T Nation

RIP Europe


Could you imagine for example Israel joing the Arab League (with open boarders of course)? Turkey joining the EU makes about as much sense.


EU hails Turkey membership talks

Mr Gul (L) said Turkey had embarked on a new era
Both European and Turkish leaders have welcomed the official start of European Union membership talks with Turkey.
The opening ceremony came 40 years after Turkey took its first step towards requesting membership.

Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul said the deal - which followed more than 24 hours of fraught talks among EU nations - was a historic moment.

The move has not been universally welcomed in Europe, however, and even in Turkey popular support has fallen.

Agreement was reached on the framework for the membership talks only after last-minute wrangling by EU foreign ministers.

Full Turkey-EU framework agreement (500K)
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The turning point came when Austria withdrew its demand that Turkey be offered an option short of full membership - a possibility flatly rejected by Turkey.

Austria's Chancellor Wolfgang Schuessel has defended his country's position, saying he was "proud" of its tough stance.

Observers have suggested Austria's eventual concession on Turkey was linked to the EU's decision also to begin membership discussions with its neighbour, Croatia.

UK Foreign Secretary Jack Straw greeted Mr Gul warmly when he arrived in Luxembourg for the late-night opening ceremony.

Mr Straw called it a "truly historic day for Europe and the whole of the international community".

He warned it would be a "long road ahead", with negotiations expected to take a decade, but added, "I have no doubt that if bringing Turkey in is the prize, it is worth fighting".

'New era'

Mr Straw urged Turkey to press ahead with military and judicial reforms and improve the situation in Kurdish areas of the country.

Mr Gul told reporters on his departure from Ankara that an "historic point has been reached today", adding that Turkey "has embarked on a new era".

Why is letting a Muslim nation, such as Turkey, into the EU such a big deal?

Megan DePerro, USA

Send us your comments
In quotes: World response
Turkish press: Mixed response
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan had insisted Turkey would not compromise on the issue of full membership.

European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso hailed the deal as a "milestone" in Europe's relationship with Turkey, while German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer saw it as "a big chance for both sides".

Turkish newspapers were jubilant on Tuesday - but struck a note of warning about the long slog ahead to achieve reforms and overcome deep popular opposition in Austria and other European countries to Turkey's accession.

Sceptics cite Turkey's size, poverty, and main religion - Islam - as reasons to keep it at a distance.

Former French President Valery Giscard d'Estaing on Tuesday claimed Turkey's possible accession risked replacing the "grand French project of political union" with "a large free trade zone".

In Turkey, difficulties on the path so far have seen popular support for EU membership wane from a high of 70% of those polled, although it remains strong at over 60%.


It is a risky move that will lead to one of Two scenarios.

1.) Europe will influence Turkey and they will become more Liberal.

2.) Turkey will influence Europe, and they will become more Muslim.

I would wager that Since EU is not being urged to change, but Turkey is the chances of Turkey becoming more Liberal would be strong.

my .02


One small factor might be that Turkey has been in Europe since the 14th century.....


That's debateable. Anyway, its pretty clearly a discussion of EU membership. I personally would rather Turkey sorted out its human rights problems without the EU having to spend time and money forcing it to come into line. There is also the economic backwardness of the Asian section of the country. Membership of Istanbul alone? Yeah, that would probably work- its a rich, cosmapolitan city. Its the other 99% of the country that currently isn't compatible in my view.


The human rights problems are overblown. But the corruption stuff isn't.


In the given context, one must consider the events that lead to the above mentioned decision. Turkey has been an Associate Member of the European Union and its predecessors since 1963 and applied in 1987. Nevertheless, Turkey wasn't recognized as a candidate country until 1999. After a summit last year, the European Council announced that membership negotiations with Turkey should be opened on October 3rd, 2005. This has been an issue for many years and the course was set to a significant extent...


It seems to me one of the hugest issues will be immigration. To the extent Turkey doesn't enforce its borders, and to the extent the EU allows for free relocation and movement among the member states, any idea that the EU would be able to control or stem the tide of the influx of Muslim immigrants it has seen in recent years is severely weakened.

To the extent the EU wants to remain "liberal," this would be a concern -- you're importing a large number of voters who do not share that goal. I guess it all depends on how much power the voters actually have, though if they don't assimilate culturally they'll take the power as they build larger numbers.


Militarily, yes, Turkey has been 'in' Europe for hundreds of years. However, it is part of the Muslim, not the Western world.
Europe is defined by biology and culture, not by geography.


so are the united states, canada, new zealand, and australia part of europe?

is there only one culture in europe?


Is this an anti-muslim thing?

I mean, do we need to divide the world into countries based on religious boundaries now? Perhaps we can get into two or three camps and just fight wars endlessly?

While there may be some risks, does this not also represent an opportunity?


Well you can throw the Muslim thing in there and not be anti-muslim. You technically are melding cultures, EU which is open religion, and Turkey which is not. The believe system of a coutry always determines the political climate.

It is an opportunity for change, one of them will change. My bet is still on a downward religious spin in Turkey rather than an upward spin in the rest of Europe. I don't think it is anti anthing, I think this is just recognizing the facts that the root of all decisions are usually based on a world view, which is usually influenced by religion.


Muslims are already well represented in Europe, to some degree even in Finland. I dont believe that accomodating Turkey will change much. EU is already stalling and if nothing changes it will stall finally long before the negotiations are over.


Could you imagine Israel being part of Europe?!....lool


Israel, you mean America's unofficial 51 st state?


I would invite anybody who think along those lines to look at the physionomies of the peoples of the lower Balkans and Asia Minor and compare them with the Turkic peoles further east. It quickly becomes obvious that the inhabitants of modern Turkey are the decendants of the paoples that have lived there forever, with a minor mix of the Seljuks and Ottomans. Biology is really pointless. Culture, well Turkey suffered for a few hundred years from being the successor to the Byzantine empire, hence eunuchs and palace intrigues. But the Byzantine empire was very much a European culture...

What Turkey has to face up to is more mundane and much more serious. There were organised massacres of Armenians in 1915 and it is difficult to name it anything but genocide. Kurds are Turkish citizens, but that does not make them Turks and their social and cultural heritage must be acknowledged. Cyprus would benefit from both sides owning up their actions, Greek Cypriots to their policy of intimidation and frequent murder in the sixites and early seventies, The Turk Cypriots and Turks to the killing of a large number of Greek cypriots during the invasion that followed Sampson's coup. Yes, the Turks could do with a bit of "vergangenheitsbewaeltigung", but so indeed could Austria.

The present government has done a lot to modernise the country (although being a confessional party). Corruption has diminished and the economy is growing. This will take a lot of time, but I for one look forward to European Turks financing my pension:-)


That is Canada.


Can we trade Puerto Rico for Israel? maybe Texas then? damnit ...



Oh yeah that one too. But i would consider it more of our bitch then a state..J/K


Just finished living in Germany for two years due to my owrk. Had to go to Ankara a couple of times too. Turkey is okay Europe is mostly in a period of decline the exceptions being Ireland, UK, Finland, Iceland, Denmark, Sweden, Norway. Turkey won't hurt Europe but joining the EU may hurt Turkey. Why would an aspiring cuontry like Turkey actually fight to join a losing team? That is what I don't get.


What i don't get is how you see Europe as a loosing team. You also forgot a few other countires on the up and up but i digress.

Turkey is will be Europe's new asshole. The EU can look forward to their countries being flooded by isolationist immigrants that will work for their cash and promptly ship it back home for their families. They will bring more and more of their salad bowl communities every where they go.

onestly what's the point of accepting immigrants that will hate you, not intergrate, not intermarry and live as isolationists? Isn't Germany a shining example of this? Isn't their Social system in shambles due to people from Turkey exploiting the system?