbors.

Joy Roy Choudhury, Calcutta, India :

By saying that Turkey should be a part of the EU, the Pope actually has restated the vision Mustafa Kemal had of modern Turkey as a shining star. The establishment of modern Turkish republic in October 23 and the enactment of its first constitution in April 1924 sanctioned the evolution and transformation of Turkey from an Islamic empire to a secular nation-state. Mustafa Kemal's religious policy was never aimed at destroying Islam but rather at disestabilising it, ending the power of authoritative religion and improving social and economic contours of the society by a window-opening to the western world.

Geographically, Turkey bridges the gap between Europe and Asia. It is also poised to bridge the gap in terms of cultural ideologies, liberalism, science and technology. This is bound to have an impact on other Islamic countries where education, proper employment and eradication of poverty should be the primary focus.

If this is understood, then its quite certain to say that Turkey should belong to EU. And Turkey is a role model for other Islamic countries of Asia in terms of development in socio-economic and political arenas.

So, Turkey's inclusion in EU cannot be debated by any means. Its rallying cry for western modernization conjunct with Islamic liberalization is good for global harmony and peace. Turkey's progress is like journey worth emulating and "it is good to have an end to journey toward ; but it is the journey that matters, in the end". ( Ursula K. Le Guin )

Joy Roy Choudhury, Calcutta, India
E-Aryans

Mustafa Akyol, Istanbul, www.thewhitepath.com :


Yes, Turkey should join the European Union. And for those who think
globally, it is not hard to see why: Turkey's entry into the EU will
be the testimony to the idea that West and Islam can live and even
work together. It won't just transform Europe and Turkey; it will
also create new hopes in the Middle East. "If Turkey did it," other
Muslims will ask about modernization and democratization, "why not us."

It is true that Turkey must change to fully join the EU, as Mr.
Konstandaras argues, but Turkey is already changing - towards
liberalism, of course - thanks to the EU process itself. If the
process is cut, Turkey will again change dramatically, but towards a
direction none of us will be pleased with. The anti-EU forces in
Turkey are also the enemies of freedom; the death of the EU process
will bring about their triumph and thus the defeat of liberty.

It is no secret that the EU is divided into two about Turkey's fate.
Those who oppose Turkey's bid seem to have two major themes: That the
EU is a "Christian club," and that Turkey is too poor and too populous.

However those who wish to keep the EU as a "Christian Club" have a
little problem: Much of Europe is not Christian at all anymore. Pope
Benedict XVI sees this more clearly - and considerately - from the
political supporters of the "Christian Club," and perhaps it is not a
coincidence that, unlike them, the Holy Father's main message in the
past years has been the need to re-inform post-Christian Europe with
traditional theistic values. Some conservative commentators in
Europe, and especially the US, see Islam as a grave threat in the
face of this wishy-washy Europe, and emphasize on the "Islamic
threat" to "awaken" the continent; but the Pope has given more
ecumenical messages, which implies that he sees Muslims as allies in
his effort to confront moral relativism. Some have considered his
Regensburg speech as an initiative to confront Islam, too, but his
recent trip to Turkey and the stance he took there indicates that it
was militant Islamism, not Islam itself, that he wanted to take on.
As for moderate Islam, such as the one in Turkey, the Pope's hope is
to see it "join his project of overcoming secularism," according to
Phillip Blond and Adrian Pabst (http://www.iht.com/articles/
2006/11/29/opinion/edblond.php).

This ecumenism of the Pope renders the "Christian Club" argument
against Turkey meaningless. The most Christian of all, the Pope,
doesn't seem buy the story.

To the argument that Turkey is too poor and too populous, the answer
would be, "yes, but it has a flourishing market economy." However,
some Europeans are afraid of exactly that: the free market which
seems to challenge their beloved welfare state. It is no accident
that the fiercest opponents of Turkey in the EU - the French and the
Germans - also abhor "Anglo-Saxon liberalism." They roughly
constitute, to quote an American politician who is not very popular
nowadays, "Old Europe." They just does not want to see a cheap and
hard working class in their midst.

That's why saying yes or no to Turkey is about the size of your
vision: If your main concern is "the Turkish plumber," you will say
no. If your main concern is to avert a clash of civilizations, you
can't afford to say anything accept "yes."

* Mustafa Akyol is a Turkish Muslim writer and columnist based in
Istanbul, Turkey. He writes regular opinion columns for the Turkish
Daily News and a few other Turkish dailies. His pieces have also
appeared on publications like the Washington Post, International
Herald Tribune, The Weekly Standard and others. His blog is at
www.thewhitepath.com.

Professor Henri Barkey :

The European Union has never been about borders or geographical limits. Through each expansion cycle, the European Union enlarged the circle of stability and prosperity. The EU's founders always conceived of Europe as a community of solidarity and common destiny, not just a common market.

Turkey, it is true, occupies only a sliver of European territory. At first glance, it is also a country that does not share the old continent's cultural roots. Yet, from the Ottoman times onward it has historically been part of the European international system. Moreover, the Ottoman Empire and the modern Turkish state have both oriented themselves towards Europe.

The Pope has changed his mind about Turkey's accession to Europe and he is right in doing so. If Europe is a community of values, it ought not reject a prospective member who not only aspires to share in this quest but also has the weight of history behind it.

Where Europe is right is in insisting that Turkey fully adheres to all of its criteria for membership. There can be no shortcuts to membership and Turkey is saddled with numerous problems, including one of minorities, that are extremely hard to tackle and will require time and patience.

The Turkish accession process will be long, perhaps as long as twenty years. It is then that Europe will have to make the decision as to whether it should admit Turkey and not now. Twenty years from now Turkey will be a very different society. Europe has to give Turkey a chance to show that it can live up to these ideals.

Written for PostGlobal by Henri Barkey. Henri J. Barkey is the Bernard L. and Bertha F. Cohen Professor in International Relations and International Relations Department Chair at Lehigh University. He served as a member of the U.S. State Department Policy Planning Staff (1998-2000) working primarily on issues related to the Middle East, the Eastern Mediterranean and intelligence.

Istanbul Tory, Turkey http://istanbultory.blogspot.com/ :

A view from Istanbul

I have lived in Turkey for many years and am fully familiar with the reality of Turkish life and society.
As Cardinal Ratzinger,the Pope espoused the view that Turkey was a Middle Eastern country that did not belong in the EU. He also also publicly cautioned Europe against admitting Turkey and wrote to bishops explaining the reason for his stand:
"The roots that have formed Europe, that have permitted the formation of this continent, are those of Christianity. Turkey has always represented another continent, in permanent contrast with EuropeÖ. It would be an error to equate the two continents...Turkey is founded upon Islam...Thus the entry of Turkey into the EU would be anti-historical."

In a striking reversal of opinion, he said on his visit to Turkey that he now backed Turkey's bid to join the European Union. Or did he?. The Vatican was later forced to put out a statement on the question of Turkey and the EU. It said: "The Holy See does not have the power or specific task, politically, to intervene on the precise point of Turkey's entrance into the European Union. It does not strive for itÖ " So not exactly a Papal U-turn then.

As to the substance of EU-Turkey relations...The country's flagging political reform process, the limitations on free speech, and Ankara's continuing refusal to allow access to its airports and harbors to vessels from EU member Cyprus have raised legitimate concern in European capitals. The European Commission has proposed freezing talks on eight of the 35 policy ìchaptersî into which the accession talks are divided. The suspension is a severe, perhaps fatal, blow to Turkey's decades-old attempt to join the bloc. Most Europeans will, however, be rather pleased at this development (let's be honest about it). With its population growing by nearly a million a year, Turkey would be the most populous country in the EU by the time it joined.

Few Europeans wish to see an almost entirely Asian developing country with a strong Islamic identity inside the EU. No European society is such a complex mosaic. ValÈry Giscard d'Estaing, the architect of the new European constitution, has said that Turkey was "not a European country". It had "a different culture, a different approach, and a different way of life". Few

The former EU Austrian commissioner, Franz Fischler, provoked controversey in 2004 by asserting that the scale of anti-Turkish public opinion across the EU should not be ignored. "The EU can't just be a construct of diplomats" he said.
And thatís a fact most European politicians would be wise not to ignore. I doubt if the Popeís change of heart vis-‡-vis Turkey will impact much on European public opinion. In any case, Turkish public support for entering the EU is perceptibly weakening. According to a June 2006 poll by the Pew Research Center, Turkish support for the EU has fallen to 35 percent, down from almost 80 percent three years ago.Turkey clearly isnít ready to assume the responsibilities of EU membership. Nor do its political class and populace really wish to do so. The romance with the EU is over but a divorce is hardly imminent.

Atheist, Boston, USA :

The Turkisk threat indicates the problem with Turkey.

Various Turks and other Islamic bigots repeat the same tired threat: if the European Union (EU) refuses to grant membership to Turkey, then the Turks will backtrack on their support for human rights, democracy, and other Western values.

Look closely at that threat. Read it slowly. Feel the bigotry. Savor it.

Now, consider Poland, Czechoslovakia, and other Eastern European nations. Even if they were not admitted to the EU, the citizens of these nations would still be committed to embracing human rights, democracy, and other Western values. After the Soviet empire relinquished its stranglehold on Eastern Europe, its citizens — without knowing whether they would ever be admitted into the EU — promptly and aggressively pursued Western-style modernization.

That is the fundamental difference between (1) Turks and Islamic bigots and (2) Westerners.

Admitting Turkey into the EU would hugely damage the quality of life in the EU. Washington is wrong in trying to pressure the Europeans to admit Turkey into the EU.

Washington has been wrong on several occasions. The most recent example is the neoconservative claptrap about how everyone yearns for human rights and democracy. The neo-conservative idiots used this claptrap to justify committing troops in a long-term war in Iraq. These idiots were wrong, and the Iraqis told us so by exploding bomb after bomb.

Angela Merkel is right. Just say "No" to Turkey. She should also say "No" to Washington as well.

Martin, Wales, UK :

As recently as 1995 there were concerns in Europe that there might be a military coup in Turkey. The idea that the country is a free, stable democracy ready to join the EU in the immediate future is risible.

When Turkey has established a track record as a stable liberal democracy it will be ready to join an association that is exclusively for stable liberal democracies.

From the US Library of Congress:

The political obstacles to EU membership concern Turkey's domestic and foreign policies. Because the European body prides itself on being an association of democracies, the 1980 military coup—in a country enjoying associate status—was a severe shock. The harshness of repression under the military regime further disturbed the EC—many EC leaders knew personally the former Turkish leaders whom the military put on trial for treason. The EC responded by freezing relations with Turkey and suspending economic aid. A related body, the Council of Europe, also expelled Turkey from its parliamentary assembly. The restoration of civilian rule gradually helped to improve Turkey's image. In 1985 Germany's prime minister signaled the EC's readiness to resume dialogue with Turkey by accepting an invitation to visit Ankara. The following year, the EC restored economic aid and permitted Turkey to reoccupy its seats in European deliberative councils. Nevertheless, frequent veiled threats by Turkey's senior military officers of future interventions if politicians "misbehaved" did not inspire confidence in Europe that democracy had taken permanent root in Turkey. As late as 1995, some Europeans remained apprehensive about the possibility of another military coup, a concern that was shared by various Turkish politicians.

EU members have also expressed reservations about Turkey's human rights record. Amnesty International and Helsinki Watch, two human rights monitoring organizations supported by the EU, have reported the persistence of practices such as arbitrary arrests, disappearances, extrajudicial killings, torture in prisons, and censorship. The Turkish Human Rights Association, itself subject to harassment and intimidation tactics, has prepared detailed chronologies and lists of human rights abuses, including the destruction of entire villages without due process, and has circulated these reports widely in Europe. The documented reports of human rights abuses, like the coup rumors, sustained questions about Turkey's qualifications to join a collective body of countries that have striven to achieve uniform standards for protecting citizen rights.

————————————————————-

Seems clear and reasonable enough to me.

Source:
http://countrystudies.us/

This website contains the on-line versions of books previously published in hard copy by the Federal Research Division of the Library of Congress as part of the Country Studies/Area Handbook Series sponsored by the U.S. Department of the Army between 1986 and 1998. Each study offers a comprehensive description and analysis of the country or region's historical setting, geography, society, economy, political system, and foreign policy.

E USA :

I find it very ironic ( sad actually) that the vast majority of those suggesting Turkey does not belong in the EU are Greek. I wonder if their opinion is firmly rooted in racism rather then intellectual reason. For all the real or imagined wrongs that Greeks may feel that Turks have done to or against them, the bottom line is this....Greece is far better off with a European focused Turkey in the EU then one focused towards Iran. You can keep putting hurdles up like little kids on a playground you feel the need for revenge or you can grow up and move on. Remember your history is not perfect or pure...no race or group on this Earth can claim that. I just hope there are more Greeks in this world who have a broader world view then one hung up in bigotry. I know of at least one....my husband.

MikeB :

E, USA - I'm not Greek. I'm, in fact, Native American, but having lived in Europe and met with people from all over the world AND having read history, I cannot fathom how anyone can justify Turkey's entry into the EU. Turkish treatment of the Kurd's is beyond horrible. This is a country hat used poison gas to murder tens of thousands of Kurdish people and ther minorities and forcably relocated millions of others. There are photographs and film, as late as LAST YEAR, of Turkish troops machine gunning Kurdish civilians and burining Kurdish villages. And...none of this even begins to address the Turkish treatment of Armenian's. Turkey's history, both ancient and recent, is so barbaric, so covered in blood and pain, that no one human would even consider them for entry into the EU, much less into civilized society. And, please cease comparing European barbarism to Turkish barbarism. The history of Turkey makes Hilter's SS look like a Boy Scout troop. Not just "no" to Turkey, but "hell no".

AM, Vienna, VA :

E USA at December 5, 2006 01:13 PM

I believe that you are acting on your assumptions, rather than the reality of the posts. My observation is that Greeks WANT a Europeanized Turkey in the EU. Greece is now the main advocate for Turkey in the EU. The only proviso is that Turkey abide by ALL agreements she already made to join the EU. Of course, it is taken for granted that Turkey will drop the threats of war. The primary disappointment is that Turkey's behavior has not improved. In other words, Turkey continues to behave as though Greece is her primary enemy.

To be sure, Greece will be better off with a European focused Turkey, as long as Turkey changes her behavior. Without a change, and so far there has been none, then a European-focused Turkey is actually a greater threat towards Greece as well as her other neighbors. Please bear in mind that Turkey is disliked by ALL her neighbors. You see, Turkey aspires to be THE regional superpower, and wants her neighbors to bow to that. They are instead so unreasonable, that they prefer to deal with equals.

So, remember, Greece only requires that Turkey adhere, as any civilized country would, to the agreements that Turkey has already signed. That includes respect for, and acceptance of, ALL members of the EU. It also requires respect for the rights of the ethnic and religious minorities in Turkey. These are required of ALL applicants PRIOR to membership. That is, they are a pre-condition for membership.

I hope that you and your enlightened Greek husband appreciate that.

daniel :

This is one of those questions where you really wish you could go to the country questioned (North Korea, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Palestine, etc. are some others) before speaking at all.

Teams of truly sensitive and intelligent people need to go to the trouble spots in the world (all countries really) to inform us all. But I suppose reporters do that...

How is a person supposed to comment on Turkey?

I do believe it should not be approached as a territory. It seems the sticking point is that it is Western but Muslim...

Turkey as the overlap of the fields of Islam and the West.

Will this result in Europe being more threatened by Muslim extremism or will it result in the wider spread of secular civilization?

I doubt the problem of Islam and the West will be solved in the piecemeal fashion of trying to pull a Muslim nation into the orbit of the West.

Islam is something that spans nations and is not something diminished by acquiring this territory or that—unless acquiring a territory actually pushes Islam out across the waters as when Spain was retaken for Christianity.

If the problem is not solved at the heart of Islam taking Turkey will only provide a bridge into the West.

Islam should be thought of as a field (as in physics) and the West should be taken as such as well.

The question is whether the West has had enough influence on Turkey or whether the field of Islam is latent within and will be a massive disruption.

I have no idea how to answer that question. All I do know is that the confrontation of Islam with the West is not so much about territory but ideas—or if it is about territory, well then Islam is most definitely winning because they are emigrating to the Western nations and we are not emigrating to the Islamic nations...

If they are emigrating to the Western nations and we try to take Turkey...how is this an embrace of Turkey into the Western orbit? How is this not a delayed conquering of Vienna? (It took them awhile, but it was accomplished,—as if a wave after repeated crashings just ran up the beach and slowly melted away Western civilization).

But perhaps I am wrong. Perhaps Western values have changed them instead and they can convince the rest of the Islamic world.

A difficult question to answer.

anna :

the pope's given lots of stupid comments, hundreds; this is just one of the hundreds...

Bulent, Washington DC, USA :

A few points on the issue:

1. Population: Even by a conservative estimate, by the time (if and when) Turkey joins the EU, it will be the most populous country in the Union, giving it a major point of leverage on all issues and policies concerning the Union. This means, Turkey will start throwing its weight around as it sees fit. I do not see the Europeans being OK with their policies being dictated by Turkish priorities, unless the whole decision-making mechanism of the EU changes radically between now and the time of Turkish accession.

2. As far as the public opinion in Turkey is concerned, the Cyprus issue was solved in 1974. The Greek Cypriot government overplayed its hand by trying to hold EU and Turkey hostage to their demands via their veto power, and now risk losing the most important leverage point that they have. An important thing to keep in mind: for the Turkish public opinion, promises matter as much as legal documents (and rightfully so); thus, there is a strong reaction against EU's not keeping their promise regarding normalizing reactions with NTRC.

3. Funding (or lack thereof): A careful examination of the accession protocol between Turkey and the EU reveals that EU is under no obligation to provide funding for the vast changes required to bring the country's rules, regulations, and economy in line with that of the other EU countries. Considering the budgetary constraints that the EU faces today, with the accession of Eastern European members, it appears that there is an expectation that Turkey will pay on its own for these changes, without the benefit of the funds provided to earlier members.

4. Free movement of labor: Under the best scenarios, this most likely will not happen for the Turkish population (again, see the accession protocol), and it is known in Turkey. This has dampened the appetite for EU membership.

4. Turkish economy: it has been growing by leaps and bounds over the past few years, and with it, the self-confidence in Turkey. There is an increasing realization (justified or not is not the matter) that the EU is not the only option; indeed, the Union may be just too restrictive and bureaucratic, and a Turkey that is fully qualified to join the EU would actually be better off on its own.

5. Finally, for the politicians and businessmen in both the EU and Turkey, there is a realization that a Turkey anchored in Europe is quite beneficial and indeed profitable. Thus, you have the current situation: Turkey is pretending to negotiate, EU is pretending that it wants Turkey, while everybody is happy with the status quo and no incentive to change it. Except for the Greek Cypriots, who are trying to make something out of being used by both parties for their own purposes...

Murat Altinbasak, Providence, RI, USA :

Is Pope Benedict's remark supposed to be the kind of flattery which an (unwelcome) visitor gives to a (surprisingly) accommodating host?
Or does it truly mean that he was so impressed by the Turkish Republic that he had a genuine change of heart? (Perhaps he has just discovered that we actually use eating utensils, wear shoes, drive Hummers, build F-16s, and don't eat our young?)
By a narrow margin, most Turks believe he is right, and they find his declaration of support to be a blinding flash of the obvious. Is he right? The answer lies within Turkey, not in Europe. This much is certain.
Frankly, we're a little bit tired of hearing of how completely awful and backward and uncivilized our glorious Turkish Republic appears in the eyes of Europe. Forgive this trivial over-simplification, but when a candidate applies for employment, for admission to college, for membership in a country club, acceptance is typically 'yes' or 'no'. Oftentimes, the interviewer and the candidate don't know eachother previously. (But Turkey has connections and sponsors) Usually, an applicant must provide credible references (Thank you UK, Uncle Sam, thank you Pope Benedict... and yes thank you Borat). A 'yes' answer usually isn't conditional upon changing your identity, your beliefs, your values, or your principles. (unless you seek to join an unwholesome cult). In spite of these adversities, these many 'feats of strength', people are hired, people go to college, and people join country clubs... Meanwhile, the Turkish Republic is still standing at attention on the front porch, like the submissive Meatloaf in the movie 'Fight Club'... "Too fat!"
Most Turks are very nationalistic, almost to a fault...and coincidentally, they hate to admit fault, hate to face their deficiencies, and hate to be fingered with criticism. And so change comes slowly for those who give their hyper-vigilant support to the Republic's official positions and to the powerful military which protects them. For many Turks, the boot-licking that we're giving Europe is considered to be a sort of thinly veiled treason, a sell-out. This explains why it's a small miracle that the sweeping reforms enacted in the past 5 or so years have not caused another military coup or a civil war between Western facing Kemalists and Mecca facing Islamists and anyone else in the mood for a fight... (Not the Kurds, though- they're too busy fisting the air in triumph, since limits on Kurdish language and cultural activity have been all but abolished...an EU inspired reform that was long overdue)
Indeed, old habits die hard, but the Turks are on a fast-track Atkin's diet to help eliminate 80 years of old-school Turkish-ness. (That's not good for you, you know) Is this an episode of "The Biggest Loser"?? (What's next? Fear Factor?) No admission to the EU unless Prime Minister Erdogan drinks a blended mix of goat testicles through a straw and eats 12 boiled horse rectums in five minutes flat, right? As absurd as this sounds, I believe it represents the way that many Turks feel.
There is an an episode of 'The Simpsons' cartoon in which 'Marge' is invited to join an elite country club. She can only afford one nice dress, and to avoid detection, she astutely re-tailors and modifies the outfit each night using her sewing machine, trying to make the dress appear different to her new rich friends.. trying to make herself appear different.. trying to pass herself off as something she is not.. In the end, she comes to her senses. There is little doubt that every day, more and more Turks are "snapping out of it" as well.
Sometimes, an employer is fearful of firing an undesirable employee, and instead chooses to make their work life as miserable as possible, hoping that they'll just quit. (no one gets a severence package for quitting) Will Turkey quit? Or will Turkey be fired? One of these outcomes seems inevitable to me.
Is Pope Benedict right? Let's see... Forget that 95% of Turkey is in Asia. Forget that 98% of it's 70 million citizens are Muslims. Forget that issues with Greece, Armenia, Cyprus, and the Kurds are all certain to derail any forward momentum that is occasionally established... Turkey is being led into the weeds, and all we need to know is this: "Zararin neresinden donsen kardir." (Translation: Reversal from a path of LOSS, should be considered PROFIT)
Thanks for reading.
-Murat Altinbasak
Providence, RI
www.americanturk.blogspot.com

Odie, Los Angeles :

The Europeans are deranged to even consider entering into any union where the Turks would be free to settle anywhere. Has the experience with the present immigrant Moslem populations been so agreeable, then? It's painful to watch formerly tolerant democracies, such as the Netherlands and Denmark, become reactionary strongholds as a consequence of the threats and violence of their immigrant Moslem communities. If Europeans want more of the same then Turkey will do just fine.

Laurie, EU :

The avccession of Turkey to the EU should be a non-issue for the reason that Turkey does not belong to Europe geographically.

Whichever arguments one would try to construct in order to justify Turkey's accession to the EU, one cannot ignore that, by admitting Turkey, Europe would extend its borders well into Asia.

A Europe having borders with Iran, Iraq, Syria is, at least to me, inconceivable.

An economic partnership, as proposed by the German chancellor Angela Merkel, is be the only acceptable alternative.

Atheist, Boston, USA :

Another big problem with Turkey's joining the European Union (EU) is the following. Once Turkey is a member of the EU, the Turks will shape EU foreign and military policy to the liking of the Turks and other Islamic bigots.

1. Although Ankara eventually deployed troops in Lebanon, the overwhelming majority of Turks opposed the deployment because they did not want to fight other Muslims. As a member of the EU, the Turks will alter EU foreign policy to overlook the atrocities committed by Muslims.

2. The Turks reject the notion that a liberal democracy is worthwhile. The Turks made some miniscule changes to their laws to increase support for human rights and democracy. The Turks made these changes only to enter the EU and actually despised making these changes. As a member of the EU, the Turks will alter EU foreign policy to overlook the human-rights abuses of future applicants for EU membership. In general, a Turk-influenced EU will overlook human-rights abuses.

Have you ever seen this kind of sick, bigotted, animal-like thinking?

The Turks don't want to stop other Muslims from committing atrocities simply because both the Turks and "the other Muslims" are Muslims By contrast, in 1999, the "Christian" Americans militarily attacked the "Christian" Serbs to force them to stop murdering the Islamic Kosovars. Who is the sub-human animal? Turks or Americans? You make the call.

The Turks whine and complain that the EU is "forcing" the Turks to upgrade their laws to strengthen protections for human rights of all ethnic groups. The Turks believe that this upgrading of the laws is only for the benefit of the Europeans. By contrast, after Moscow stopped oppressing the Eastern Europeans, they immediately upgraded their laws and constitution to protect human rights. Who is the whining sub-human animal? Turks or Eastern Europeans? You make the call.

Atheist, Boston, USA :

Another big problem with Turkey's joining the European Union (EU) is the following. Once Turkey is a member of the EU, the Turks will shape EU foreign and military policy to the liking of the Turks and other Islamic bigots.

1. Although Ankara eventually deployed troops in Lebanon, the overwhelming majority of Turks opposed the deployment because they did not want to fight other Muslims. As a member of the EU, the Turks will alter EU foreign policy to overlook the atrocities committed by Muslims.

2. The Turks reject the notion that a liberal democracy is worthwhile. The Turks made some miniscule changes to their laws to increase support for human rights and democracy. The Turks made these changes only to enter the EU and actually despised making these changes. As a member of the EU, the Turks will alter EU foreign policy to overlook the human-rights abuses of future applicants for EU membership. In general, a Turk-influenced EU will overlook human-rights abuses.

Have you ever seen this kind of sick, bigotted, animal-like thinking?

The Turks don't want to stop other Muslims from committing atrocities simply because both the Turks and "the other Muslims" are Muslims By contrast, in 1999, the "Christian" Americans militarily attacked the "Christian" Serbs to force them to stop murdering the Islamic Kosovars. Who is the sub-human animal? Turks or Americans? You make the call.

The Turks whine and complain that the EU is "forcing" the Turks to upgrade their laws to strengthen protections for human rights of all ethnic groups. The Turks believe that this upgrading of the laws is only for the benefit of the Europeans. By contrast, after Moscow stopped oppressing the Eastern Europeans, they immediately upgraded their laws and constitution to protect human rights. Who is the whining sub-human animal? Turks or Eastern Europeans? You make the call.

Is anyone tired of hearing this crapping and farting from the Turks? When a student applies to enter the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), he knows the high standards that are expected. That student then tries to meet the standard.

Atheist, Boston, USA :

Another big problem with Turkey's joining the European Union (EU) is the following. Once Turkey is a member of the EU, the Turks will shape EU foreign and military policy to the liking of the Turks and other Islamic bigots.

1. Although Ankara eventually deployed troops in Lebanon, the overwhelming majority of Turks opposed the deployment because they did not want to fight other Muslims. As a member of the EU, the Turks will alter EU foreign policy to overlook the atrocities committed by Muslims.

2. The Turks reject the notion that a liberal democracy is worthwhile. The Turks made some miniscule changes to their laws to increase support for human rights and democracy. The Turks made these changes only to enter the EU and actually despised making these changes. As a member of the EU, the Turks will alter EU foreign policy to overlook the human-rights abuses of future applicants for EU membership. In general, a Turk-influenced EU will overlook human-rights abuses.

Have you ever seen this kind of sick, bigotted, animal-like thinking?

The Turks don't want to stop other Muslims from committing atrocities simply because both the Turks and "the other Muslims" are Muslims By contrast, in 1999, the "Christian" Americans militarily attacked the "Christian" Serbs to force them to stop murdering the Islamic Kosovars. Who is the sub-human animal? Turks or Americans? You make the call.

The Turks whine and complain that the EU is "forcing" the Turks to upgrade their laws to strengthen protections for human rights of all ethnic groups. The Turks believe that this upgrading of the laws is only for the benefit of the Europeans. By contrast, after Moscow stopped oppressing the Eastern Europeans, they immediately upgraded their laws and constitution to protect human rights. Who is the whining sub-human animal? Turks or Eastern Europeans? You make the call.

Is anyone tired of hearing this crapping and farting from the Turks? When a student applies to enter the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), he knows the high standards that are expected. That student then tries to meet the standard.

The Turkish student whines and

Atheist, Boston, USA :

Another big problem with Turkey's joining the European Union (EU) is the following. Once Turkey is a member of the EU, the Turks will shape EU foreign and military policy to the liking of the Turks and other Islamic bigots.

1. Although Ankara eventually deployed troops in Lebanon, the overwhelming majority of Turks opposed the deployment because they did not want to fight other Muslims. As a member of the EU, the Turks will alter EU foreign policy to overlook the atrocities committed by Muslims.

2. The Turks reject the notion that a liberal democracy is worthwhile. The Turks made some miniscule changes to their laws to increase support for human rights and democracy. The Turks made these changes only to enter the EU and actually despised making these changes. As a member of the EU, the Turks will alter EU foreign policy to overlook the human-rights abuses of future applicants for EU membership. In general, a Turk-influenced EU will overlook human-rights abuses.

Have you ever seen this kind of sick, bigotted, animal-like thinking?

The Turks don't want to stop other Muslims from committing atrocities simply because both the Turks and "the other Muslims" are Muslims By contrast, in 1999, the "Christian" Americans militarily attacked the "Christian" Serbs to force them to stop murdering the Islamic Kosovars. Who is the sub-human animal? Turks or Americans? You make the call.

The Turks whine and complain that the EU is "forcing" the Turks to upgrade their laws to strengthen protections for human rights of all ethnic groups. The Turks believe that this upgrading of the laws is only for the benefit of the Europeans. By contrast, after Moscow stopped oppressing the Eastern Europeans, they immediately upgraded their laws and constitution to protect human rights. Who is the whining sub-human animal? Turks or Eastern Europeans? You make the call.

Is anyone tired of hearing this crapping and farting from the Turks? When a student applies to enter the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), he knows the high standards that are expected. That student then tries to meet the standard.

The Turkish student whines and complains about the high standards of MIT. He the demands that MIT lower its standards to the level of the Turkish bigot. When MIT refuses to do so, the Turkish student whines and complains about racism.

Gag me with a spoon.

I don't want to mince words. I condemn Turkey. I do not want the anti-women, anti-homosexual, and anti-free-thinking Turkish attitudes to contaminate Europe.

The Europeans owe nothing (except a fist aimed at the gut of Turkey) to the Turks. The wealth and freedoms in the EU do not belong to Turkey. The Europeans, by their sheer will, created the wealth and freedoms that all Europeans enjoy.

The Turks could easily have the same wealth and freedoms of the EU without even joining the EU. The problem with Turkey is that the Turks voluntarily and enthusiastically enact laws that destroy human rights, free thinking, and wealth. To understand the animal-like nature of the people in Turkey, you merely need to look at one key fact: the Turks have threatened repeatedly to invade the Kurdish safe-haven in Iraq.

If the Turks dare to invade Kurdistan, I will personally volunteer to join the German Wehrmacht. At Angela Merkel's command, I will gladly send the Turks to see Allah (the dead god pimped by a well-known murderer and rapist called Mohammed).

john somer, brussels, belgium :

I'm coming a bit late in this debae but one item seems to be missing in the discussion: the role of the Pentagon in pushing Turkey to apply for membership. Turkey was one of the two countries (the other one being Pakistan) that was a member of two of the three alliances created by John Foster Dulles to contain the Soviet Union. In order better to "anchor Turkey to the West", Ankara was induced to apply and the US is still using its influence in Europe to secure that adhesion (see yesterday's "Turkish Daily News"). With its big standing army, Turkey is indeed the "biggest wrench in the Pentagon's toolbox" (to use L. Wayne Merrry;s expression).
The British support for Turkey's adhesion is simpy based on Westminster's desire to transform the EU into a "super-EFTA" with no political integration so that Britain can
continue its traditional game of "balance of power" and "special relationship" with the US (seee yesterday's Blair announcement on renewal of its Trident nuclear submarines in conjunction, not with the other European nuclear power, but with the United States).
If the question of Turkish adhesion were put to a European referendum, the result would be a resounding no. My bet would be at least 60% negative votes.

jvd70, Amsterdam, NL :

That Turkey by virtue of being Muslim country is somehow culturally 'different' and can't join a group that unites disparate nations such as Finland, Portugal, Ireland and Bulgaria, is a populist argument that should not stand in debate; the values that do bind European nations together are arguably no less strongly held in Poland as they are in Turkey.

Europe failed to change and doesn't have to look outside its own borders to find fault. Politically there's an unwillingness with national political elites to defend and espouse Europe. The perception, often justifiably so, is that a liberal intellectual and almost federalist culture of arrogance dominates in Brussels. An ineffective parliament seems to have become the unemployment benefit for politicians that have become nationally untenable.

The Europeans have failed to create a supranationalist popular culture outside the soccer competitions. Many of the centers of culture, sports, drama and entertainment have failed to jump to the European level and as far as a supranational culture exist, it is created and maintained by US entertainment companies. That shouldn't be a surprise because almost every European country has its own language. But attempts at creating an area in which people can communicate with each other in a single secondary language have not gained traction.

Economically unification is hampered by local populist interests and the failure of a single (secondary) language to materialize. Even if the labor market would be uniform it is difficult to hire people one has trouble talking to, or that are educated according to different standards.

The image that Turkey would be an exotic ingredient in a unitary soup is an interesting one for populist politicians to project, but it is false. In many ways Turkey would help Europe gain focus especially because it would help Europe define itself both in terms of culture and security. It would legitimize the millions of Turks that live in Europe now as citizens of not just their nation but of a far wider unity. It would legitimize the Kurds as a true minority with all that definition entails. It would pull Turkey into the western camp away from the Iranian, Russian and Venezuelan oil drunk populist regimes. It would give hope to millions aspiring EU membership for their countries. And last but not least it would show that the war on terror is a war on terror and not on Islam.

So yes, he is right.

Walt Schweitzer, Switzerland :

At school, we Europeans had learned that Europe ended at the Bosporus. But today, the goal is to have Turkey as a member of EU.
Long term strategies necessitate this goad. But it will be a very long and stony way to go. It will take at least another ten to fifteen years to the final decisions. Both Europe and Turkey will change face within that period.
Millions of Turkish people are already integrated - more or less - in many European countries. So the Pope's statement is logic, but not more.
Don't forget: it is not NATO to have the last word, nor pure economics. The voters in some European countries will have the last word (must sound strange to many Americans).

Metin, Newport Beach, California, USA :

Atheist from Boston: No need to post more than once to get your anger about 'animal' behavior out. However, I think most animal rightists would argue using the term animal-like when describing, I am assuming, a non-human and therefore bastardly behavior, is not something that should be used lightly. In other words, don't do any injustice to the animals at the expense of the Turks and Turkey. By the way, we are not here to discuss the 'perfectness' of Turkey or Turks. We are here to discuss whether Turkey is to be granted admission even if Turkey played by the rules, and fully performed the requirements, even if the rules keep changing during the game, leaving no excuses 'technically,' and in a Democratic fashion. Like someone more famous than me once said, 'Democracy is the worst form of Government, except for all the other forms of Government.'

Metin
www.TalkTurkey.us

AT, Washington DC :

Atheist, Boston - Thanks for the nonsensical vitrolic rant. I think we all learned a lot from that, mainly that you seem to have an irrational hatred of Islam, a rather limited basket of metaphors (everything seems to be sick or animal-like) and a woefully misguided understanding of history, religion, culture and world affairs.

To begin with, the Turkish Republic is a secular state. It has been that way since its inception. Not only is it avowedly secular in nature, but it espouses a rather strong version of secularism, along the lines of French laicite, which involves bans on headscarves in public buildings, private religious schools, etc. Thus, to suggest that the Turkish state as such is Islamic in nature is utterly incorrect. The current ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) is, however, mildly Islamist, although they'd never use the term. The military, which sees itself as the guardian of Kemalist legacy of secularism, still retains a strong voice in deciding matters of foreign policy, and it is decidedly unlikely to throw its weight behind Islamically-oriented foreign policies. It's just not going to happen. Moreover, Turkey looks towards the West in its foreign policy in general, and has little desire to get involved in the Middle East at all.

This is not to say that Turkey, if admitted to the EU, would not have an impact on EU foreign policy. Of course it would. It would not, however, result in the EU "overlooking Muslim atrocities." This somehow implies that all Turkish foreign policy objectives are formulated on the basis of religious values, and this is clearly not the case. Turkey is allied with the US and Israel, and its foreign and military policies are the result of its largely secular military and political establishment. Earlier attempts to improve ties in the Arab world under then PM Erbakan were unworkable and even laughable. Turks were not impressed by the sight of Erbakan sweating profusely in Qaddafi's tent in the desert.

Yes, there was a debate in Turkish society about the deployment of Turkish peacekeepers to Lebanon, particularly regarding the rules of engagement for dealing with Hizbullah. Some of the wariness about getting involved was quite rational ÔøΩ Lebanese politics are quite complex and no one really wants to tangle with Hizbullah. You are right that there some pan-Muslim sentiment, particularly in the Islamist-leaning press, with some not wanting to come to blows with fellow Muslims. While you seem to decry the sentiment, it strikes me as a rather natural one. People don't like to fight others that they share common bonds with. Much like Americans would probably find it uncomfortable to go to war with the British, and Russians abhored the US bombing campaign in Serbia, Turks feel some of that sentiment, albeit on a fairly low level compared to elsewhere in the region, when it comes to fellow Muslims, although in general there's little love lost bewteeen Arabs and Turks.

In regard to your second point, it too is completely unfounded. The majority of Turks are strongly in favor of democracy and democratic values. While Turkey does not have a perfect system and corruption, undue military influence and some harsh laws (eg Article 301) remain significant problems, the country is a fairly well functioning democracy. Yes, the Turkish government did pass a batch of reform measures that were designed to get it into the EU. That's the whole idea. That's why the process is known as "harmonization", ie changing applicant country X's laws to fit with the EU's. All candidate countries, therefore, pass reforms "just to get into the EU." Nor were these changes "miniscule" by the way. For one, they abolished the death penalty. Think about how much work it would take to get rid of the death penalty in the US, for example. Add to that the fact that Turkey had finally caught and convicted Abdullah Ocalan, head of the PKK and a sort of Osama bin Laden for Turkey. Changing the law meant keepin him alive, a wildly unpopular decision.

Yes, Turkey does need to do a lot more work in upgrading its laws and standards regarding human rights. But it's absurd to think that if Turkey does amend the laws and its mentality, that it would then want to act as a sort of anti-human rights Trojan horse once in the EU.

As for you reference to Eastern Europeans "immediately" upgrading their laws to protect minority rights, this is simply untrue. Look at the Roma, for instance.

Turkey is not whining or complaining about the "high standards" of the EU. It is justifiablly complaining about Europe's double standard. A number of European leaders are not negotiating with Turkey in good faith, as they have no desire to see the country join the bloc, which makes it much harder for Turks to see the whole process as fair and worthwhile. Why makes the changes if they're not going to let you in?

As far as your blanket condemnation of Turkey as being "anti-women, anti-homosexual and anti-free-thinking", this too is incorrect. Women got the right to vote in Turkey in 1934, well before "progressive" countries like Switzerland. While the Turkish Penal Code did have some dated elements regarding women's rights, many of these were resolved in the reforms of 2002. As for homosexuals, they live openly in the country's larger cities, although the mindset in small villages and outlying areas is less welcoming (though the same could be said of a lot of places, including the US). There are a number of gay bars and clubs in Istanbul, for instance, and one of the more popular venues for local Turkish glitterati is a club featuring performances from drag queens. Turkey is much freer than many countries in the region in this respect.

Free speech is largely the norm in Turkey, with several notable exceptions - Kurdish issues, Ataturk, Armenian genocide. The government has recently pledged to revise the infamous article 301, although it is unclear what exactly they intend to do. Moreover, while Turkey gets a lot of bad press for trials under Article 301 (Pamuk, Shafak), one should realize that these cases are largely the work of ultranationalists lawyers acting in an independent capacity, not the government itself. Cases brought under Article 301 cannot be thrown out before going to trial (ie, there is no pre-trial evidenciary hearing). In the vast majority of these cases (again, Pamuk, Shafak), the judge throws them out straight away.

As for northern Iraq, Turkey makes overtures about deploying its military over the border because the US refuses to crack down on the PKK terrorists based there. These terrorists use northern Iraq as a safe haven, from which they occasionally pop over the border to launch modicum of legitimacy in some circles in the West for being "freedom fighters", that is entirely misleading. They are terrorists. This is not to suggest that the Kurds do not have an entirely valid case for greater political and cultural rights within Turkey ÔøΩ they certainly do. Setting off bombs in crowded urban areas and wholesale mining of the countryside are not the way to realize these goals, however. Both the US and the EU consider the PKK a terrorist organization, and the only reason US forces in Iraq do not crack down on its activities is that northern Iraq is the only part of the country not embroiled in what amounts to civil war. In addition, as Seymour Hersh noted in a recent issue of the New Yorker, US and Israeli forces seem to be training some Kurdish groups (although not the PKK) to use as a proxy force for operations and intelligence-gathering in Iran and possibly Syria. The Turkish government has repeatedly provided the Iraqis with a list of known PKK terrorists living in Iraq and their addresses, and yet the government does nothing. Until recently there was even a PKK-run Abdullah Ocalan Centre for Strategic Studies several hundred meters down the road from the Turkish Embassy in Baghdad. Clearly the Kurdish-controlled regions in the north are not going to arrest their fellow Kurds, and the central government is weak if not non-existent when it comes to such tasks.

It is worth keeping in mind, however, that up until the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003, Turkey maintained a "cordon sanitaire" in northern Iraq about 10 miles into Iraqi territory to prevent PKK attacks. This was put in place after the first Gulf War, when northern Iraq was effectively detached from the rest of the country, causing a serious surge in PKK activity. So, if Iraq can't prevent the PKK from using northern Iraq as a safe haven and training ground and the US is unwilling to do so, what choice does Turkey have but to take matters into its own hands? Not that I imagine they'll do anything until US forces are out of Iraq, but still.

Turkey clearly has its work cut out for it if it is going to push ahead with the reforms necessary for the EU accession process, but as has proven the case with the Eastern and Central European candidate countries, the carrot of EU membership can be a strong catalyst for change. Turkey has a lot to offer the EU and one can only hope that EU leaders are wise enough to look past the short-term political gains to be made from opposing Turkish membership to the longer-term benefits.

John H. USA :

The precise reason you have a "union" is so that you can work across all sorts of cultures and differences in a civilized, beneficial manner - not to exclude people with whom you already have deep and inexorible relationships. The question everone ought to be exploring is: "Why isn't Turkey already in the EU?"

My answer to that is cultural, religious and ethnic racism on the part of some EU governmental ministers and their political parties in their respective countries. It's racisim that has broad support among millions of White Europeans, thus these ministers get away with it. I have direct insight into this as it relates to Gremany, Austria, France and the UK. I do business in Europe and maintain an extensive set of contacts there and have been involved in exchanges with educated people in substantial business and political entities where some of those people have actually openly referred to Turks in passing conversations with me in a way that reminds me of how Blacks were referred to in the 1950s in Georgia.

I have an Austrian contact with whom I have had numerous dealings repeatedly refer to Turks who have emigrated to Austria to work as "mongrel dogs" who represent a "great threat" to not just Austria, but "all of Europe." His direct and pointed racism is not disguised. He openly and casually expresses these views - as do a vast number of his countrymen, which is exactly why he is so casual and unfazed by his overt racisim. It is the norm, he sees it as mainstream thinking and there is no issue of political correctness or potential castigation to cause him to leash his spoken views.

I have had similar comments come from French, British and German people who have answered me in a matter-of-fact fashion about why Turks are a scourge of one sort or another when I have brought up the Turkish EU question.

All of these people have two things in common: 1. They are White. 2. They are not Muslim.

I am sure those who have followed this Turkish EU debate know exactly what I am writing about here. It would be refreshing if people within the EU would just come out and admit the deep-seeded racism that is at work. Whilst the concerns about secularism being replaced by a form of religion-based governance in Turkey have some validity - the basic fact is that connected elements of the governments of Germany, France, the UK and others simply do not want to grant the benefits of EU memberships to human beings they consider to be "inferior" to them, their own Gods and their "whiteness."

Therefore - this drags on, which almost assures that Turkey will eventually seek solidarity with more radical elements of the Islamic world - exactly what the EU ought to be fearing the most right now.

Racisim carries a heavy price and Europe is going to pay it sooner or later.

John Harington Salt Lake City USA :

The precise reason you have a "union" is so that you can work across all sorts of cultures and differences in a civilized, beneficial manner - not to exclude people with whom you already have deep and inexorible relationships. The question everone ought to be exploring is: "Why isn't Turkey already in the EU?"

My answer to that is cultural, religious and ethnic racism on the part of some EU governmental ministers and their political parties in their respective countries. It's racisim that has broad support among millions of White Europeans, thus these ministers get away with it. I have direct insight into this as it relates to Gremany, Austria, France and the UK. I do business in Europe and maintain an extensive set of contacts there and have been involved in exchanges with educated people in substantial business and political entities where some of those people have actually openly referred to Turks in passing conversations with me in a way that reminds me of how Blacks were referred to in the 1950s in Georgia.

I have an Austrian contact with whom I have had numerous dealings repeatedly refer to Turks who have emigrated to Austria to work as "mongrel dogs" who represent a "great threat" to not just Austria, but "all of Europe." His direct and pointed racism is not disguised. He openly and casually expresses these views - as do a vast number of his countrymen, which is exactly why he is so casual and unfazed by his overt racisim. It is the norm, he sees it as mainstream thinking and there is no issue of political correctness or potential castigation to cause him to leash his spoken views.

I have had similar comments come from French, British and German people who have answered me in a matter-of-fact fashion about why Turks are a scourge of one sort or another when I have brought up the Turkish EU question.

All of these people have two things in common: 1. They are White. 2. They are not Muslim.

I am sure those who have followed this Turkish EU debate know exactly what I am writing about here. It would be refreshing if people within the EU would just come out and admit the deep-seeded racism that is at work. Whilst the concerns about secularism being replaced by a form of religion-based governance in Turkey have some validity - the basic fact is that connected elements of the governments of Germany, France, the UK and others simply do not want to grant the benefits of EU memberships to human beings they consider to be "inferior" to them, their own Gods and their "whiteness."

Therefore - this drags on, which almost assures that Turkey will eventually seek solidarity with more radical elements of the Islamic world - exactly what the EU ought to be fearing the most right now.

Racisim carries a heavy price and Europe is going to pay it sooner or later.

Greg, Washington, D.C. :

The European Union is now more than simply a customs union, it now has or is working toward political union. Political unions can only be forged when prospective members share common values. I do not believe Turkey and its people share such a common bond with Europe. If the prospect of admitting Turkey were measured solely by the standards applied to members of a customs union, it would not be such a difficult fit. However, when we consider its laws and their application as measures of its values, namely its respect for human rights, we see a state incompatible with western values born of the Enlightenment—values that hold the rights of the individual sacred and prevent the tyrrany of the majority (yes, there are arguable exceptions, but this is a general rule). Until Turkey demonstrates an unequivocal respect for these values by, for example, withdrawing from Cyprus, by respecting thought and speech now deemed offensive to "Turkishness", and by allowing freedom of conscience and worship (i.e., reciprocity) to all of its citizens it will remain incompatible with the European Union.

AM, Vienna, VA :

Bulent, Washington DC, USA at December 5, 2006 09:35 PM

As far as #2 is concerned: Cyprus is a member state of the EU, and Turkey must recognize all these states as a condition for membership. That the public in Turkey may consider the issue already closed is irrelevant. Turkey has an obligation towards the EU and ALL its member states.

Furthermore, there is no such thing as 'NRTC' except in Turkey's mind. Cyprus is already a member of the EU. Much of the Muslim population of Cyprus already hold valid Cypriot passports. Those who don;t are illegal migrants (transplanted by Turkey) and those who follow the line dictated by Turkey. (Some actually ran for office in the last elections held by Cyprus).

it si true that the Turkish economy is doing very well (partly in anticipation of the EU). That has been a benefit to all applicants. And it is likely that the best solution for ALL concerned is the current arrangement.

But as long as Turkey fails to abide by the agreement that Turkey signed, then membership is not feasible. By way of example, we cannot have Virginia refuse to recognize Maryland (or vice-versa). That is simply not rational. The issue therefore is not a 'double standard' by the EU. The issue is that Turkey signed an agreement it apparently never intended to follow.

Therefore, as important as 'promises' may be to the Turkish public, the first step is to abide by the agreements. That is where integrity begins.

of
ª Bulent, Washington DC, USA | Permalink

A few points on the issue:

1. Population: Even by a conservative estimate, by the time (if and when) Turkey joins the EU, it will be the most populous country in the Union, giving it a major point of leverage on all issues and policies concerning the Union. This means, Turkey will start throwing its weight around as it sees fit. I do not see the Europeans being OK with their policies being dictated by Turkish priorities, unless the whole decision-making mechanism of the EU changes radically between now and the time of Turkish accession.

2. As far as the public opinion in Turkey is concerned, the Cyprus issue was solved in 1974. The Greek Cypriot government overplayed its hand by trying to hold EU and Turkey hostage to their demands via their veto power, and now risk losing the most important leverage point that they have. An important thing to keep in mind: for the Turkish public opinion, promises matter as much as legal documents (and rightfully so); thus, there is a strong reaction against EU's not keeping their promise regarding normalizing reactions with NTRC.

3. Funding (or lack thereof): A careful examination of the accession protocol between Turkey and the EU reveals that EU is under no obligation to provide funding for the vast changes required to bring the country's rules, regulations, and economy in line with that of the other EU countries. Considering the budgetary constraints that the EU faces today, with the accession of Eastern European members, it appears that there is an expectation that Turkey will pay on its own for these changes, without the benefit of the funds provided to earlier members.

4. Free movement of labor: Under the best scenarios, this most likely will not happen for the Turkish population (again, see the accession protocol), and it is known in Turkey. This has dampened the appetite for EU membership.

4. Turkish economy: it has been growing by leaps and bounds over the past few years, and with it, the self-confidence in Turkey. There is an increasing realization (justified or not is not the matter) that the EU is not the only option; indeed, the Union may be just too restrictive and bureaucratic, and a Turkey that is fully qualified to join the EU would actually be better off on its own.

5. Finally, for the politicians and businessmen in both the EU and Turkey, there is a realization that a Turkey anchored in Europe is quite beneficial and indeed profitable. Thus, you have the current situation: Turkey is pretending to negotiate, EU is pretending that it wants Turkey, while everybody is happy with the status quo and no incentive to change it. Except for the Greek Cypriots, who are trying to make something out of being used by both parties for their own purposes...

European :

Last summer I visited Turkey for a vacation. I found the Turkish people, for the most part, to be hospitable and nice. However, Turkish society is an Asiatic society not a European one. Being a member of NATO does not make a society European. The NATO membership was also offered to Iran! Being democratic does not make a society European. Asia has a number of democratic societies; Japan, South Korea and the biggest democracy in the world India. But, none of these societies are European. The US government is pushing for Turkey's inclusion into the EU (the UK is just emulating the US). America's Middle East problems are not going to be solved by admitting an Asiatic country into EU.

Turkey has a proud history. We appreciate that. However, Turkey is an Asiatic country that has to find her place in Asia not in Europe.

atilla,turkey,istanbul :

if we want a EU based on a geographic map,Cyprus is not in Europe!
if we want a EU based on a religious map,there are many Christian countries which are not located in europe and not likely to be invited to join EU(most of them converted to christianity by europens)
i am going to tell u a story about a rabbit and a snake!i want u excuse my english before i start.
in a jungle a snake and a rabit collide to eachother and rabbit says i am sorry it is my fault;cause i am blind!
than snake:no i am sorry it is my fault cause i am blind too!
rabbit asks:oh!really?what r u?
snake says i dont know i am blind.i have never seen myself!
snake asks then:and what r u?
rabbit says:i dont know either!i have never seen myself!
why dont we check eachother with our hands and body to identify eachother?asks rabbit.
ok!says snake!
first snakes checks rabbit,fumbles its body and says:you have long ears ,slight moustache,short front legs and longer legs .i think u r e rabbit!
that makes rabbit very happy and says god thanks i am a rabbit.
now your turn! says snake!
rabbit fumbles its body for a while and reach a conclusion!
u have a long body,no legs,your body is slippery and i think u must be a FRENCH!

Cat, Washington DC, USA :

It behooves Turkey to go ahead with its EU process for many reasons, especially in economic and financial terms therefore they should accept the rules of the game which entail very stringent standards on human rights and freedoms in general. Positive steps toward their minorities especially in terms of culture and religion would do much more than fighting the EU at every turn which raises doubts about their suitability and creates animosity.

Politically, Turkey is obliged to be allied with the West because it's neighbors are not natural allies. As pointed out earlier, Turks speak a different language,have a different culture and religious practices (being predominantly non-practicing muslims in a secular state)and in the end, different interests than their neighbors.

With regards to its problems with Greece and Cyprus, these are issues that strike at the fundamentals of the EU and cannot be separated out to be discussed at a later time.

J¸rgen Wegner :

People in Europe are sick and tired of Turkey crying and begging to get into EU. Why should EU even consider Turkey as a potential member state? Turkey is not a European country and it will never be. The Turks have to understand this. The Turks say that Europe is discriminating against Turkey because they are Muslims. This is absolute nonsense. The countries in Central and South America are Christians. If the Turkish logic is correct, then EU should also incorporate the Central and South America counties since there are millions of Christians in these countries.

Turkey is NOT A EUROPEAN COUNTRY. PERIOD.

Thor :

The Pope is an effing IDIOT IF he really BELIEVES that.

Turkey does not even BELONG in Europe

Much less meet the conditions for entry in the EC.

The savages have not even apologized for their massacre of the 1.75 Million ARMENIANS (some say 2 million) in 1915!

(let alone giving them Reparations)

That's worse than the GERMANS did after the Holocaust!

Scott Kearin, Ankara, Turkey :

Surprisingly, it seems many of these comments miss the real point — no one is debating Turkey's readiness to join the European Union TODAY. Instead, we are looking at years of further development before Turkey, with all its virtues and its faults, is ready. The real question is whether the process should continue so that the Turkey of five to ten years from now can qualify for EU membership. This seems to me a much wiser alternative than the obviously deliberate efforts of certain EU nations to discourage and scuttle the process before further progress can be made. Why the nervousness about Turkey's possible eventual accession? Either it will be ready, or it will not be, and that is a decision that should only be made years from now after a fair and equitable process. Give Turkey a chance to prove itself. Much progress has already been made, and much more is in store, unless this very proud nation feels utterly humiliated by its European neighbors and withdraws into itself - not a prospect that anyone should encourage.

Thor :

Why are the clueless faces of David Ignatius and Fareed on top of this forum?

They have NOTHING to contribute. Fareed in particular is laughably clueless in other efforts of his to gain publicity, such as his comments on automotive matters, hybrids, plug-in hybrids and the like.

back to out Topic: Turkey, not only by geography but by Culture, Religion and Ethnicity (not Hindo-European but Central Asian) does NOT BELONG IN EUROPE.

They have better go away and try to dominate these energy-rich "-Stans".. maybe they can found some Central Asian common market of the poor and miserable (not to mention Genocidal Killers and Barbarians)

Thor :

Turks keep saying how proud they are (!!!!????)

PROUD???????

of murdering 1,750,000 to 2,000,000 women and children ARMENIANS in 1915 and for 90 years these COWARDS are not even MEN ENOUGH TO APOLOGIZE and give whatever REPARATIONS they can out of their MISERABLE Economy??????

Even the NAZIS did at least THAT after the Jewish Holocaust!

When will the Turks BE HELD RESPONSIBLE FOR THEIR CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY????????

They do not belong to EUROPE

These murderers belong to the most, not the least, savage regions of the planet.

Oh, and PS all the efforts of KEMAL ATtuerk THEIR savior TO MASKE THEM MODERN, DECENTG HUMANS HAVE FAILED MISERABLY.

Blanc_Alain,Lyon,France :

Great Country, epicenter of the ottoman empire, Turkey has never been part of the European civilisation and won't be.
The ottoman people is centered in the eastern part of the gaspian sea and Turkey has today his future with its cousins (Turkmenistan and others).
Incidentally, US has no say in the future of Europe.
So in french : lachez-nous avec la Turquie !

BobL-VA :

I have a friend who loves to bet on NFL Football games. His only problem is he is terrible at it. Rarely does this poor guy ever win a game. He spends hours upon hours pouring over data and articles on pro football and can even recite the starting lineups of all 32 teams. It's really impressive. In fact I'm so impressed by his knowledge and losing streaks I go to him every Friday to see who he thinks are sure winners for Sunday's games. I use this information and simply bet the other way. I've done real well just doing the opposite of what he suggests.

There is a moral to this story if you bear with me for just a second. I equate my hapless NFL Football picker with Athiest. If Athiest says Turkey should not be allowed in the EU then I'm going the other way.

Seriously, if the world community is ever to become a safer place to live we are going to have to extend our hands to countries that are politically, socially and religously different than our own. Bringing Turkey into the EU is a step in the right direction.

Jeff Davis, Fairfax, VA :

Recognition of the Armenian Genocide and a repeal of the free-speech squashing 'anti-turkishness' law should be made prerequisites to membership in the EU.

damien, brisbane,australia :

I think Americans will be qualified to give their opinion about the Turkey' entrance as EU member when Mexico will be 52th State of America.

how dare you ask EU to accept this hugely populated NON-EUROPEAN state and in the same time building walls at the Mexican frontier ?

ridiculous

Fortunately, Turkey will never be EU member and your opinion is not requested.

Joel, long beach, California :

Yes Turkey belongs in the world community because that is the only way to destroy tribalism, xenophobia, religious hatred, and ignorance.

These are the factors afflicting the people of the middle east, and the west, foisted upon them by so-called religious leaders.

James Chriss, NY, NY :

The pseudo-democratic dictatorship that's run by the generals in Ankara is frequently depicted as a misaligned "lost child"; a scared and lonely "innocent" that's constantly seeking out new friends in Europe and the US, only to have its desperate attempts for a rapprochement between East and West...inexplicably rejected by the "ungrateful" Christian nations of Europe.

Turkey has proven time and time again to be the United States' most undeserving, undependable and duplicitous "ally" (the most recent example of the Turks' "usefulness" for American interests having been their rejection to provide us with assistance in ridding Iraq of Saddam Hussein). Furthermore, Ankara systematically oppresses its people, irrespective of their religion, and continues to implement its genocidal policies in the Kurdish regions of southeast Anatolia to this day.

This pariah state has forcibly occupied a third of Cyprus since 1974 (which just happens to be a member state of the EU - an organization that it supposedly wishes to join!), while it continues to enforce an illegal economic blockade against Armenia.

And as far as the ridiculously overused claim that Turkey is "a model for Muslim nations" is concerned - just ask the next Syrian, Iraqi or Jordanian you see for their honest opinion on their Turkish?brethren.

Western policy makers should wake up and smell the coffee - coddling the Turks will get you nowhere; it never has.

Perhaps the only part of Turkey that could ever justifiably be part of the EU is its northwestern European corner and Istanbul. Maybe the EU should admit this part of the country first and take it from there?

James Chriss

George Sileliadis, Athens, Greece :

Turkey has no place in the EU.

This is in no way due to the fact that it is a predominantly Muslim state, but rather because it is, and always has been, governed by a self-righteous bunch of megalomaniacs with a giant chip on their shoulder.

NotoEU,Las Vegas,USA :

Cyprus cannot be a member to a political and economic union, to which Turkey cannot be a member, in legal terms. Therefore the legality of the whole situation of so called 'Southern Cyprus' becoming a EU member and representing the whole island should be questioned.

NotoEU,Las Vegas,USA :

Turkiye's current impasse with EU is direct result of its governing party AKP and its tactics to use this issue as a political material in Turkiye just like Merkle and Chirac are using it to cater to their electorate in Germany and France respectively.

AKP should never have agreed or even hint to open Turkish ports and airports to so called ÔøΩSouthern CyprusÔøΩ entity since it is was admitted into EU just to be used as a median to block TurkiyeÔøΩs accession talks to EU.

Otherwise why EU will accept the bad half of the Island which is good for nothing but money laundering operation of shady corporations, then leave the good part out?

Azad Zakhoi :

The Turkish army and the Kurdish problem

In order to understand the attributes and practices of the Turkish Republic that is now in its eighty-second year, it is necessary to probe the past and present of the Turkish army. This is because Turkeyís Middle East policies, its approach to the issue of Cyprus and to the European Union, its present regressive relations with the United States, and the intractability of the Kurdish problem can really only be understood by discussing the army.

Following the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, the establishment of the new Republic was achieved through the organisation of the military ìclassî. The Republic of 1923, its first parliament, government, and the 1924 constitution came into being through an administration that was dominated by the army and an ideology heavily stamped by nationalism and its own view of the law. This ideology developed in parallel with the increasing influence of Mustafa Kemal. The Misak-i Millií (definition of the present-day national borders), and the slogans ìHow happy is one who may call himself a Turkî and ìthe Turk has no other friend than the Turkî became the chief underpinnings of this ideology.

In 1934, with the tenth anniversary speech given by Mustafa Kemal, through Ziya Gokalp and Esat Mahmut Karakurtís vision and efforts, this ideology was to regarded as the doctrine of Kemalism and its character stamped upon the way in which politics, the law, education, culture, social life and the economy were organised. Like every nationalist system, this system was also organised in relation to external fears. Its fundamental safeguard, was always considered to be the army. In particular, since the ìIttihat ve Terakkiî the army had organised with vigour and carried out the Armenian massacre; having put down the Kurdish rebellions of Sheikh Said in 1925, the Agri-Zilan uprising of 1930 and the Dersim uprising of 1938, the military hereafter came to constitute an unstoppable and uncontrollable force. The resources of the country were henceforth devoted to it. Paranoia about the Kurds and the policy of denial intensified and with the military coups of May 1960, March 1971 and September 1980, the army took control of the government without having to give account to anyone. After a brief glance at the armyís past we can return to today.

The Turkish army today ñ above and outside the law

Today, the Turkish army is the force that most benefits from the countryís general resources and education. The organisation to receive the greatest share of the budget is the army. Perhaps it is also the only army in the world to have its own banks and holdings. In the name of the struggle against terrorism, it conceives of itself as being above the law and because its training is centred on Kemalist nationalism, it turns out national chauvinist cadres. Many of the decisions it takes are beyond the control of the law. Essentially, because its formation is one that is both outside and above the law, its very legality is debateable.

At the beginning of August 2005, following a meeting with a group of Turkish intellectuals, in the speech he gave in Diyarbakir, in saying that there was a Kurdish problem and in defending the view that it required to be resolved in a spirit of democracy, Prime Minister Recep Tayip Erdogan created a groundswell of hope amongst Kurds. However, the retired Generals, Commander of the land forces along with the Commander of the First army went on the attack. Day after day they threatened the Kurds and the government on television. Former General, Veli Kucuk, additionally spoke of establishing a contra-guerrilla army and taking to the mountains. The militaryís ceremonies of 30 August turned into an overt display of militarism. Presentations of diplomas by the officersí schools for the army, the air-force, the navy and the gendarmerie were broadcast live on television for days.

During this same interval, Turkish chauvinists like Dogu Perincek and nationalist chauvinist journalists like Emin Colasan, the former Generals, the MHP and the Ankara Chambers of Trade and Commerce, and the young officers in the army, began to organise against the moderate Chief of Staff, Hilmi Ozkok, and against the government. They penned provocative tracts and spoke on television saying there wasnít in fact a Kurdish problem but solely a problem of terrorism. They voiced their calls to the people asking them to demonstrate their opposition to the United States and the European Union.

As can be gathered, in the shadow of an army that, in this way, is above the law and untouchable, the transition to democracy is no easy one. The Kurdish problem and resolution of the Cyprus issue is blocked by the army and can only be resolved with the army.

The army always represents itself to its members and to the public as the highest moral calling. Indeed this notion is repeated so frequently that it comes to take root in peopleís minds with the counter message that the rest of us in fact are of little worth. It is here that - if the army were to withdraw itself into the boundaries of democracy and human rights the problems could begin to be resolved. But such a withdrawal is no simple matter because democracy means that the army would lose its difference. The intelligence organisations that are entirely self-governing and which communicate intelligence only to themselves would cease to be. ASAM (Avrasya Strateji Arastirmalar Merkezi ), the Eurasia Strategy Research Centre that earns its money from declared disasters would also cease to be. However, the cessation of these entities, in essence, would mean the making of the army as a democratic institution, a force that was both more accountable and one that did not obstruct the civil will but conversely, fulfilled its wishes. In such a way, the mutually inciting violence of the PKK and the army would also cease.

Undoubtedly, from being in a situation in which the army is under pressure to attaining a stage in which it is able to play a flexible and positive role is linked to there being a period in which the internal violence is brought to an end. On the other hand, in order for the PKK to step back from violence, its opponents leaving the PKK should be supported and strengthened. Such an obligation not only falls upon the Kurds but also upon the United States, the Turkish Republic and the European Union.

In conclusion, over the past thirty years the Kurds have suffered bitterly. Violence and torture were used to an almost unconceivable extent. Twenty years of internal war were lived through. During this interval, Turkey lost a great deal both materially and spiritually, but in the end everything came right back to the beginning. The Kurds, whose very existence had been denied, were acknowleged, but as no firmly rooted solution to the problem had been found, matters continued as before in a vicious circle. The chauvinistic culture and education established by the Turkish Republic and the army meant that sadists were created and heads and noses were chopped off.

Currently, there is a positive and mature base from which to go forward. The developments in Iraqi Kurdistan are having an pronounced impact on Turkey. Rational circles in Turkey propose finding a solution to the Kurdish problem and engaging in friendly relations with Iraqi Kurdistan but despite the dawning of the Twenty-first century the Turkish-racist Generals are still intent upon solving the issue with bloodshed.

Hans Bavinck, Toulouse, France :

Religion, geopolitical strategy and so on have nothing to do with it. 99% of the equation is that Europeans are scared to face even more immigration into their countries, following the inclusion of large parts of Eastern Europe and the increase in immigration from Africa. Americans, when lecturing us about Turkey's importance, forget that the European Union is very different from any trade organization they themselves belong to. Entry into the EU means that every citizen of the country may settle in any European country of his/her choosing, and immediately claim equal rights to jobs, housing and social security — including immediate unemployment benefits which are substantially higher than the wages they could have in their home countries. The American equivalent to Turkish EU adhesion would be to give a green card to every single inhabitant of Mexico, with a 600$ per month federal payment to every Mexican who crosses the border but doesn't find a job.
As for the argument that European Moslims would appreciate the inclusion of a Moslim country, that's a pure invention. I live in an Arab neighborhood but don't know a single Arab who supports Turkish adhesion. The last thing they need is more competition for already scarce jobs and housing, not to mention more ethnic tension.
The root problem is that European politicians, and Turkish ones as well, have consistently been dishonest about the immigration consequences. Following Poland's joining the EU, many more Poles headed West than had been expected. Everyone knows that the numbers would be even higher in the case of Turkey, which unlike Poland has a long tradition of "exporting" workers.
I'm personally in favor of Turkish adhesion, but I do realize that it would lead to tens of millions of new immigrants in countries like Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands — not to mention the emptying of Turkey itself. It would not be an easy ride and it might take two or three generations to absorb the consequences.

AM, Vienna, VA :

NotoEU,Las Vegas,USA at December 6, 2006 05:40 PM

Cyprus is an EU member. therefore your post is nonsense.

Out of curiosity, how many handles are you using?

Tom Wonacott, Boise, Idaho :

To atilla,turkey,istanbul

That's a classic!

Baqi Barzani :

Turkey should first recognize the Armenian Genocide and grant its 15-million Kurds their political and cultural rights.

Turkish poor human rights record, its unwillingness to recognize the Armenian genocide and constant denial of Kurdish ethnic Kurdish minority are stumbling block to join the EU block.

Turkey needs to demonstrate it has: stability of institutions guarantying democracy, the rule of law, human rights and respect for and protection of minorities. There is still much to be done on civil liberties and basic human rights.

Turkey is home to approximately fifteen million Kurds, who account for roughly 25% of Turkey's population. Verbal communication in Kurdish language Kurdish still remains taboo in any official forum or in most schools. Kurdish newspapers, cultural centers, and political parties are routinely banned, attacked, and in some cases physically destroyed. And while it is true that some Kurds have been integrated into Turkish society and even groove on positions of political and economic influence, they have been able to achieve this status only by defining themselves as Turks and giving up their distinct ethnic and cultural rights. Until this time, Turkey refuses to acknowledge Kurdish identity crisis in that country.

Amnesty International and Helsinki Watch, two human rights monitoring organizations supported by the EU, have reported the persistence of practices such as arbitrary arrests, disappearances, extra judicial killings, torture in prisons, and censorship. The Turkish Human Rights Association, itself subject to harassment and intimidation tactics, has prepared detailed chronologies and lists of human rights abuses, including the destruction of entire Kurdish villages without due process, and has circulated these reports widely in Europe. Before the EU approves Turkeyís admission, the constitution should guarantee the right of persons belonging to all national minorities to take part in public life, including voting, being elected, participating in public offices and freedom of association and expression.

Although the successive governments that came to power after the creation of the Turkish Republic in 1923 deny any links with their Ottoman predecessors, they have always refused to recognize the killings of Armenians as genocide. Turkey must recognize the mass killing of Armenians in the early 20th Century as genocide if it hopes to join the European Union

According to most Western estimates, massacres and deportations between 1915 and 1923 claimed up to 1.5 million Armenian lives. Another 200,000 Armenians reportedly were killed between 1894 and 1896.

Murat Altinbasak, Providence, RI, USA :

Regrettably, this forum has degenerated into a sounding board for anti-Turkish propaganda.
The Turkish Republic's typical detractors.. Greeks, Armenians and Kurds.. are out in full force buying the truth and selling their lies. As I stated on a Recent Radio Opensource program wth Christopher Lydon on NPR, the above named are the real reason why Article 301 exists... To discourage Turks from giving strength to our enemies, and also to help identify the real enemies in our midst. It's arguable that no other country exists, that has so many who hope and pray for it's destruction. Is it any wonder why the Turkish military and it's budget are so large?

Murat Altinbasak, Providence, RI, USA :

Let me also add that the moderator's decision to feature any contribution steeped with propaganda on the front page of this issue, has been duly noted.

Atheist, Boston, USA :

We in the West have no interest in destroying Turkey — as long as the Turks do not initiate any military action against any Western nation or against the Kurds.

Turkish racists continue whining and complaining about how the West is out to "get" the Turks. Lying is an integral part of being a racist.

Right now, the problem is that the Turks are farting and crapping about how they have a "right" to enter the European Union (EU). What kind of bison fecal matter is that crap?

There is no such right. Membership is a privilege, and the requirement for membership is maintaining a Western standard of human rights and compassion. Yet, the Turks have repeatedly and vehemently opposed upgrading Turkish laws to support human rights and democray. Turks continue to brutally oppress anyone who is not Muslim.

All negotiations for granting EU membership to Turkey should be terminated. We Westerners do not want any nation that criminalizes the conversion of one's faith from Islam to another religion.

Read the following sickening crap.

Turkish converts to Christianity stand trial for insulting 'Turkishness'
(Canadian Press, 2006 November 24)
http://www.canada.com/topics/news/world/story.html?id=e60f1178-efe0-462b-a70d-16ff812b14be&k=72983
—————————————————————————————————————————————————
ISTANBUL, Turkey (AP) - Two Turkish men who converted to Christianity went on trial Thursday for allegedly insulting "Turkishness," and of inciting religious hatred against Islam, the Anatolia news agency reported.

Why would any sane Westerner want to admit this kind of Turkish claptrap into the EU?

amin ab, taiwan :

Yes, the Pope is absolutely right. It is high time that Turkey should be allowed EU membership - a case of country, incidentally Muslim, trying to be a developed and modern. Being recently bypassed by the newly-independent countries of Eastern Europe, is already a sure pain despite Ankara's long wait- being kept waiting in the cold at the gates. Think of the consequences if Turkey decides to take a U-turn and join the ranks of other Islamic neighbours, such as Iran. Frustrations can lead to irrational behaviour/policies, clash of civilizatons moves one step ahead. Tq.

Karim, USA/Morocco :

If Turkey is allowed to enter the EU, it will be held to a different standard.

This will most likey have negative side effects on Turkish society which would be under constant pressure to show that they are Europeans.

The core of the issue is that the Turkish identity with its Muslim heritage will never be accepted by Europe.

Welcome to European bigotry.

AT, Washington DC :

"We in the West have no interest in destroying Turkey — as long as the Turks do not initiate any military action against any Western nation or against the Kurds."

What? Man is this off-topic, not to mention horribly inaccurate. We in the West are allied with Turkey militarily through NATO; tied to it commercially through the WTO, trade and the customs union with the EU; and politically affiliated through shared membership in any number of common organizations (OECD, OSCE, Council of Europe, etc).

Moreover, the West frankly speaking doesn't care about the Kurds. Sure, yes, the EU complains about Turkey's treatment of the Kurds, but when push comes to shove, no one is going to take any active steps. Look at the response of the US government following the first Gulf war, when the Kurds in northern Iraq rose up. What did the US do? Absolutely nothing. It let Saddam crush the uprising, killing thousands. The US is happy to be buddy-buddy with the Kurds now because they are useful in maintaining security in northern Iraq. As soon as they aren't useful anymore, the US will sell them down the river like it always does. End of story.

On a completely unrelated note, to all the Europeans and others who protest that "Turkey isn't in Europe", you should have voiced your opinion about forty years ago. Turkey was made an associate member of the EEC in the early 1960s, at the same time as Greece. If it's not part of Europe, why did they let them in? So for the EU to say "no" to Turkey because it's not in Europe would only serve to reveal the EU's hardly veiled double standard.

Sirvan Bukan, Kurdistan :

The Kurds have suffered tremendously under the tyrannical regime in Ankara. How can a government who has committed genocide against a number of nations be allowed to join the civilized EU?

Turkey does not belong to EU. The Turkish government is ruled by non-democratic generals.

Kurds are Indo-European not Turks. If any country belongs to EU is the Kurdistan not Turkey. The Kurds have a democratic system in Northern Iraq and they will soon have united Kurdistan, which will be ready to join EU.

No to Turkish entry to EU. Yes, to Kurdish entry to EU.

Jean Baptiste Lefebvre :

Europe cannot open her doors to millions of uneducated and unskilled Turks. Why should Europe do that? In any relationship there has to be give and take. The Turks will benefit a lot from their entry. What would Europe get in return? Crime, prostitution and a lot of people with non-European manners and customs.

America; Please open YOUR doors and allow the Turks to join your Union if they are so worthy. Please leave Europe alone to make her own decisions.

We will NEVER allow Turkey to enter.

Metin, Newport Beach, CA :

Why don't 'we' just create a 'Kurdistan,' and invite them to the EU. That would answer all the anti-Turkish ranters, bring affirmative action to the Kurds, as well as allow a totally non-European but Muslim country in. Maybe then we can send Turkey to the moon, and expel it from mother earth, where there would be no threats to its neighbors and the west.

It's that simple?

NoToEU,Las Vegas,USA :

ª AM, Vienna, VA | Permalink
NotoEU,Las Vegas,USA at December 6, 2006 05:40 PM
Cyprus is an EU member. therefore your post is nonsense.
Out of curiosity, how many handles are you using?

Cyprus is not an EU member. 'Southern Cyprus' is accepted into EU illegally since Cyprus cannot be a member to a political or economic organization that Turkey is not a member of. Therefore check your facts before you have an idea. Also I am happy to keep your curiosity level up.

Darius (Persian), Iran :

All Iranians support Turkey?s entry to Europe. Europe should stop her double-standard. Turkey is a democratic country. Yes, she has problems, but who does not.

Can the Europeans convince the world that most of the Eastern European countries are democratic? I have been to Romania. Turkey is a hundred years ahead of Romania when it comes to culture, talent, industry and governance. Yet, Europe wants to incorporate Romania!

Stop the European arrogance.

The Persians support Turkish integration with Europe.

Go TURKEY.

AM, Vienna, VA :

Darius (Persian), Iran at December 7, 2006 10:51 AM

Of course, Yes to Turkey in the EU. On the same basis and terms as every other member of the EU. That is the problem. Turkey wants a membership a-la-carte, where Turkey chooses the conditions of full membership.

I have noticed that the 'supporters' of Turkey's admission to the EU insist that it si the responsibility of the EU to admit Turkey. None accept that Turkey must adhere to the terms of the agreement. Instead I keep hearing and reading nonsense to the effect that: (1) Turkey must be in the EU because the US has made such a mess in the Middle East; (2) Turkey is in NATO, so obviously should be in the EU; (3) Turkey has much to contribute; etc.

The only thing I do not hear is that Turkey must fulfill the terms of the agreement that Turkey has signed. That is the essence of the problem.

J Joergensen. Gentofte, Denmark :

The EU is a "European Club" situated in Europe.
Turkey is not a part of Europe.
And the pope has no say.
Turkey should not be a member of the EU.

AM, Vienna, VA :

NoToEU,Las Vegas,USA at December 7, 2006 10:38 AM

I believe that you are letting emotions cloud your reason. Cyprus is a full member of the EU, having fulfilled all the conditions for membership. Part of the country is under foreign occupation, and the EU (including Cyprus) are trying to resolve the problem in a civilized manner.

As for your handles, I was only pointing out the dishonesty (or is it Turkish sense of honor, to quote from another handle?)

NoToEU,Las Vegas,USA :

ª AM, Vienna, VA | Permalink

NoToEU,Las Vegas,USA at December 7, 2006 10:38 AM

I believe that you are letting emotions cloud your reason. Cyprus is a full member of the EU, having fulfilled all the conditions for membership. Part of the country is under foreign occupation, and the EU (including Cyprus) are trying to resolve the problem in a civilized manner.

As for your handles, I was only pointing out the dishonesty (or is it Turkish sense of honor, to quote from another handle?)

ª AM, Vienna, VA | Permalink
Apparently you have no idea of history of Cyprus issue or I even doubt that you know where the Cyprus is on the world map. According to international agreements Cyprus cannot be a member to any organization that Turkiye is not a member of. That said EU's acceptance of 'Sourhern Cyprus' to represent the whole island is illegal and that is the point I am making.

As far as honesty goes, everybody is quoting from each other so are you quoting from my handle. Therefore let's not try to give other people honesty lesson when you yourself is not so honest according to your own observation.

Darius (Persian), Iran :

To: AM, Vienna, VA

Greetings from snowy and cold Tehran!

We appreciate the fact the Turkey needs to fulfill certain obligations. That is all fine. However, our concern is the never ending shifting and moving of the end post, our concern is that as soon as Turkey tries to fulfill one obligation Europe moves the post again.

With all due respect to our Greek friends, were they not ruled by a Junta as well at some point?

The French want Turkey to accept her responsibility towards the Armenians. That is fine as well. But, do the French accept their responsibility towards Algeria? That is the double-standard that we are talking about.

Turkey is behaving responsibly and has a democratic system that is improving. From our view in Tehran; Turkey wants to have solid democratic system, she should be allowed to join the EU.

karim, USA/Morocco :

Jean Baptiste Lefebvre:

Perhaps you could explain more if you can.

Wasn't Spain uneducated, poor and unskilled when it joined the EU in the early 80s? Is there a highway in Spain that was not built with EU funds?

What is it that you don't like in Turks? Their religion maybe?

MikeB :

Is it just me, or isn't anyone else reading these posts not noticing a double standard at work here? The Arabic commentaries accuse American and European posters of "racism" and "bigotry" for simply pointing out that Turkey (and most of the Islamic world) will imprison a person for converting to a religion other than Islam...actually whatever brand of Islam that locally holds sway. Westerners are "bigots" for pointing out that Iran and Turkey and Syria have murdered millions of minority people. Turkish troops, on film mind you, and as recently as this past summer, are shown burning down a Kurdish village while the bodies of dead Kurdish villagers line the streets. We have reports, too, of Iran and Syria doing exactly the same. Ditto for the ragtag Shiite armies of Al Sadr and who knows who else in their attempted grab for the oil fields South of Mosul. Turkey still denies the documented fact that Turkish troops, beginning in 1915 and through 1923, annihilated virtually the entire Armenian population of Anatolian Turkey - more than 2 million people were gassed, machined gunned, and burned alive. There is documented evidence that Turkey used poison gas as recently as the late 1970ís to murder whole Kurdish villages. Likewise, there is more than ample documentation of Iranian troops and irregulars murdering Kurdís, Christian minorities, Bahiists, and others. Look, you can torture language all you want, but calling someone a "bigot" for pointing out that Turkey, and Islamic society in general, are countries and cultures guilty of religious persecution, genocide, and barbarism on a scale that defies sanity. No Islamic country ought to be permitted to even call themselves civilized, much less enter the EU, until they acknowledge their history of barbarism and cease to practice it. One of the marks of European countries, of civilized societies, is to do that. Iím, like most Westerners, am sick of listening to Arab apologists twisting history and facts to suit their twisted and perverted world view and calling anyone "a bigot" for pointing out the facts simply wont cut it.

Jim K, Fort Worth,TX, USA :

ª MikeB | Permalink

Anatolian Turkey - more than 2 million people were gassed, machined gunned, and burned alive. There is documented evidence that Turkey used poison gas as recently as the late 1970ís to murder whole Kurdish villages.

Mike B,
I don't know whose movies you are watching, but in 1915 entire Turkey's population was about 2 million. Also it was not Turkey it was Ottoman Empire which is consisted of Greece, Bulgaria, Lebanon etc.etc. so I guess they are guilty of these massaccares you are imagining as well.
Poison gas was used by Saddam not by Turkey. Also what Ottomans's supposed to do while Armenians cooperating with Russians and burining villages? sit back and watch the flames???

Darius (Persian), Iran :

To: Mike B

Only sixty years ago one of the greatest European counties, Germany; gassed, enslaved, maimed, deported and killed millions of people.

We do not say that Christianity was at fault.

During WWI 11 million European Christians killed each other.

We do not say Christianity was at fault. There are numerous more examples.

You say: 'Islamic society in general, are countries and cultures guilty of religious persecution, genocide, and barbarism on a scale that defies sanity. No Islamic country ought to be permitted to even call themselves civilized'

Defies sanity? Wow.

Who is the bigot here? Come down from you high horse of morality; you do not belong there.

We are touched about your supposed concern for our Kurdish brethren. Your crocodile tears have touched us.

We are not sick and tired of Christianity, Buddhism, Judaism or any other religion. We are sick and tired of bigots like you masquerading as a bleeding heart, civilized and emancipated human beings.

MikeB :

Jim K, Fort Worth,TX, USA -
I suggest you read a bit of history before deminstrating your profound ignorance for all of the world to see. "According to sources, in 1914, before World War I, there were an estimated two million Armenians in the Ottoman Empire. The vast majority of Armenians were of the Armenian Apostolic faith, with a small number belonging to the Armenian Catholic and Protestant denominations" - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Armenian_Genocide.
This is further borne out by articles all over the web, in the Encyclopedia Britannica, thye CIA World Fact Book, and other places.

Further, the Ottoman Turk's were responsible for the overthrow of the Eastern Roman Empire. Spend some time reading about that period, please! Turkey, right up until the 1500's, was a Greek and Roman land. The people who historically lived there were racially European. Do you know what the conquering Ottoman armies did? The slaughtered the native people - murdering well over 4 million - and forcibly established Arabic communities. They took over businesses and farms and homes and churches. They made the churches into mosques. St. Sophia in Contintinople, the Grand Mosque in Beruit, and hundreds of others were all originally Christian churches that were converted into mosques after the Christian's were butchered. THAT is a legacy of the Ottoman armies.

Darius (Persian), Iran -
Since you bring up Hitler and Germany...how is it that your own government, then, denies that Hitler's atrocities ever took place? Hum? Or, are you prepared to criticise your government and the religious nut jobs that run it for claiming otherwise? The fact is, Hitler and his minions were not Christian's, were emphatically anti-Christian and anti-Jewish. They, in fact, were allied with many Islamic groups and governments. In fact, several Muslem government's actually hired former German prison camp guards following World War II to help them solve their "Jewish Problem".

Since then, Germany has done everything in it's power to make amends for the awful,things done during that time. They have paid reparations, made apologies, established museums, prosecuted German's responsible for these awful crimes, and shouldered the humiliation and blame and set about reforming their entire culture to ensure that nothing like that would ever happen again. I am a Native American, an Amercian Indian, if you will, and the United States has likewise made amends for the ill treatment of my people. If anmything, they have gone overboard. Look at Sweden or France or Austria or any European nation and you will see people that have shouldered responsibility for any past sins and have dedicated themselves to creating a better world and not repeating their mistakes. In the Arab world, however, we see your government engaged in a program to build nuclear weapons. Why? Are you going to use them on Israel? We see Iranian irregular troops infiltrating Iraq, in competition with Turkish irregulars (oh...I forget,they are called "Turkomen" minorities), to make a grab for Kurdish lands and oil. Any moron knows that elements of the Iranian government are responsible for the vast majority of the IED's used to kill our soldiers and many of the suicide bombs and bombers in Iraq and throughout the Middle East. Iran is the chief supporter of Hizbolla which has murdered several government ministers in Lebanon in an attempt to destabalize that government. Your country is flat out evil and much of the misery and bloodshed of the world cn be laid upon your doorstep. I say this as someone who was opposed to any involvement in the Middle East to begin with; I say this as someone who believes that if you lay down with dogs, you will wake up with fleas.

This is not a blanket condemnation of Islam nor of Arab people. Kurd's, whom I respect and admire, are largely Islamic. I have friends who are Arabic, both in the U.S. and in Europe. These are civilized and moral and tolerant people who shed your backward and ridiculous cultural values.

AM, Vienna, VA :

NoToEU,Las Vegas,USA at December 7, 2006 12:01 PM

(&TG Reston, VA)

(The two handles have had identical posts, word for word).

Cyprus IS a FULL member of the EU. Turkey obviously is not. Turkiye is another matter altogether.

Muslims who reside in the occupied north of Cyprus carry Cypriot passports. Some of them even ran for office at the last elections.

Obviously the issue lies in 'Turkiye' which seems to prevent Turkey from realizing her full potential. Perhaps Turkey should shake 'Turkiye' off, so she can join the EU.

AM, Vienna, VA :

Darius (Persian), Iran at December 7, 2006 12:04 PM

Shifting posts is indeed wrong.

However the conditions that Turkey must satisfy are clearly spelled out in the accord that Turkey signed last year. What has 'changed' is that the EU is requiring Turkey to adhere to these terms. That is: recognize ALL members of the EU; Stop threatening war against members of the EU; Respect for minorities and other human rights.

Apparently Turkey did not expect to be required to adhere to an agreement Turkey signed. That means that Turkey is shifting the posts, not the EU. This is not an academic matter; it is essential to whether Turkey can be a member of the EU.

:

MikeB | Permalink
there were an estimated two million Armenians,The vast majority of Armenians were of the Armenian Apostolic faith, with a small number belonging to the Armenian Catholic and Protestant denominations" - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Armenian_Genocide.

According to who? According to a website already stamped GENOCIDE next to the word of ARMENIAN??

This is more like guestimating than estimating and it shows your ignorance and short sightedness towards history. You are not quoting from any objective articles

I am not defending Ottoman Armies, however if they were so bad how come they ruled over 600 so year and manage the preserve all minorities and relegions, christians and jews alike and did not force ISLAM by making it mandatory to all these other faiths?? And how come there are still churches, sinagogs etc left from those day if they were so ruthless armies and burned everything?? Talking to me about ignorance!

MikeB :

Anon Poster - For you information, that was merely the headline of an article on the Wikipedia. It was, as I stated, one of many citations concerning this. Other are the University of Michigan, which "only" estimates that the Turk's murdered 1.5 million : http://www.umd.umich.edu/dept/armenian/facts/genocide.html
Human Rights Watch and the the United Human Rights Council:
http://www.unitedhumanrights.org/Genocide/armenian_genocide.htm.

And, as for all of the atrocities being due to the Ottomen, from the Humqan Rights Council, I quote:
The decision to annihilate the entire population came directly from the ruling triumvirate of ultra-nationalist Young Turks. The actual extermination orders were transmitted in coded telegrams to all provincial governors throughout Turkey. Armed roundups began on the evening of April 24, 1915, as 300 Armenian political leaders, educators, writers, clergy and dignitaries in Constantinople (present day Istanbul) were taken from their homes, briefly jailed and tortured, then hanged or shot.

These "young Turks" ARE, in some cases, the same "leaders" of your barbaric Tukish government today!

And, I noticed that you simply ignored the photographic evidence all over the web of poison gas attacks against innocent Kurdish villagers in the 1970's, of the machine gun murders and burned village that Turkish troops did this past summer.

It is so typical of you Turk's to deny the horrible things that you did and continue to do and , then, demand that the rest of the world somehow overlook it. We get the same nonsense from the Palestinian's, Hizbolla, Israel, and a lot of other contributors to the degradation of humanity. Forget that. You have a choice, act like a rabid dog and expect to be treated like one. Act like a civilized human being, and expect to be treated like a human being. No more excuses.

| Permalink :

ª MikeB | Permalink

Anon Poster - For you information, that was merely the headline of an article on the Wikipedia. It was, as I stated, one of many citations concerning this. Other are the University of Michigan, which "only" estimates that the Turk's murdered 1.5 million : http://www.umd.umich.edu/dept/armenian/facts/genocide.html
Human Rights Watch and the the United Human Rights Council:
http://www.unitedhumanrights.org/Genocide/armenian_genocide.htm.

Mike B- You are the one who is acting like a rabid dog. You are preacing about civilized manners but using your post for doing otherwise.

As for your sources you are yet to give me one without the word GENOCIDE not stamped next to it??

Also showing your civilized manners is your blind attack on Turks by saying 'It is so typical of you Turk's' although I don't remember saying that I was a Turk. But this is so typical of you self-righteous
people like yourself to accept everybody uncivilized, attack like a rabid dog and defend the civilization. LoL.

MikeB :

Anon Poster - You have become the Poster Child for why Turkey cannot be admitted to the EU and why the U.S. and Europe needs to extricate themselves from any involvement in the Middle East beyond defending Israel's right to exist and the establishment of Kurdistan.

AM, Vienna, VA :

MikeB at December 7, 2006 12:42 PM & Jim K, Fort Worth,TX, USA at December 7, 2006 01:09 PM

MikeB, as you have pointed out, anything short of unconditional praise and support of things 'non-Western' is classified 'bigotry' and of course springs from 'ignorance'. That it is (only?) in the Western tradition to actually admit and condemn wrongs (far past, past, and current) has escaped the 'open minded' many. It certainly does seem that Westerners are more repentant for the violence of Muslim on Muslim in Iraq than than any Muslims I am aware of. (By the way, I am a regular reader of AlJazeera English and The Arab News). (PS: I was born and raised in Muslim countries).

Jim K: Modern day Turks need to decide whether they are the inheritors of the Ottoman Empire (they are). There is a convenient tendency by today's Turks to label 'Ottoman' anything that is unpleasant; but a rush to defend anything Ottoman that is deemed worthy. As for the population of Turkey, in 1923, after the massacre of the Christians in Asia Minor and Trebizond, it exceeded 17 million.

The massacres of Christians, did begin, in an organized fashion in 1895 and hit 3 peaks: 1915 on the Armenians; 1916 on the Greeks, which caused Greece to enter WW1; 1920-23 when essentially all Christians were massacred or evicted from Turkey. There were 2 more rounds, in the mid-50's and 60's. Please do note that the latter 2 were well past the days of the Ottoman Empire. And of course, there is always the continuing issue with the Kurds.

You see, it is neither bigotry nor ignorance that is the issue. Instead, it is a full awareness of the Ottoman and Turkish attitude towards non-Turks. Ataturk did say 'Lucky is he who CALLS himself a Turk'. Many Turks I know today like to say 'Lucky is he who IS a Turk'. This is the root of many issues Turkey has today, and concerns we have with Turkey's attitudes.

:

ª MikeB | Permalink

Anon Poster - You have become the Poster Child for why Turkey cannot be admitted to the EU and why the U.S. and Europe needs to extricate themselves from any involvement in the Middle East beyond defending Israel's right to exist and the establishment of Kurdistan.

Mike B- You have become a poster child for using your search engine and searching for "Armenian_genocide" and cutting and pasting.

If EU will be close minded and one sided as you are, than maybe you are right about your observation but it will be the other way around it will best for Turkey to divorce EU.

Atheist, Boston, USA :

Read the following sickening crap.

Turkish converts to Christianity stand trial for insulting 'Turkishness'
(Canadian Press, 2006 November 24)
http://www.canada.com/topics/news/world/story.html?id=e60f1178-efe0-462b-a70d-16ff812b14be&k=72983
—————————————————————————————————————————————————
ISTANBUL, Turkey (AP) - Two Turkish men who converted to Christianity went on trial Thursday for allegedly insulting "Turkishness," and of inciting religious hatred against Islam, the Anatolia news agency reported.

Why would any sane Westerner want to admit this kind of Turkish claptrap into the European Union (EU)?

The EU is a society of people who voluntarily share a similar system of values: i.e., Western values. Turkish values are diametrically opposed to Western values.

The appropriate society for Turkey is the Arab League or any other society sharing a similar system of barbaric values. Perhaps, New Delhi and Beijing can morph the East Asian Community (which was designed explicitly to exclude the West) into simply the Asian Community, opening the way for admitting Turkey. Certainly, the Indians and the Chinese share much more, value-wise, with the Turks than the Westerners share.

If you are European, you should not sit idly, hoping that the EU politicians will act responsibly. You should go to the streets and stage demonstrations condemning the admission of Turkey into the EU. Tell your politicians what you think.

Above all, do not listen to Washington. The Americans favor exploiting illegal aliens, so they religiously stick to one mantra: unrestrained immigration from everywhere is wonderul. Do not listen to the Americans. They will tell you to admit 70 million barbarians from Turkey. Do not listen to the Americans.

special note to the illegal aliens from Mexico: Christmas is at hand. The easy way to identify an American with cash — plenty of cash — is to identify his car. Anyone driving a shiny, large sport-utility vehicle (SUV) has plenty of cash. They burn plenty of expensive gasoline, so the owner must be rich. During this time of year, the typical new SUV is loaded with merchandise (purchased as gifts for Christmas). Target these SUVs for a carjacking. You will hit the jackpot in terms of cash, credit cards, and merchandise that you can send back to Mexico for your family. The cash, credit cards, and merchandise belong to you: take what is yours! The police will not be able to arrest you since the government has no record of your presence or existence in the USA. (No. I'm not joking. Merry Christmas.)

Darius (Persian), Iran :

To: MikeB

Native American, are you? Interesting. Hard to believe with all your rants.

You say: 'your own government, then, denies that Hitler's atrocities ever took place? Hum? Or, are you prepared to criticize your government and the religious nut jobs that run it for claiming otherwise'

First of all Ahmadinejad is NOT my government. I did not vote for this clown and no one I know has voted for him. It is a mystery to all of us how he got the 'supposed' million of votes. By the way, in my last post I DID SAY that Germany committed genocide. Please pay attention. But, it seems that you cannot. It is tough to pay attention when one is consumed by hatred.

You seem to know the nuances of hiring ?of former German prison camp guards following World War II to help them solve their 'Jewish Problem'. Yet, you fail to understand the Persian people are NOT Arabs.

You mention: 'Your country is flat out evil and much of the misery and bloodshed of the world cn be laid upon your doorstep.'

At my door step; my good fellow! I live in an apartment with my wife, little girl and my cat. Yes, evil resides at my apartment?s doorstep. You have pegged me. Yes, I am the source of all evil in the world.

How could an American Indian utter the following: 'These are civilized and moral and tolerant people who shed your backward and ridiculous cultural values.' I have attended several SUN-MOON dances with the Southern UTE people. No one ever denigrated other cultures as ?backward and ridiculous?. American Indians have a 30,000 year history.
No my dear fellow; you are no American Indian. You are a frustrated and angry individual (whatever you background is). I have a hunch..

I listen to Radio Israel, so do many Persians I know, to get good news. Great majority of people of Iranian people want to have peace with everyone including with Israel.

I am not going to be apologetic for Ahmadinejad as much as you are not going to be apologetic for the misdeeds of Israel and George W Bush. Everyone is responsible for their own actions in this world.
It is obvious that you hate the Muslims, regardless of your professed love for the Kurds.
Hate has consumed you. You accuse other folks of the same hypocrisy that you are guilty of. Open your heart.
At any rate, I did not join the conversation to get into a hateful chat with you. Let us not hijack the subject.
I firmly believe that Turkey should be allowed to join EU.

Thanks

Jim K, Fort Worth,TX, USA :

AM, Vienna, VA

Jim K: Modern day Turks need to decide whether they are the inheritors of the Ottoman Empire (they are). There is a convenient tendency by today's Turks to label 'Ottoman' anything that is unpleasant; but a rush to defend anything Ottoman that is deemed worthy.

Modern Turkey is not an inheritor of Ottoman Empire. If they were they would keep the old alphabet, they would keep the Kaliphat, even they would keep the Sultanate as many other countries did back in the day.
This is a country with the national motto "Peace at Home and Peace in the World".

"Christians were massacred or evicted from Turkey. There were 2 more rounds, in the mid-50's and 60's. Please do note that the latter 2 were well past the days of the Ottoman Empire."

Better selection of words will be EXCHANGED for the Turks that were being evicted from GREECE(a couple of them were in my extended family and they were robbed by Greek paramilitaries from their belongings along the way). Talking about the rights of minorities, such as Kurds, have you ever done a research on what Turkish Minority in Eastern Greece is going thru right now, they can even elect their muftu which has to be appointed by Athens. This is going on in a country that is a member of EU? But I guess being grown up in a Muslim country and all that you have no interest of sufferin of other people but your own.

There is always two sides to a story. Jumping to a judgment after hearing one side or after reading someting floating in cyberspace will not make a case.

Kerry, Las Vegas, USA :

Nope. Most of the posters do not realize that the best seller in Turkey is Mein Kampf. Do you really believe that Turkey should be allowed in? No! Honor killing occurs with frequency in this land.

Get real Europe or is it already Eurabia.

Turkoglu, Europe :

Eurabia. It has a ring to it Kerry. I like it.

Don't worry Zionist. We want to join EU not Israel. I read Mein Kampf before I go to sleep every night. I highly recommend it...

MikeB :

Darius (Persian), Iran - I know full well that Iranian's do not consider themselves to be Arabs. They think of themselves as "Persians". During and just prior to WWII, Hitler and his band thought that Iran was home to the original Arian's and spent a lot of time and money studying Iran. The fact is, the old Persian Empire was conquered along with the rest of the Middle East by the Islamic Armies and you are, like it or not, Arabic in your outlook and culture (I don't give a hoot about race - good and bad people come in all sorts of colors). As for being Native American, you loose. I am, and rather proud of it. FYI, I know nothing of the SW bands, I'm Blackfoot on my mother's side and Shoshone-Ute on my father's side.

As for the Ute's, if you were dancing with them in the S.E. they were a long way from home! It is more likely you were with a bunch f stoned hippies pretending to be "native". The Ute's are a Shoshone band and live in Northern Utah. I know, I came from there. We have never had anything resembling your "sun-moon" dance nor any other dance, for that matter. The biggest ceremony, introducing boys to manhood, was a sweat lodge ceremony, very similar to that of the Blackfoot.

SP, California :

The best seller in Turkey is not Mein Kampf. And reading a book doesn't mean believing and endorsing what it says inside. (This isn't to say that there aren't fundamentalists in Turkey, but Turkey probably has the best relations with Israel out of all Muslim nations, their militaries are closely allied, and Turkey has never disputed Israel's right to exist) And honor killings occur mostly in the eastern, rural, mainly Kurdish region of Turkey. They are a tragedy nonetheless.

trud, Lille, france :

the pope says what he has to say in his position.

now, I do not think that is inner feelings changed since he spoke against turkey in the EU. In these days he simply had more freedom to speak his mind.

Anyway the problem of the EU is the bigger it gets the more impotent it is. The way ahead now is to reduce the size of the EU, mostly by sacking out countries that are inside EU but are in fact against it.
The best example of this is the UK which has never at any point in the last 30 years had a pro-EU opinion. The UK and some other countries, those who refused the euro must leave the EU instead of paralyzing it.

SP, California :

There seems to be some confusion regarding some of the history being spewed here. First of all, Iran and Turkey are not a part of the Arab world, as Persians (Iranians), Arabs, and Turks are all different ethnic groups with different languages and cultures. Persians and Turks are not Arabs.

Also, saying that Turkey was a Greece-Roman land until the 1500s is false. Turks entered Asia Minor (modern-day Turkey) in the 11th century. They conquered Constantinople in 1453 (which had been weakened after being sacked by Catholic Crusaders during the 4th crusade) Complains about churches being converted to mosques/museums - what about all the mosques that've been converted to churches in Spain, Greece and elsewhere? For example, the Cordoba in Spain, an Arabic mosque now a Catholic cathedral, or the Alhambra. Or the Ottoman mosques in Greece that're now museums after Greece killed and forcibly deported out much of its Turkish population post-WWI.

Regarding France and other European nations fully owning upto past historial sins - what about France's atrocities in Algeria, for which Nick Sarkozy said recently France should not apologize for? The sainthood bestowed on the Kurds by some - of course much of the killing of the Armenians in WWI Ottoman Empire was actually carried out by the Kurds (who lived near the Armenians). The PKK, a Kurdish nationalist group labeled as terrorists by the U.S., U.K., and EU, has continued to attack, bomb and murder Turkish civilians and foreign tourists for the last 30 years. Seems that every ethnic group has its good apples and bad apples.

Darius (Persian), Iran :

To: MikeB

I mentioned the Southern Ute. They mixed and intermarried with the Navajo. The dance chief was Joseph Rael; a Southern UTE medicine man. I still have my turkey whistle!

It is strange that you say that the UTE do not have a SUN-MOON dance. Almost all Native people from a variety of NATIONS have the SUN-MOON dance. Sweat Lodge by itself is not a ceremony. Although I have done Sweat Lodges at the Winter and Summer Solstices. Before the beginning of the SUN-MOON dance most NATIONS do one or two Sweat Lodges.

No, the people were not hippies. Trust me I can tell. Joseph adopted me as his son and opened my heart to the Great Spirit.

Yes, Persians did mix with Arabs. Our cultures have similarities but they are also very different. Arabs are an ancient race of people. I have traveled to several Arab countries. They are very hospitable and friendly.

Thanks for your reply.

Your friend Darius.

Amy Magil, USA :

Bottom line, Turks are not Europeans,

any questions?

James McMahon, Springfield, VA :

Amy;

Yes. How did you reach this conclusion? The Huns also came from Asia. The Slaves also came from Asia.

James McMohn

Shiloh, Otter Creek, USA :

"But there is neither East nor West,
Border, nor Breed, nor Birth,
When two strong men stand face to face,
'Tho they come from the ends of the earth!"

Kipling understood the potential for globalization.

Smith, Gaithersburg, USA :

Turkey does not belong to the European Union because it is a country controlled by the military that does not respect human rights and international law.

Turkey attacked in 1974 another country, Cyprus (currently a member of the European Union), and still occupies about 40% of its territory after killing, raping and ethnically cleansing it from its inhabitants (the Greek Cypriots) and settling it with Turks brought in from Turkey (a serious violation of the Geneva Convention).

Turkey threatens Greece (another member of the European Union) with war if Greece decides to implement the international law of the sea, as is her right. In addition, Turkey has recently raised claims on Greek territory.

Turkey has organized official pogroms against the Christian inhabitants of Constantinople (Istambul)and against the inhabitants of the islands of Imbros and Tenedos and has confiscated most of their property without any compensation.

Turkey committed genocide, killing millions of Christians that used to be the legitimate inhabitants of Asia Minor (Armenians, Greeks, Assyrians and others)and refuses to recognise these past crimes. On the contrary, they send to jail for life or eliminate anybody who dares to insult "Turkishness."

I can go on and on and on!!

Those Americans who support Turkey are just immoral hypocrites and accomplishes to Turkeys crimes!

Andy Washignton, DC :

I agree with the Pope let Turkey be part of EU.
I was there this past summer mostly on the west coast and Turkey is more modern and european than some old traditional european countries. For those of you who are complaining about Turkey, get over it, we're in the 21st century.

Atheist, Boston, USA :

Read the following sickening crap.

Turkish converts to Christianity stand trial for insulting 'Turkishness'
(Canadian Press, 2006 November 24)
http://www.canada.com/topics/news/world/story.html?id=e60f1178-efe0-462b-a70d-16ff812b14be&k=72983
—————————————————————————————————————————————————
"ISTANBUL, Turkey (AP) - Two Turkish men who converted to Christianity went on trial Thursday for allegedly insulting 'Turkishness,' and of inciting religious hatred against Islam, the Anatolia news agency reported."

Academic's publisher found not guilty of "insulting Turkishness"
(Associated Press, 2006 November 29)
http://www.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/articles/2006/11/29/professors_publisher_found_not_guilty_of_insulting_turkishness/
—————————————————————————————————-
"ISTANBUL, Turkey —A Turkish court ruled Wednesday that a publisher who printed a book by an MIT international studies expert that criticized the U.S.-Turkey military alliance was not guilty of 'insulting Turkishness.'

The case was the latest example of what European Union officials say is the abuse of Turkey's infamous article 301, the law making it a crime to insult Turkey, its officials or its people's national character, which was used against this year's Nobel literature prize winner, Orhan Pamuk."

Why would any sane Westerner want to admit this kind of Turkish claptrap into the European Union (EU)?

Even sicker is the fact that Muslims, Turkish bigots, Chinese, and Indians demand that you "get over it". These bigots insist that the brutal suppression of human rights (as indicated by the above incidents that happened in 2006, not 1906) in Turkey is normal and acceptable. "Get over it," exclaim the Islamic bigots.

I say that the Islamic bigots should get, the hell, out of Europe. The Turks are free to apply for membership in clubs and societies that are more compatible with their sick system of values. Certainly, the Arab League and the East Asian Community are appropriate clubs for Turkey.

The European Union (EU) is not appropriate for Turkey. Admitting Turkey would destroy the system of values in Europe. Most damaging is the Turks' foisting their twisted system of values onto Eastern Europe and to effectively rape Eastern Europe, a land that is barely 16 years out of the shadow of Soviet oppression. After the Turks successfully pressure the EU politicians to acquire membership in the EU, imagine hordes of Turkish bigots emigrating to, say, Hungary. There, they acquire Hungarian citizen and become the majority of the population. They then implement the same oppressive laws, in Hungary, that are now prevalent in Turkey. This scenario should scare the living daylights out of any Westerner.

If you are a Westerner, you have an obligation to stand up and to condemn Turkey. You must compel the EU politicians to terminate the membership talks with Turkey.

Read the 2 news articles at the above 2 web links. Do you want that kind of fecal-matter-focused thinking inside Europe?

NoToEU,Las Vegas, USA :

ª AM, Vienna, VA | Permalink

"However the conditions that Turkey must satisfy are clearly spelled out in the accord that Turkey signed last year. What has 'changed' is that the EU is requiring Turkey to adhere to these terms. That is: recognize ALL members of the EU; Stop threatening war against members of the EU; Respect for minorities and other human rights.

Apparently Turkey did not expect to be required to adhere to an agreement Turkey signed. That means that Turkey is shifting the posts, not the EU. This is not an academic matter; it is essential to whether Turkey can be a member of the EU."

Yes. You are correct with your verdict. But on the same agreement, EU has signed to lift the Economic Embargo that it is imposing on Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, which they are yet to honor. Why Turkey should be the only side making all the concessions? Isn't this double standard and double face of EU which is as divided in itself as a broken wine glass?

Bob, Annapolis, MD :

I too agree with the Pope and Andy (even if he can't spell) that Turkey be part of the EU. I was also in Turkey recently and had a great time. Everywhere I went, met the nicest people, beautiful scenery, and great food. I don't know what these people have against Turkey, but my experience was superb.

One prime example of turkish hospitality: was when my rental car ran out of gas late one night outside of Troy. Middle of nowhere, a trucker stopped to help, asked me if I needed to use his cell phone with broken english. Took me in his 2-seater truck with his 70 year old father and 9 year old son riding beside him. Found an open gas station and made the station attendant get gas for me, while his son flagged down another trucker to take me back. The other trucker drove me back to my car. Watched me try to fill my gas tank as I spilled it all over the car. He stopped me, dumped the water out of his water bottle, cut it to make a funnel and filled up my car with gas. Now that is hospitality!

I've traveled all over the world several times and the nicest people I've ever met were in Turkey. So those of you historians sitting on your lazy ass in front of your computer writing about what may or may not have happened in the past and criticizing the turkish people, I say to you go experience Turkey for yourself or SHUT UP!

Zoltan, hungarian, Paris :

I beg to differ:

"The European Union has never been about borders or geographical limits"

one of the main reasons for the french refusal to the European Constitution is that people were afraid to not be the masters of their borders. Since Schengen, there are no more internal borders in Europe (well, sort-of) so the only effective borders are vis-a-vis the outside. If there were no questions about borders up to today it's simply because in everybody's opinion every European country joining was really part of "Europe", so the question was implicit. But in people's mind Europe is _very_much_ about borders.

For me and many Europeans, Europe's borders go to the Bosphor. Which means that a little part of Turkey is truly in Europe. So we have a hard question to answer. My answer would be that Turkey as it is today (including Kurdistan) will and should _never_ be part of Europe. If Turkey gets smaller, ideally reduced to Istanbul on both sides of the Bisphor, then I would very much welcome it.

"The Pope has changed his mind about Turkey's accession to Europe"

He only did that - I think - because of his lamentable statements about muslims being aggressive. This new pope is a jerk compared to Jean-Paul 2.

Zoltan, hungarian, Paris :

to Darius (Persian), Iran:

"Greetings from snowy and cold Tehran!"

Hi !

"We appreciate the fact the Turkey needs to fulfill certain obligations. That is all fine. However, our concern is the never ending shifting and moving of the end post, our concern is that as soon as Turkey tries to fulfill one obligation Europe moves the post again."

You should recognize this for what it is: some politicians got overexcited and had proposed Turkey's entry into Europe, and today they realize they shouldn't have and are finding new conditions to meet to postpone that undesired event. Compare this with when a girl you're trying to date postpones each time the rendez-vous with new excuses, just because she doesn't want to hurt your feelings. Tough, but be a gentle-man: just walk away.


about MikeB: "No my dear fellow; you are no American Indian. You are a frustrated and angry individual (whatever you background is)."

Well said. Thank-you. I've been looking for such a precise description for a long time.

Zoltan, hungarian, Paris :

to Andy and Bob: Where to begin with such debilities ?

"I agree with the Pope let Turkey be part of EU."

He had also said exactly the opposite.

"I've traveled all over the world several times and the nicest people I've ever met were in Turkey"

"I was there (Turkey) this past summer mostly on the west coast and Turkey is more modern and european than some old traditional european countries."

And I've been to a McDonalds and it sucks: therefore the USA are awful. I've been to a Pizzeria, and I liked it: therefore, Italy is a nice country.

"For those of you who are complaining about Turkey."

And what about those who don't complain about Turkey "as a such" but about Turkey joining Europe ?

"get over it, we're in the 21st century."

learn to have intelligent arguments, we're in the 21st century.

Sukich Kittiaksorn Thailand :

Please tell the Turkish people to forget this applicastion
to join EU. Deep in the heart of European people will never
accept Turkey as equal. They will find the smallest excuse
to block the attempt. The other main reason is double standard
and bigot.
Let the Turkish people feel happy and contend that they are Turkish.
They can never be European, forget the big ego to be treated like
a white man.The only time E.U. need Turkey is when at war, they
need some suckers to die for them.

AM, Vienna, VA :

Jim K, Fort Worth,TX, USA at December 7, 2006 06:12 PM

'Exchange' ignores the events prior to the exchange. The Christians in the Ottoman Empire and Turkey were massacred. The population was reduced from the millions (about 5 million - Armenians, Greeks, Assyrians) to a few hundred thousand. (that was from 1895 - 1923: Ottoman Empire into Turkey; interesting, don't you think?) The exchange reduced that to 100000. The events in the 50's and 60's (that by the way is Turkey not the Ottoman Empire) reduced the number to less than 10000. The Muslim minority in Greece numbers in the hundreds of thousands, having continuously increased.

If Turkey is concerned about their lot, then Turkey can appeal to the Council of Europe and other organizations, where of course Turkey must provide evidence. Interestingly, there is no such appeal. In other words, this is noise.

The condition of the Kurds, however, is not noise. It is well documented, and it is not Greece who is raising the issue, but every country, except for Turkey.

AM, Vienna, VA :

NoToEU,Las Vegas, USA at December 7, 2006 11:37 PM

An interesting attempt to muddy the waters. There is no 'Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus' (except in Turkiye's mind), so there was no such promise. The EU has approved aid packages for the people who live there.

In other words, the EU has fulfilled the obligation to assist the people. It has not satisfied Turkiye's desire to impose its will. But that is because the EU negotiated with Turkey, not Turkiye.

BobL-VA :

World history is full of examples of mans inhumanity to man. These examples aren't by any means limited to the Arab/Muslim world. Unless I'm mistaken aren't we (the US) vandalizing Iraq as we speak. Aren't thousands of Iraqis dying each and every month?

A country as young as ours (225 years) with our checkered historical past really isn't in a moral position to throw stones at different cultures. Slavery was only abolished 141 years ago. The genocide committed against the Native Americans didn't stop until around 100 years ago. The way we treated the African-American community through the 1970's was disgraceful and only marginally better today.

There is no doubt America has developed into a world economic and military force of super power status. However, our devoutly Christian Forefathers had no problems enslaving people, massacring people and actively engaging in discrimination to suit their needs. Our country wasn't built on a moral model as much as it was built on an economic model.

When I read posts villifying the Turks I wonder why someone would write something so hateful. Since there is no reasonable chance (sorry Pope) that the rest of the world is going to convert to Christianity (or for that matter Islam) we can either find ways to coexist in a peaceful prosperous way or continue the conflicts indefinitely. I for one would rather have peace and prosperity. In that light the inclusion of Turkey into the EU would be a step in the right direction.

NoToEU,Las Vegas,USA :

ª AM, Vienna, VA | Permalink

NoToEU,Las Vegas, USA at December 7, 2006 11:37 PM
There is no 'Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus' (except in Turkiye's mind), so there was no such promise. The EU has approved aid packages for the people who live there.

Really? If this is so how come they are a member of many international organizations such as Islamic Conference etc.?

You might night recognize it but others do. Even it is only Turkiye.
Heck even it is only me. The right to freedom was not given to Turkish
Cypriots in a golden plate, they fought for it and won. So talking about self determination and governing right who in the world has more right to say that I don't want to be treated as a minority and get massacared again by Greek Cypriots. If status quo is so bad how come there is peace on the island for 32 years.
So don't try to look the other way in denial, if you want to see something there keep looking and you will see it. Just because you donít want to see it does not mean it is not there.

"The EU has approved aid packages for the people who live there."
We are not talking about aid package here. They supposed to lift the embargo and give the same money they pouring into south. That is not nickels and dimes we are talking here. Obligations. You are not honoring the signuture you put on dotted line but you expecting that other side do. It is preposterous.

MikeB :

Darius (Persian), Iran - I owe you an apology. I had no idea that there were Southern Ute's...I looked it up! So much for knowing our own cultural heritage. In any event, from what I read, the Ute's are identified by their liguistic family, all speaking a version of Shoshone, but their rituals and customs are very different. Anyways, the band I am associated with (and I asked last night) doesn't have a sun-moon dance. There used to be some "medicine" dances dances that brought the world in harmony, but no one practices them anymore. Rather like the world today, harmony-peace-humanity-community, have all gone out of style. We get right wing nut cases that look upon things like Turkish atrocities as an excuse for their racism and left wing nuts like Zoltan who look upon any criticism of cultural practices as an excuse to propound their neo-marxist form of anarchy. May they all disappear into history, consigned to the garbage heap of humanity.

Johan de Vries, Utrecht, Netherlands :

It's all very well for the US and other countries to offer Turkey membership of the EU to increase world peace and what not. But that's not for them to offer since it will have no effect on their taxes or their internal politics.

The USA should offer Turkey to become a new state of the United States; that is something that US diplomats and US journalists (Washington Post, Newsweek, ..) and citizens can offer.

But the EU is not an ideology like Newsweek claims and neither a panacea in front of which differences will melt.

There are 3 reasons why I voted against Turkey joining the EU in a referendum:
1. I'm not convinced it's economically in the interest of existing members. The EU is a bureaucratic system of cross-subsidization. I expect new members who lag with respect to investment in infrastructure for instance to benefit greatly from these subsidies. I do not trust politicians to be able to judge how the addition of all these new members will play out. So to me Turkey is too big, too poor and powerful.

2. with recent tensions in the Netherlands around Muslim immigrants I think the addition of Turkey in the EU will have the effect of Turkey meddling in these internal politics. Turkey is already trying to influence dutch internal politics as it is through trying to manipulate voting behaviour of citizens of Turkish descent.

3. Turkey just isn't european in my view. It isn't called the European Union for nothing. Further ideas about letting Marocco etc join are absurd. A coalition like the EU only works when the members have enough interests and ways of thinking in common. I have great doubts about the recent additions like Latvia, Roumenia and Bulgaria too, with their levels of corruption. But I'm especially sceptical at the moment about the possibilities of coming to a shared understanding with muslims on a political level. Twenty years ago everybody in the Netherlands still thought that goodwill and an effort for mutual understanding was enough to build a society together. With recent problems with a subset of Muslim immigrants there is a feeling that sometimes differences in background are so big that it's almost impossible to come to an understanding.

In letting Turkey join the EU politicians are gambling and I don't believe them when they say the outcome will be for the best. They told us that accepting the Euro wouldn't affect prices and look what happened: everything doubled instantly in price.

I literally don't know anybody among my acquaintances, plain educated middle class people, who wants Turkey to join the EU and politicians have been going on with the process regardlessly.

I read a lot of comments on the web of people from Turkey who are angry and see the whole process as smacking of contempt; aren't they good enough? Personally I'd like to say that I don't think people within the EU have anything against Turkey. It's just that our goals and interests do not align.

Robert Keenan, Santa Barbara, USA :

Amid all the talk about the EU being a Christian Club, we seem to be missing the less controversial fact that the EU was intended to be a European Club.

I am aware that 3% of Turkey is on the European Continent. While Hawaii is located in mid-Pacific, it is generally recognized that the US is a North American country, and not a Pacific Island nation.

Apart from the obvious geographical inconsistency, Turkey's culture, demographics, and history are all clearly at odds with the notion that Turkey is a European country. The small part of Europe that remains under Turkish control is the last vestige of an Asian empire that once spilled into Europe. When the Turks conquered Constantinople, they instantly changed it into a Middle Eastern, Islamic city, as would be expected of an Middle Eastern, Islamic nation.

The Turkish toe-hold on the European continent is the only reasonable underpinning for the claim that Turkey is a European country. Yet the UK was not considered an Asian country when it possessed Hong Kong, nor is the US considered to be an Asian country because it owns Diego Garcia. Turkish membership in the EU does not make sense.

Danilo Perez, Rockville, MD USA :

This is all about money and religion, the EU is filled with unfaithfull people whom are afraid of GOD! Turkey should ask itself if they will be treated as TRUE allies to the Union. Europe with its EURO is trying to gain power just as Nazi Europe was trying to do in the last century world wars. So we should all think very critically, what does being a member of the EU really means? Has Europe really changed after the horrendous World Wars??? The US got so powerfull because it is a country of FAITH! Can we say the same about the European Nations???!!!

ATTENTIVELY,

D.P.

ORPEA, INDIANA, USA :

I do not know how moderate the Turkey is. I believe in religious leaders who use their religious credentials to promote peace for all human beings. Pope is one of the world leaders who believes in peace. He proved this by visiting Turkey. By visiting muslim religious places he proved himself that he equally respects other religions. This is very important to note in the given political atmosphere in middle east. There is a lot to learn for every one from this event. I am one hundred percent sure that Pope requested Turkey to join EU to promote peace in that region. I believe in his view, I respect his view and I hope that world leaders pay attention to his views.

NotoEU,Las Vegas,USA :

3. Turkey just isn't European in my view. It isn't called the European Union for nothing. Further ideas about letting Marocco etc join are absurd.

Johan de Vries, Turkey is European when it comes to European Council, European parliament, European Security Council etc. etc. and it is not European when it comes to EU. What kind of convoluted logic is that?

If you are referring to geography, last time I checked Turkey had a bigger land in European Continent than Netherlands did.

"The USA should offer Turkey to become a new state of the United States; that is something that US diplomats and US journalists (Washington Post, Newsweek, ..) and citizens can offer."

I think you are puffing too much chi cha chon in Amsterdam. Take it slow.

"2. with recent tensions in the Netherlands around Muslim immigrants I think the addition of Turkey in the EU will have the effect of Turkey meddling in these internal politics. Turkey is already trying to influence Dutch internal politics as it is through trying to manipulate voting behavior of citizens of Turkish descent."

Correct me if I am wrong but isn't your government forcing their thoughts onto the descendents of Turkish immigrants that also happens to be Dutch citizens by saying they have to accept the Armenian Genocide otherwise they cannot be candidates to Dutch Parliament elections?
Where is the freedom of speech and thought in that that EU tries to impose on other countries that is REQUIREMENT to become a EU member?

What about head scarf ban?
We can go on and on.

I think you are the intolerant ones to anyone not white, rich and Christian.

Johan de Vries, Utrecht, Netherlands :

NotoEU: wether Turkey will join the EU is not about tolerance. It's just not in our interest. I repeat; if the US want to make up for bombing a muslim country and having 600.000 civilians killed they should have Turkey join the US.
Since you are not european it's not for you to decide wether Turkey is. Even if, let's say Korea, were remarkably western etc. it would not be a candidate for joining the EU. It's the same with Turkey. It's not in one specific thing like geography. As a gestalt Turkey does not share the centuries of shared culture that the other countries in the EU do.

The reason that a lot of people in the US want Turkey to join the EU is that there are substantial differences between the two and people hope these will become lesse as a result of membership. But that's not how things work in my view. Cultures are the result of developments that span centuries. These differences will not vanish suddenly. A coalition like the EU will not work anymore when differences get so big.

Your remark about me supposedly smoking marihuana is void of argumentation.

'where is the freedom of speech' etc. etc. That's the US way of doing things. We do things differently; denying genocide or incenting to hatred is criminal here. So we are not the US; and we are not going to give away gifts to make up for the wrongs that the US is doing in Iraq.

'what about the head scarf ban'; that's a matter of dutch internal politics. I will not go into that; wether Turkey is allowed to join the EU has nothing to do with discrimination.

'you are the intolerant ones to anyone not white, rich and Christian'.
Yes, a lot of people try to make the Turkey-EU issue about discrimination. Because that used to be the argument with which people always got their way in europe.
But it's not about discrimination. It is the right of european citizens to choose how they want their societies to be. And nobody wants f.i. that gays get beaten up even more because their sexual preferences do not agree with Islam. And that's something that is happening right now. The idea of live and let live goes very deep in the Netherlands but there's a very visible set of Muslims immigrants that use physical intimidation to get their way. That stance is imo not compatible with the way we want to do things in the Netherlands.

In other words; since you don't know what life is like in the EU at the moment and you don't have to live with the results of EU-Turkey your opinion does not really matter.

:

Johan de Vries,
"where is the freedom of speech' etc. etc. That's the US way of doing things. We do things differently; denying genocide or incensing to hatred is criminal here. So we are not the US; and we are not going to give away gifts to make up for the wrongs that the US is doing in Iraq."

Exactly my point, you are requiring Turkey to void the Turkish law 301 that punishes anyone who insults the "Turkishness" but you yourself has laws that defends a Genocide argument that is not event discussed by Historians thoroughly and much of that argument is hearsay.

"Since you are not european it's not for you to decide wether Turkey is. Even if, let's say Korea, were remarkably western etc. it would not be a candidate for joining the EU. It's the same with Turkey. It's not in one specific thing like geography. As a gestalt Turkey does not share the centuries of shared culture that the other countries in the EU do."

'where is the freedom of speech' etc. etc. That's the US way of doing things. We do things differently; denying genocide or incenting to hatred is criminal here. So we are not the US; and we are not going to give away gifts to make up for the wrongs that the US is doing in Iraq.'

I am aware of that. That is why I thank God that I am not in one of those EU countries instead I am in US. God Bless America!
On the other hand, don't if that is your case don't force upon other countries that you don't belive such as Religious freedoms, Freedom for Kurds etc. That is not really honest. By looking at Europe from here I can see you guys are way behind us on many issues.

"The reason that a lot of people in the US want Turkey to join the EU is that there are substantial differences between the two and people hope these will become lesse as a result of membership. But that's not how things work in my view. Cultures are the result of developments that span centuries. These differences will not vanish suddenly. A coalition like the EU will not work anymore when differences get so big."

Yeah, right, these differences were not there when Turkish guest workes were invited to Germany after WWII and built the whole country from ground up and many other countries I might add.

"But it's not about discrimination. It is the right of european citizens to choose how they want their societies to be."

If it looks like a duck, walk like a duck, it is a duck.

My point was EU's double standarts which you proved my point by your post. Gracias!

"Your remark about me supposedly smoking marihuana is void of argumentation." Is it? otherwise how else will you come up with such noble ideas?

NotoEU,Las Vegas,USA :

Previous posting was from me.

Haig , Washington DC. USA :

First and foremost, i am an Armenian who was born in Iran. I do beleive the Genocide happened. Turkey should abide by the rules and regulations of the EU if in fact it wants to join the EU. However what do they really have to offer in order for the EU to accept them? money? (they took 6 zero's off there currency to make it worth something) but it still isnt for a dime. The people are nice (some of them not all), also the world has to see and view the Turks as what they really are. I have always given the 2nd chance to the turk, but i always get burned and spit on when they find out that i am Armenian. So what i am saying if they want to join let them, what is it really going to change? if anything EU will realize there mistake, kick them out, and they will be the laughing stock of the world...They still have to acknowledge the Genocide, Crimes against huamnity, what they did to the Kurds and what they did to the Greeks and return Cyprus back to Greece.

Overall they are hungary savages who have no human morals what so ever, and they should all burn in hell.

Metin, Newport Beach, California, USA :

BobL - A great conclusion to this discussion!

NotoEU,Las Vegas,USA :

What is this talk about linking something called Genocide nobody know what it is it is like a moving target, with Turkey's accession talks to Europe, Armenians are not in Europe.

If Europe is so inclined about genocides I first suggest them take a look at theirs while French was murdering Algerians, and as recently as late 90s Dutch troops were watching while Serbians were massaccaring Bosnians in Srebrenitza.

Two issues are not related at all.
Along the history there were wars and everybody killed everybody.
Such has happened during the Crusades and nobody calls them Genocide?

Tom Wonacott, Boise, Idaho :

To BobL

"...A country as young as ours (225 years) with our checkered historical past really isn't in a moral position to throw stones at different cultures. Slavery was only abolished 141 years ago. The genocide committed against the Native Americans didn't stop until around 100 years ago. The way we treated the African-American community through the 1970's was disgraceful and only marginally better today..."

1. Bob - the US supports Turkey's entrance to the UN!!! So why are you ripping the US? It is Europe that is setting conditions for their entrance. Your attack against the US makes no sense!!!

2. We are a democracy. We own up to our past. We cannot change it, but we don't deny it or sweep it under a rug. Conditions have improved dramatically for minorities in this country especially in the last 40 years. Your statement about African Americans is entirely false. Do conditions need to improve for all minorties? Absolutely, but conditions are much better than 50 years ago.

3. Turkey has signicant problems which it is addressing including minority rights (the Kurds), womens rights (in part, cultural) and other issues which have been discussed throughout this forum.

4. American history is not a basis for allowing Turkey (or anyone) into the European Union just as Germany's history does not qualify Turkey either.

Johan de Vries, Utrecht, Netherlands :

NotoEU: well, you certainly show your colours; you've lowered yourself to insulting me.

To sum up; there is no moral imperative for the EU to let Turkey join. Not because of supposed riches in the EU, not because of supposed religious tolerance, not because of a supposed need to stabilize the Middle East (which amounts to destabilizing the EU in my view), not because of working immigrants (they came here, which is fine, there's no logical consequence that entails obligations to their _former_ fatherland) etc.

I think our politicians should be honest and say; circumstances have changed (the cold war is over and we've lost our faith in changing the world by being reasonable), we changed our mind, no.

Basically your argument is based on inducing guilt. For a long time that was the way to get your way in the Netherlands and in the EU. But there is no relevant moral obligation in this respect.

And with regards to Srebrenica; the Dutch were stupid to take on a insufficiently defined mission, the Dutch were weak in their military power, we failed in a dishonourable way.
You show that your own moral compass is wildly incalibrated when you equate Turkish denial of wilful genocide with the Dutch self-avowed incompetence in stopping genocide in a civil war in a different country. Let me try to spell it out for you; it's the difference between being a perpetrator or being a weak bystander...

But then you're grasping at straws.

Basically I haven't heard any argument that isn't wildly speculative why Turkey joining the EU would be advantagous to existing EU members.
Yes, there's one reason; land based access to the oil/gas from Kazachstan. But that comes necessarily with a direct EU border with the Middle East and the issues with contended Kurdistan, etc. It's just not worth it in my opinion.

Peace.

NotoEU,Las Vegas,USA :

ª Johan de Vries, Utrecht, Netherlands | Permalink

Dutch "allowed genocide" in Srebrenica

ZAGREB: Bosnian survivors of the first act of genocide in Europe since the Holocaust, the Srebrenica massacre of 1995, went to court on Thursday seeking to prove illegal conduct by the Dutch peacekeeping troops who stood aside while Serb forces butchered the male inhabitants of the enclave. The district court in The Hague opened hearings to decide whether the suit, brought by the family of a Bosnian victim of the July 1995 atrocities, Rizo Mustafic, should proceed to full trial. If the pioneering case succeeds, there are likely to be demands for financial compensation and it could presage a wave of litigation by Srebrenica victims, relatives of the dead, or Bosnians employed by the Dutch peacekeeping contingent. Lawyers for some of the victims have previously failed to reach an out-of-court settlement with the Dutch Government, demanding around £27,000 for each of the 7,942 dead, or missing presumed dead, recorded by the Bosnian Government.

- Guardian Newspapers Limited 2005

I think it is worse than some fictional genocide story.it just happened. it is fresh and it is real.

If your troops were so incompetent, what the heck they were doing in Bosnia? Were they vacationing over there?

"Basically your argument is based on inducing guilt."

I think it is worse than some fictional genocide story. it just happened. It is fresh and it is real.

If your troops were so incompetent, what the heck they were doing in Bosnia? Were they vacationing over there?

"Basically your argument is based on inducing guilt."

Apparently I am not doing a good job since your government just rewarded the soldiers that stood by while real GENOCIDE happened under your watch. Your government approved their job and the genocide they watched over(or participated too) and gave them 'Exceptional Service' just a week ago.

Did you ever sit down and think about how incompetent EU really is on everything? You let the people under your watch to be killed. First you need to judge those people who were there and than you need to judge yourselves instead you are giving them rewards.That shows your colours.

I think Turkey will be better off leaving you hanging and shut the door to your double standards, rotten EU politics and stinking EU parliaments.

somewhere in bu bok lu dunyada!!! :

The genocide isnt happened in Ottoman Empire lands .
if Ottoman Empire wanna be genocidedto that time ?
can anyone thinking ?? in 1400 ? in 1350 or in 1500 ?
ısnt you heared Magnificent Kanuni Fatih Sultan Mehmet ...
if they had do genocide ,,
we dont see europa or usa , or what is it ..
But they dont do ,
becoz Ottoman E. is stil missing state ,
they had equity for all kind of humans,
not only muslum ....

if Turks do genocide , never 1 ermanians lived
All of Turks history none have genocide ,
but if can wanna do ??
u will not there now!! ...
650 years only Ottoman Empire ,,,,, We will back soon .... maybe 20 years maybe 50 year ...
The Turks power must be continue ===>

if you see real genocide ,
look philistin ,
look germany,
look france,
look blody europe!!
And biggest usa ..
find it ,
your will be more than, what wanna find ...

P. Dimitriadis, NYC, USA :

The Catholic Pope said that Turkey should be part of the EU but did he take the time to think how many great reasons why Turkey should be part of the EU and ask to himself why Turkey should be part of EU?

I do not believe Turkey has the right to be part of the EU unless it meets the conditions set forth by the EU being Turkey has caused way too many problems for many ethnic groups such as Greece, Cyprus, Kurds and Armenians. I am sick and tired of hearing people defend Turkey even though they have committed Genocides of different ethnic cultures and they have gotten away with it and ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!

Turkey must publically acknowledge the Genocide of the 353,000 Greek Pontions that were killed thanks to Kemal Ataturk, second they must publically apologized to the Greek Pontions, they must acknowledge the Genocide of the Armenians, The Genocide of the Kurds, open their ports to Cyprus, inform the Greek Cypriot Authorities where are all the lost Greek Cypriots from the invasion of Cyprus in 1974, remove all of their troops out of Cyprus once and for all! The USA must stop defending Turkey being has done nothing but cause problems and grief for everyone and no matter what Turkey does the USA does not believe that Turkey does anything wrong. In my eyes I believe the only country who has a financial advantage in the USA being they have easy access to the Middle East to gain access to the oil fields.

Turkey refuses to believe that they have done anything wrong nor that they have committed any crimes for which Genocide is a crime rather MASS CRIMES>

One particular gentleman wrote on this site that quote "I have great faith in Turkey, even if its EU membership drive is derailed, it not turn against the West." How could this man have faith in Turkey when he does not know what Turkey is capable of and what they have done in the past of the crimes that they have committed against Humans..Let this man sit down and speak some Greeks, Kurds and Armenians to get acquainted somewhat with the History....

This gentleman also said " It's Europe that concerns me." Let me inform this gentleman that he should be concerned about Europe but instead he should worry what Turkey would do. He forget at some and time when the US asked Turkey for permission to use their ports and army bases to gain access to IRAQ Turkey said no and was trying to bribe the USA....

Lets talk about what the Turks are doing to the Greek Churches in Turkey for which are being destroyed by vigilants and the Authorities are doing nothing about it and it is a sin to destroy a church and the icons...

Turkey has not been civil to the Greek Cypriots as one other gentleman stated in his remarks for as long as Turkey does not get what it wants they will not be civil to any ethnic country including Cyprus..

The history goes on and on and so do the horrible stories that people have to share with the rest of us. These are people who have in fact experienced some kind of torture or lost loved ones after being killed by the Turks including my own family who lost everything they have while living in the now Turkish occupation of Trapezus now called TREBZON by the Turkisg government...Turkey claims that all the land that they have is theirs even though that is an out right lie....

I could go on and on but will not do so. I also believe that the USA should not have any word as if Turkey joins the EU for the USA has no involvement with the EU and they should also mind their own business being this country has enough problems that need to be resolved.

All the countries that are part of the EU should put a plan into place and force Turkey to abide by it if they want to join EU. Turkey must comply with the rules and regulations set forth by EU and if they want to prove they are worthy of being a member of EU then they should comply with the conditions/rules set forth by the EU. All the countries that joined the EU complied with the conditions they were given so why is Turkey different than any other country and why should they do what they want? Is Turkey an acception to rule?

You would get more with Honey than vinegar so my message to the Turkish officials is sit down with the EU officials and comply with the conditions given and come to some kind of resolutuon in order to be allowed to join the EU. I am not against Turkey joining as long as they comply with the conditions issued by the EU..

I hope the Turkish officials will take the time and listen and understand that PEACE is the answer not WAR.....

Olive, J USA :

The feeling of identification with the EU and the West, rather than the Communist bloc, which looms over their border, is their newest alliance since the acceptance of Islam. However, the EU is going to bring the high prices of the European bloc. Turkey never was a "moneyless economy", they like to barter and trade in the open market. The fixed standard prices of the European Union, are going to be imposed on them, and only wealthy foreigners will be able to afford it.

Then there will be the sad situation of most of the jobs organized around the "tourist industry", catering to the foreigners, and that is often a waste of talent. In Greece, mothers of "children" who smoked a hubble-bubble at a restaurant at the Plaka caused a scene. Also, they might level parts of old towns to prepare the way for the wonderful tourists that are coming in.

The country developers have done this so many times, alleviating poverty that the "tourists might see" by forcible relocation of the traditional population for Olympic games that last a few weeks. The people who go to Turkey are seasoned travelers. If Turkey join the EU they are going to meet the wonderful child-babies that come to the Olympics who cant make it out on the street and have to be "pampered."

I don't think they should do it. They should keep prices low and develop the counrty gradually. The development grants could come from countries other than the EU.

chatty, USA :

About Turkey not being part of Europe: They were insulted by the new maps of Europe enclosed with the Natonal Geographic showing both the Ukraine and Russia as part of Europe but Turkey blotted out.

They thought it would be better to convert to Islam than to ally with barbaric, yet uncivilized nations that are communistic.

The ancient city of Constantinople was there in the Ice Age when Russia was covered by a glacier! The area used to be called the "Near East." There are traditional rivalries between Greeks and Turks. Bulgaria was part of the Ottoman Empire at one time but provinces now in Turkey like Cicilia, were not under the Ottomans. Therefore they did not have the "benefits" of the Ottomans, such as the public baths and showers. They bathed in the sea.

Turkey used to have "clothes laws" such as outlawing the wearing of the fez in 1932. The Greeks objected to any article of clothing being against the law, since people can change their clothes.

Turkey uses the Roman alphabet, more "European" than Bulgarian, which is written down in the Cyrillic alphabet. In fact the script used in Turkey is more "European" than the Greek alphabet used in Greece. Previously it had all records in the Arabic alphabet and converting all the written material was one of the jobs in the 1930s. A lot of material was lost during the conversion.

Bulgaria, Ukraine, and Russia, with the Cyrillic alphabet used throughout, are the ones that should not be in the EU. Soldiers in Yugoslavia also saw Cyrillic on street signs in Serbia during the war with the Yugos..

tcm amsterdam nl :

for hundreds of years, the only thing the enormous amount of political entities in Europe shared was their prospensity (e.g.: of their leaders) to fight each other, a process halted only 50 years ago when the 'German problem' was resolved by American aid, interest and blackmail, a new common (Soviet) threat and the courage of, as De Gaulle put it, 'two very old man'(him and Adenauer) to let the past behind and to do away with the structural geo-political mechanisms hitherto bringing the Old Contient to the brink of war. The project has gone forth ever since, at slow paces sometimes, but the last 16 years it has crossed some lines very significant to every citizen socialized in a nation-state. Over half of legislation originating in Brussels, a single currency and no monetary autonomy, no souvereignty in matters of intra-European trade and immigration and expanding from some 15 to 27 member-states (including a reinified Germany that out performes every other member at all levels of power, exept militairy capabilities able to be engaged outside Europe), it might be argued that Europe has achieved something, especially as war among its member states seems more remote than ever.
Nevertheless, a common European identity is growing but slowly (how could it be otherwise, historically, all but a few national identities are born out of state indoctrination required for mass-mobilising events as war). On the international level, the EU is as weak as this common identity, and as weak as the enthusiasm Europeans currently have for the project. This said, the EU still exists, as something far more than something many outsiders can imagine (a kind of free-trade NAFTA arrangement). How disperse it is, how weak it may seem, it is a polity. Due to it's structural weaknesses, it cannot but evolve by using soft power, a much more lengthy, invisible, and democratic process, and, as no elite is fully able to -from a top-down point of view- appropriatly direct this process, the outcome is far more unpredictable, both in nature as in time-table. All the social transformations imposed on the Europeans now starting to sink in, a lot of Europeans feel insecure about their identities, the social models governing their daily lives etc, economic neo-liberal globalization, ageing of populations, and furthering processes of individualisation only adding to these sentiments.
Hence the passionate debate about Turkish asseccion. At this point in time, it is not as much about Turkey as it about the current European citizens themselves. Before the members of the EU become more at ease in their new surroundings, before the turmoil of the last 15-20 years has sunken down, it will be very hard for European elites to convince their constituencies of any benifit of Turkish assencion to this strange and somewhat shizofrenic entity, and efforts of the US and Turkey to let the latter enter the Union will probably only backfire, making out of Turkey the 'negative other' a European identity will be constructed on. The European project is historically unique, and there are good reasons to -someday- ambrace the Turks into it. But as it is a project aiming to withdo to a certain extent the nation-state based international system by democratic ways, it will have to adapt its pace to the people. Currently, they are not ready. Going to fast will only cause damage up to the irreparable.

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