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    • CommentAuthoradmin
    • CommentTimeOct 22nd 2008
     
    Dear all, I am a Masters student at St Antony's College Oxford, working with Timothy Garton Ash to moderate and oversee this discussion forum.
    We wanted to raise the question of Turkey's accession to the EU and the impact this might have on the 'story' Europe tells. The EU's recent decision to partially freeze talks on membership highlights some of the challenges Turkish accession might face. According to some, in part these challenges arise due to the realities of admitting a large country with a large Muslim population. Despite the lively discussion as to whether Europe shares common values, there is some sense of a (West) European identity, founded on shared historical experiences, Christianity and perhaps a commitment to certain political systems. Are the six strands of the proposed new story for Europe - freedom, peace, law, prosperity, diversity and solidarity - broad enough to include a country like Turkey and can they facilitate a smoother path to acceptance of Turkey as a European member?

    Leni Wild
    • CommentAuthoradmin
    • CommentTimeOct 22nd 2008
     
    Well...this is a difficult question you raise. In every forum I've talked about this in, huge debates arose, usually ending with bad arguments and no solution. But here goes my answer anyway.

    I think that the "six strands" are good for a compromise, but probably not enough for people to identify with Europe anywhere close to the way they identify with their country. Being in favour of the closest political links possible in Europe, I would like more identification since only that will allow people to accept political integration. Which is why I think we mustn't forget about the cultural links that exist between Europeans. These links were seen by intellectuals since the Middle Ages, and yet we fail to recognise them even now. Sadly I don't think Turkey would really fit in that "cultural" union that people could identify with so easily.

    Of course, intellectuals in Turkey, in Morrocco, asked the same questions as those in the Enlightenment movement in Europe. However they didn't have the same impact on society and political institutions, on the weight of religion, remaining in the Ottoman empire to make it a sort of "exotic" neighbour for Europeans that saw religion lose more and more importance in politics, to the point of institutionalised anti-clericalism (see France or Spain's republics of the early 20th century). Of course, Turkey was part of Alexander's empire, and it was included in the Eastern Roman Empire...but the idea of Europe was born from states arising from the ruins of the Western Roman Empire, with regional princes rejecting the authority of the Holy Roman Emperor and the Pope...no such thing happened in the East. Of course, Turkey has been secularized by Mustapha Kemal, it has been trying very hard to be identified as a "Western" country...but didn't Nasser do that same thing in Egypt, or Hussein in Irak?

    Finally, and perhaps most importantly, I really believe in the existence of a European people, united by a common history that goes as far back as the end of the Western Roman empire at least. It isn't that history is all that matters. It's just that it makes it easier for people to relate to their group and to their institutions. After all, what are the sons of immigrants asking for in France? To see their own history in the history books, because they can't identify with the "our ancestors, the Gauls" that has worked so well for previous generations. The problem with adding Turkey is that you can forget about teaching pupils that Europeans have shared cultural movements, institutional and social evolutions, at similar times, and that that's why it appeared to be logical to people like Spaak that Europe should be united. I fear that European people will never be able to identify with Turkey the way they can (or could) identify with other countries. And that this will mean they won't accept closer political integration. What can a Finn feel he has in common with a Kurd? Not much. Apart from these six ideas. I may be wrong, but that's my point of view.
    • CommentAuthoradmin
    • CommentTimeOct 22nd 2008
     
    The degree that Turkey has a common culture with the rest of the EU now will increase over the next few years as the Muslim community in the EU has a higher birth rate than the non-Muslim population. A Muslim Finn has probably got a lot in common with a Muslim Kurd.

    I am very keen on Turkish accession. I feel that Turkey would bring a great deal to the EU in terms of enabling a more comfortable multiculturism as there will cease to be any conflict between being Muslim and European. Moorish Spain would also be linked to its cultural ancestry.
    • CommentAuthoradmin
    • CommentTimeOct 22nd 2008
     
    Moorish Spain does not exist! It existed a long time ago, and then Spain and Spanish identity built themselves in a very Catholic, very European reaction to Moorish occupation. Of course you'll find all the castles, the pastries, the music and the words that come from Arabic. But Spaniards would hate you to say that they are still linked to the Moors that way. Apart from a minority that, in an effort to try to integrate the new immigrants from Maghreb, build a sort of "fiction" of a "paradise lost", multicultural, peaceful and incredibly prosperous Moorish Spain. Of course it was multicultural, but not conflict-less, and more importantly Spaniards have built themselves on the Reconquista. I don't know any Spaniards that want to be linked back to that...

    sorry about that, but being half-Spanish the current "politically-correct" is really starting to bug me. I don't have anything against Arabs, Muslims, or Moorish Spain of the Middle Ages. But it was the Middle Ages.

    Of course Turkey would bring more multiculturalism, but I'm not sure it would solve the problems. It would rather make it more difficult for people to identify with part of the EU, for the reasons and with the consequences I mentioned above. I think we should not forget that European countries, in integrating immigrants from very diverse origins, are still European countries integrating immigrants. I do not believe in the theories that believe cultures are going to mix inevitably, melting to a point where talking about regional cultures will sound old-fashioned. In France, the immigrants' children feel French. Of course they don't believe their ancestors were Gauls, but they identify with French culture, values, and way of life, to a sufficient extent for them to feel that they can take part in creating a new identity for France. It will still be France, if you see what I mean. And as for the groups that don't seem to integrate at all, like some of the British people of Indian origin, that feel "Indian" and not "British"...well these are never really going to be a part of British culture, are they? You can't define a larger group according to groups that reject it.
    • CommentAuthoradmin
    • CommentTimeOct 22nd 2008
     
    I'm sorry that "political correctness" bugs you but I think that it is a requirement of TGA's six goals. I'm not sure how a diverse society can give freedoms to it's minorities and show solidarity with them without a degree of "political correctness". I think that an increasing number of British people of Indian origin now consider themselves to be "British Indian", that is neither wholly/exclusively British nor wholly/exclusively Indian. An increasing number of British Indian role models in politics, business and sport is helping that process. I imagine that Britain is not still Britain i.e. it is a completely different place now (after significant West Indian, Asian and Eastern European immigration) than it was (say) pre-1914.
    • CommentAuthoradmin
    • CommentTimeOct 22nd 2008
     
    I absolutely hate politically correct. It is a negation of our intellectual capacities to discuss subjects openly. Instead of saying Black, say "African American", instead of talking about the alarming situation of American Indians, call them "Native" (to make them feel better?), instead of talking about disabled people... It's just ridiculous. Same thing applies in Spain: instead of talking about the racism that is still very strong in Spain towards Africans and how hard it is for them to integrate, you just make article after article about how Moorish Spain was such a great place. "Politically correct" has never solved any problem. It's just a way to avoid talking about them.

    I am aware that it is only part of the people of Indian origin that don't identify with Britain, I was referring to them. I am also aware that, of course, our countries have changed enormously over time, and that the changes in the 20th century are probably of a different nature from those that happened before. However I think the countries remain. Perhaps the way the British think about their society prevents them from seeing the continuity, but in France the continuity is very clear to a huge majority. The fact that our societies are now full of people of extra-European origin, as opposed to the beginning of C20th when it was mostly European immigration, doesn't mean they aren't the same countries. The people of, say, Algerian origin I know in France identify with France as a country and a group. Of course they probably don't identify with local traditional music, but these things are not what makes a nation.
    • CommentAuthoradmin
    • CommentTimeOct 22nd 2008
     
    For me "politically correct" is almost equivalent to "respectful". It appears to mean something else to you. It is also probably off topic. Would you agree that Europeans citizens need to be respectful to other European citizens?

    The British Indians you refer to are diminishing in number, that is the point. Clearly the countries do not remain. Where is Yugoslavia, East Germany, the Austro-Hungarian Empire etc. They have gone. Countries now are mostly man-made geographical divisions. Historical they may have marked tribal boundaries but that has not been the case for years and, more importantly, it will not be the case in the future.

    Maybe a focus on European future would be more useful than a focus on European history. The story Europe needs to tell is a future story. As the future is to some degree unknown it needs to be a flexible story. It needs to have a position on one day when North Korea could be a possible nuclear threat but needs that position to be flexible so that it can treat North Korea as a potential trading partner when it gives up its nuclear capabilities (with a hint of care of course).
    • CommentAuthoradmin
    • CommentTimeOct 22nd 2008
     
    I do agree with you about respect. To me "politically correct" is the reign of hypocrisy. Not respect. I can respect some one and call them deaf instead of "hard of hearing".

    "Where is Yugoslavia, East Germany, the Austro-Hungarian Empire etc. They have gone. Countries now are mostly man-made geographical divisions."

    erm...frontiers have always been artificial man-made divisions. Everywhere. Even when people pretended they weren't. And these "countries" you are talking about were particularly artificial, because they integrated groups that were already conscious of themselves, which made it impossible for them to join as a "nation" in a time when the nation-state was law, or in the case of East Germany, it was never really a country, since it split a group that was already aware of itself (ie Germans). With time, groups grow to identify as such, accordingly to the territory they were in. With more or less strong attachment to their institutions and consciousness of being a group: eg, in France Bretons and Basques have considered themselves "French" at 99% since the beginning of the 20th century, but in Spain Basques and Catalans have never really felt, as a majority, Spanish above their regional group.

    What I mean is: all frontiers are artificial, but they often have some kind of ethnic/cultural basis, and with time people often grew to identify as such, using frontiers, so they aren't that artificial anymore. You can hardly say that the separation between England and France is artificial, because people have grown to identify as separate groups, partly depending on that separation. So you can't just decide it doesn't work anymore and act as if it didn't exist. Many people do feel that Turkey is different from Europe, and however that idea may have been inspired by this or that artificial separation some time in Ancient history, it exists now and we can't pretend it doesn't...

    As much as I would like to focus only on the "six goals" and common future, I'm afraid people have been so used to the concept of nation-state, for so long, that you can't expect them to agree with a political Europe if they don't feel there is some kind of "nation" in Europe. That can be given now, with all the cultural and historical links between European countries. Bring on Turkey, and you lose that. You then need to convince people to believe in something based on values that are universal, and often not respected by countries that only use them as their principles...
    • CommentAuthoradmin
    • CommentTimeOct 22nd 2008
     
    So if I call my French colleagues "Frogs" that's OK is it, because I think its OK, regardless of what they think about it? Racist/sexist terms are "politically incorrect". I agree that it can go too far (for me), for example I think some people are "short" but no-one is "vertically challenged" (I am 175cm tall). But if I was 120cm tall my opinion might be different. I would show respect if I allowed the 120cm tall person to decide what term I use.

    My (pretty irrelevant) point was that some frontiers are man-made and some are more natural. Iceland has pretty natural boundaries (the sea), as does Peru (the sea and the Andes) etc.

    History is not really my subject (as you have already guessed) but I was wondering about your premise (as it seems to me) that the ethnic/cultural identity of a "nation" are geographical and temporally fixed. Does that mean that as France can only ever be France? Presumably if the answer to that is yes then no where else can be French, maybe Quebec is? It would also mean that only England could be culturally/ethnically English but I think that the US, Canada (except Quebec), Australia and New Zealand are basically culturally and ethnically English (or British). That well have been because we (the British) slaughtered the native populations but it does show that culture and ethnicity of a geographical region can change dramatically. The US's ethnicity is undergoing change right now as the black and hispanic populations grow at a faster rate than the white population (through higher birth rate and immigration).

    It is only 60 or so years ago that most of western Europe was under the control of totalitarian fascists and most of eastern Europe under the control of totalitarian communists. We agreed that democracy is a European value, it might not have looked like that 60 years ago. So values are not fixed in a geographic region either.

    I'm not sure that a nation-state needs to be culturally or ethnically homogeneous. TGA's goal of diversity suggests the opposite would be a good thing for Europe. Including Turkey would increase ethnic and cultural diversity.

    I would be in favour of a "United States of Europe" but that prospect seems to be getting more remote at present.
    • CommentAuthoradmin
    • CommentTimeOct 22nd 2008
     
    "Does that mean that as France can only ever be France? Presumably if the answer to that is yes then no where else can be French, maybe Quebec is? "

    I think it would be pretty arrogant and ignorant to consider Quebec, or indeed the US as "culturally" French or English. No Québécois considers himself French, not anymore. They are from Quebec, they built their group identity in a new environment, with other influences than the French had and a different history. The same thing goes on for the US. One thing is Quebec being closer to France than to, say, South Africa, because it shares language and that its first colonizers were French, bringing with them certain ideas and traditions, and also because of privileged relations nowadays. But that's about it.

    I said that groups created cultures according to their geographic region. That may also be said about institutions: after all, why did the Middle East and then the Mediterranean create our civilization? I quite agree with the writers who say it's because of the favourable climate conditions that allowed urban concentrations to appear, leading to certain ideas about how to organize such groups. In China, you might argue that confucianism etc are due to the very large numbers of people, themselves caused by the large numbers needed for rice culture... Anyway my point is that geography is inherently linked to culture, and vice-versa. That does not mean that ideas can't travel, or can't become universal, or change.

    By the way, we agree that democracy is a European value, but not because it became generalized in Europe (Western that is) 60 years ago, but because the first ones to think it up were European (Athens, the Northern Italian independent cities, Geneva in a less aristocratic way, the revolutionaries in France under the influence of Enlightenment -I don't count the US considering the US constitution was essentially designed to prevent the masses from reaching real political power-). Therefore the idea was born in Europe, probably for quite practical reasons, perhaps coincidentally. That doesn't mean it couldn't expand to other parts of the world. And the existence of an idea is very different from its actual practical success.

    A nation-state needs cultural homogeneity. The concept of "nation" was used for the first time in the French Revolution, giving people something to identify with now that they had lost the king. Instead of worshipping the king and God, people should worship their nation. It is, indeed, the best way to make people accept institutions that to make them identify with them and believe that they are meant to be, first, a group, and second, living under this or that regime. A state never has cultural homogeneity at first, it builds it for itself: whether in a violent way (Milosevic, Hitler, whoever else), whether by education (the French 3d Republic education is a very good example). You convince people that they are meant to be together, which led to some people forgetting that all peoples in Europe had been mixed forever. However artificial that might be, people grew to believe it and now, for isntance in France, there is a strong feeling of "being French".

    I don't like the nation-state, I would be quite happy with Europe being a state, without a real "European nationalism". But I don't think that's possible at all in the medium-range, because people think through the "nation-state" angle, therefore they won't accept institutions if they get no justification for them, if they can't feel that everyone sharing these institutions is entitled to be a part of the Union.
    • CommentAuthoradmin
    • CommentTimeOct 22nd 2008
     
    " A state never has cultural homogeneity at first, it builds it for itself: whether in a violent way (Milosevic, Hitler, whoever else), whether by education (the French 3d Republic education is a very good example)."

    So that means that we can include Turkey in the EU and then force or educate homogeneity. Excellent.
    • CommentAuthoradmin
    • CommentTimeOct 22nd 2008
     
    Of course that's possible. But forcing or educating homogeneity of people that share language (or at least its origin), religion, uses and have been under the same (or similar) institutions for a long time is a lot easier. The larger the scale, the harder it becomes. And adding Turkey at a time when people already mistrust the EU, and still don't feel a "European identity" that would allow them to accept closer political union, is very risky. It can work in an economical union where you don't expect people to identify with each other. But if you want anything more, it's difficult now, and would become a lot more difficult for a long time. Probably it would take as long as getting people out of the "nation-state" scheme. I can't imagine how long that will take.

    Moreover, your views about European muslims identifying with Turks, or vice-versa, is very limited. There might be a feeling of Islam uniting these people among them. But I should remind you that Turks are not Arabs (apart from some minorities that are still treated as such in Turkey), and traditionally Arabs tend to be despised by other peoples of that area: that excludes any identification with Arab North-Africans for instance. And I'm not sure how Turks, who don't want to be perceived as Middle-Eastern, would like being linked to Pakistanis or Iraqis in Europe.
    • CommentAuthoradmin
    • CommentTimeOct 22nd 2008
     
    "Moreover, your views about European muslims identifying with Turks, or vice-versa, is very limited."

    You are very correct. My knowledge of history and cultural origins is extremely limited and I have been grasping at straws to even keep up with you so far (and even then you have exposed my ignorance on a number of occasions). I have been hoping that we would eventually get away from history and cultural identity and get onto other things such as economics, security, etc i.e. future mutual benefit. How do you feel about ending the cultural identity debate and getting onto economic or security benefits? How would you feel about some form of associate membership of the EU which would be an economic alliance and not a political one for Turkey like EFTA?
    • CommentAuthoradmin
    • CommentTimeOct 22nd 2008
     
    Hello everyone, I'm a portuguese student, and if you don't mind I will transcript an article that I wrote in December 2004, in a local newspaper, about Turkey integration in UE. The text is in portuguese, and the title is "Our Limits (or of everything else...)". I try to explain the reasons why I'm for the enlargement of UE:

    «Os Nossos Limites (ou de tudo o resto...)

    Infelizmente, em Portugal, muito pouco se fala dos assuntos europeus. (...)
    Ao pensar na ideia de a Turquia aderir à UE, rapidamente tendo a tomar uma posição: ser contra essa integração.
    Como europeu não me sinto minimamente identificado com a realidade turca, e muito provavelmente nem eles com a minha. Tenho sérias dúvidas quanto ao facto de se poder considerar a Turquia um país europeu, já que 97% do seu território encontra-se no continente asiático, e também devido à sua cultura islâmica (99% dos turcos são muçulmanos). Sendo um país subdesenvolvido e com 65 milhões de habitantes (30% tem menos de 15 anos e 40% vive no campo), os restantes países da UE seriam completamente “invadidos” por cidadãos turcos em busca de melhores condições de vida, com todas as consequências sociais que tal fluxo migratório traria aos países que os acolhessem.
    Economicamente, a adesão da Turquia iria provocar problemas aos países mais pequenos como Portugal. Os principais sectores de produção na Turquia são os texteis, a electrónica, a indústria automóvel (além da agricultura e do sector extractivo). Tendo em conta os baixos salários e as políticas fiscais atractivas, certamente muitas empresas iriam deslocalizar a sua produção para aquele país. Noutro plano, os direitos humanos continuam a ser gravemente violados (apesar de algumas das novas reformas impostas pela UE), e é algo que tem de ser amplamente contrariado, independentemente da adesão ou não. Com a Turquia as fronteiras da UE estenderiam-se ao Médio Oriente com todos os perigos que tal opção figuraria, num mundo dominado pelo medo do terrorismo, medo esse que influencia os resultados eleitorais nos países ocidentais.
    Ora, é algo inato ter esta tendência para rejeitar a adesão da Turquia à UE. Aliás, muitos dos habituais comentadores europeus (e portugueses) são contra a entrada desse País. A posição dominante da extinta Convenção Europeia, presidida por Giscard d'Estaing, foi toda anti-Turquia, e a maioria dos governantes europeus têm medo da entrada da Turquia. Particularmente a França, sendo o país europeu que mais entraves está a colocar às negociações.

    No entanto, nem tudo o que é inato significa ser o mais correcto e justo.
    E por isso mesmo, não posso estar contra a adesão da Turquia. Nem contra a adesão de outros quaisquer países, que tenham uma ligação europeia.

    Quais seriam os valores e princípios que sustentariam uma União Europeia segregadora e com traços xenófobos? O que seria uma União Europeia com medo do futuro, conservadora, sem uma energia moblizadora que a levasse aceitar sem preconceitos diferentes raças e credos, diferentes culturas e religiões. Que União seria essa que não aceitava contribuir para o desenvolvimento de outros países, necessitadas de um dínamo encorajador, democrático, reformista e pró-desenvolvimento sustentável?
    Li, no último fim de semana de Novembro, um artigo noticioso no Caderno de Economia do Expresso: Turquia “Economia rumo ao futuro”.
    A Turquia teve uma das melhores performances económicas do ano. Irá crescer 10% este ano, conseguiu controlar a inflação, a sua moeda tem-se mantido estável, a sua Dívida Pública está a diminuir. Respira-se confiança. Tudo resultado das reformas postas em prática pelo novo Governo pró-EU, liderado por Recep Erdogan, do partido AKP (Partido da Justiça e Desenvolvimento). Graças ao objectivo de convergir com os critérios de adesão à União Europeia, a Turquia orgulha-se de iniciar uma nova etapa da sua História, e poder alcançar a adesão à União Europeia.
    Na minha opinião, o único motivo que levam a maioria dos políticos e agentes políticos a colocar entraves à adesão da Turquia é a religião. Eles são muçulmanos portanto não têm nada a ver connosco, é mais ou menos este o diapasão. E se prevalecer, será um erro histórico.
    A Turquia necessita do “soft power” da UE e não do “hard power” dos EUA, utilizando uma expressão de Nuno Severiano Teixeiro, docente universitário e antigo Ministro da Administração Interna do PS. Precisa que lhe digam: “estaremos cá para vos receber, continuem as reformas para o desenvolvimento económico, social, e para a democracia”.
    Basicamente a Turquia necessita que a EU aja como um verdadeiro exemplo para o Mundo. Não os podemos desiludir.»
    • CommentAuthoradmin
    • CommentTimeOct 22nd 2008
     
    Sadly I don't understand Portuguese very well. But what I was able to understand from your article was interesting ;-)

    Gary,
    I do very much agree with an economical union, even political, with Turkey, as long as it is not expected to enter the closer political union that I wish to see in Europe. Because I see that as very difficult. Seeing the difficulties we encounter even now, with subjects like a common currency or a common army, that have been discussed since the 1940s, I am becoming increasingly favourable to Guy Verhofstadt's proposal of a "United States of Europe", and, around it, a larger union (that could obviously include Turkey), with less political links, and which would be mostly an area of free-trade.
    • CommentAuthoradmin
    • CommentTimeOct 22nd 2008
     
    jm.iglesias,

    The AltaVista translation of the Portuguese suggests that you think that Islamophobia is the main reason why Western Europeans are against Turkish accession. Although I'm sure that may be true to some degree I don't think that it is the main objection. Certainly araceli's objections are mostly about cultural history rather than present day religious concerns. I think that the diversity that Turkey can bring is a good thing.

    Araceli.

    OK I understand your position better now. I do think that even those countries which are initially given associate membership will want the option to have full membership. So what do we do if after a few years of associate membership Turkey then wants to be a full member of the "United States of Europe (USoE)"? Do we say that it can't join because its cultural history is "wrong"?

    In my most fanciful moments I imagine that associate membership would be offered to North African countries and even to other Med countries such as the Lebanon and Isreal. So for me the end state of the European project would mean that Europe (including Russia), the Middle East (to the Caspian Sea, Arabian Gulf, i.e. including Iraq but not Iran) and North Africa (those countries with Med coastlines). How would you feel about these areas being economically linked the USoE? Could the "Greater USoE" be a force for peace in the Middle East as it has been in Western Europe?
    • CommentAuthoradmin
    • CommentTimeOct 22nd 2008
     
    Sorry for not putting the text in english, but the Altavista translator does the work, just to get the main idea (in the main page, mr Garton Ash invites us to give our opinion in the native language...).

    Dear mr London, I tried to give an intro of the position of anti-turkish integration. Although the economic facts/human rights facts are very important while evaluating the situation, I have no doubt why european governments are always postponing the situation. Let me explain this.

    For example, Mr Araceli arguments are based in a historic perspective of what are the boundaries of europe, what countries are englobed in the "european civilization" (during the discussion of the European Constituion Treaty, chaired by President Giscard D'Estaign, everyone had the same arguments on the table...). I don't agree with this position.
    Portugal was also occupied by muslims for several centuries, like Spain. The names of Algarve and Alentejo regions, south Portugal, have origin in arabic language. And if you ask a portuguese from those regions if they have a sense of the legacy of the moors, I would not be surprised if the answer was afirmative. The same thing I would guess to spanish people in the south, who have, like us, a strong legacy in terms of historic patrimony, gastronomy, language and life style.
    And we should say, for the sake of historic accuracy, that the moor civilization in Iberian Peninsula, ruled by the Granada Califade, in those days was far more advanced that our northern ancestors...

    Now, something that is also undeniable is that Spain has current problems with muslim immigrant communities, and has political issues with Marocco. The same thing with France (the urban guetos are becoming a uge problem) and Algeria or even Egypt. Should I also mention Germany and their million people Turkish immigrant community...?

    In terms of economic perspective, the problems of Turkey integration would be the same that eastern european countries bring us at the moment. I shall say we are not having any major concerns... In terms of a geopolitical strategy, integrating Turkey would be a excelent opportunity for EU to stop muslim fundamentalism and for sure would help a better political balance in mid-east region. EU common army? Turkey is a good asset towards that.

    Now: Cultural identification? What identification? The one between the immigration communities inside EU countries...? This is the point. The reason for european disgruntle. Because the immigration communities are not well integrated, the guettos, criminality, etc. In Portugal we have the same problems with african immigration, from the old colonies (it's our historic burden...). And people in general associate everything. Because politically (in global terms) the integration makes all the sense.

    The european governments are strongly conditioned by public opinion. And the public opinion I might say, is islamophobic. Specially after 9/11. This is a fact.

    PS - I'm not a federalist, I don't agree with the concept of United States of Europe.
    PS2 - football is never a good example, but is ironic to see whose countries participate in UEFA tournments...
    • CommentAuthoradmin
    • CommentTimeOct 22nd 2008
     
    I forgot to ad:

    PS3 - what "identification" as a portuguese with an english, german, lithuanian, eslovenian, hungarian, etc (and vice versa!...)? That certainly cannot be a criteria...
    • CommentAuthoradmin
    • CommentTimeOct 22nd 2008
     
    jm,

    If you are more confortable using Portuguese please do so, I'm very happy using AltaVista (I use it a lot as I have work colleagues in France, Germany, Italy, Denmark, Switzerland, the Netherlands and Sweden who often provide information in their native languages and I'm definitely too lazy to learn all those languages).

    Thank you for the background Portuguese history (my ignorance of Portguese language is only surpassed by my ignorance of your history).

    I agree that Turkey would be an excellent addition to the EU from an economic and strategic point of view and I see less downsides with Turkish accession than with Bulgarian or Romanian accession for example. I also agree with you about Muslim fundamentalism. I think that Muslim populations would take the EU more seriously if they didn't view it as a Christian club.

    I don't think that you can say that all European public opinion is Islamophobic though. The racists in our communities certainly are Islamophobic and there are some concerns in the general populations but I think that tolerance of "others" is a (modern) European characteristic.
    • CommentAuthoradmin
    • CommentTimeOct 22nd 2008
     
    That's different. Turkey is a country geographically and culturally different from Europe. I think it's not realistic to enlarge union to turkey.
    • CommentAuthoradmin
    • CommentTimeOct 22nd 2008
     
    Hi!
    The enlargement, as someone as already said, is strategically and economically important. Anyway, if you're searching for historical views on which being for or against the new entrance, then i would like to suggest a good history book. Anyway, Turkey has never considered herself as a possible member of Arabic Union. That's because they're not arabs. Starting from Ataturk, Turkey has gradually tried to embrace European values and now we've got the possibility of exporting rights and solidarity. If they want to enter, they also have to give evidences of they're possesion of democratic values. This is the central point. Throughout this example, we can also see the difference from our policy and the American view on exporting rights and democracy. I'm not against America, but we have to criticise ourselves and also other nation's policy to reach a common and useful agreement.
    Turkey is not only important strategically and economically. It's also the best example on how Europe can alternate his policy of peace and valuable "export", from the far more agressive America's policy(see Iraq, but also Somalia).
    • CommentAuthoradmin
    • CommentTimeOct 22nd 2008
     
    I couldn't write any better than mr Gion just did. Thanks for your remarks mr London.
    • CommentAuthoradmin
    • CommentTimeOct 22nd 2008
     
    The fact that 'The enlargement is strategically and economically important' is relative, cause Europe is something else than an economic pact, on my point of view. I don't think to Europe as the result of globalization's pressure, of exhanges internationalization - I think Europe as it's storically. Also I know Turkey is not Arabic Union's member, I know it's lay state, but that's no the matter. If we enlarge Europe to a country that doesn't share european history, european spirit, european values of francais revolution, we have to enlarge it also to the Russia and Israel and Egypt - that are not linked to Europe. So I think.
    • CommentAuthoradmin
    • CommentTimeOct 22nd 2008
     
    Visit a european research institute or university and you will notice that it is not uncommon for even their staff to consist of people from different countries. So many children have parents with different nationalities these days; we already are a melting pot. Integration of people within Europe is a fact, but our attitude to countries outside of Europe is a very different one, which is also reflected in the statements made in the discussion.
    I am also very proud of the 50-100 years during which all men of Athens who were not slaves were forced to sit together to discuss political issues back in ancient Greece, and if it wasn't for the Arabs who wrote it all down, and for Alexander the Great who spread the word, we would probably be unaware of these important roots of our history.
    We had people such as Locke, Voltaire, Rousseau and smaller countries had their own heroes saying similar things. Some european very likely said similar things much earlier on, but the Arabs weren't there to write it down and the catholic sharia silenced the man forever. It wasn't our superior european DNA that enabled us to overthrow the church to embrace the values of the French revolution, but capatalism. Many individual europeans had become very rich thanks to colonies and trade. The church couldn't do much that would go against such rich men, but would rather strike a deal with them. This development, allowed the Enlightenment to kick in. Outside of Europe, only kings stayed rich, but random individual citizens could never rise, no matter how intellectual their philosophers were.
    All this has little to do with the accession of Turkey, but I just want to discuss the european attitude towards the outside world. Capitalism has brought europeans a lot of freedom, but has recently resulted in the rise of new super powers. These super powers aren't countries, but large firms. Interbrew decided that all beer europeans drink should taste like Heineken and destroyed entire beer cultures such as in Britain. Captain Iglo (the frozen fish guy) has the strongest vote in the EU when decisions on fish quotas are taken, so our fleet can even drag the ocean floor off the African coast, no matter how many reports sit on politicians' desks urging for just the opposite measures. When Gerhard Schröder left office, he captured this development nicely by commenting: "do you think I really had power compared to the director of Mercedes?" This is our european problem now: we can vote as much and as freely as we like, but our representatives are powerless. In writing this, I want to point out our luck in acquiring freedom in the past and our limitations at the moment. In dealing with countries outside of Europe, we should really keep in mind that people in Iran or China, for example, also had a great history and would, just like us, also want to speak or write whatever they think. The same might be true in countries having a less interesting history, such as Finland. People may cut away from their cultural past as well: the Berlin of today would have been Hitler's worst nightmare.
    Europe is nothing special culturally to prevent outside nations from joining. We don't speak half as many languages as the peoples who make up Indonesia. We even allow ethnic cleansing on our territory and fail to punish those responsible. We are best friends with nations who violate human rights on a large scale such as the US and Russia and we dump our (radioactive) garbidge at the neighbours', be this some African nation. These actions, our governments can't even prevent. What kind of inferior past or cultural difference must another country have to be refused to join the EU? Instead of dwelling on a handful of ancient Greek men, we should try to turn the EU into a place that really is special.
    • CommentAuthoradmin
    • CommentTimeOct 22nd 2008
     
    arjan,

    "our representatives are powerless", did you see the recent EU judgement about 4 lift (elevator) manufacturers, they are being fined 992m Euro for price fixing (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/6383913.stm). So our representatives are not completely powerless

    " I just want to discuss the european attitude towards the outside world", so how about adding "respect" to the list of 6 goals? If Europe was respectful to its own citizens, to citizens and cultures of other countries and to the planet as an entity then I think the negatives in your final paragraph above would go away.
    • CommentAuthoradmin
    • CommentTimeOct 22nd 2008
     
    I was reading TGA proposal in Prospect magazine, and I realized there has been short debate, in this forum, about the enlargement and integration of eastern european countries, excluding Turkey.

    Does it not seem likely that one of the reasons for european misidentification is the communist regime past of these countries...?
    • CommentAuthoradmin
    • CommentTimeOct 22nd 2008
     
    jm,

    I have said above that I would like the EU to extend eastward to include Russia. That's not going to happen soon I realise. But I think that Russia and Russian influence over its near neighbours, as well as the very poorly performing economies of those countries, are more of an obstacle than their Communist pasts. The EU now contains a number of countries that have had Communist pasts and a number that have had fascist pasts. Hopefully the EU will help to prevent any member state having a Communist or fascist future.
    • CommentAuthoradmin
    • CommentTimeOct 22nd 2008
     
    I agree 100% with you. But when I read this I start to have a few questions about future enlargements to east:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/02/23/AR2007022301702.html
    • CommentAuthoradmin
    • CommentTimeOct 22nd 2008
     
    jm,

    Russia already has borders with the EU because of Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Finland being members.

    That leaves only Belarus (already described by TGA as Europe's only authoritarian regime) and the Ukraine with Russian borders that can sensibly join the EU if Turkey doesn't join.

    If Turkey did join then maybe Georgia and Azerbaijan with Russian borders could follow.

    Moldova and Armenia don't have Russian borders but are also potential members.

    I don't see any of those nations becoming EU members soon so I'm not sure what difference it makes whatever Foreign Minister Lavrov says. Of course Putin, and probably Lavrov, will be looking for new jobs next year. I'm not sure that I can imagine any other those countries being in a position to join the EU during Putin's successor's reign either.

    None of this should stop the EU from building good economic and political relationships with all of the above countries and Russia though. The future is a long time :-)
    • CommentAuthoradmin
    • CommentTimeOct 22nd 2008
     
    Leni, to get back on track of the original discussion, would it not be an interesting exercise to create a matrix of all EU and EU-candidate countries, and the six strands, and see how they fare? In other words can we describe or perhaps quantify the "Europeanness" of countries using TGA's model?
    • CommentAuthoradmin
    • CommentTimeOct 22nd 2008
     
    In another thread in this forum (Benefits without the EU) I have argued that the main reason for the establishment of the EU is creation of peace in Europe.I think this argument could also be applied to the accession of Turkey. Tying Turkey to the European project and its values about democracy, liberty, emancipation and so on, would lead to a development of the Turkish society which would be an advantage to the Turks themselves (I think, but that is of course for themselves to decide) but also for Europe. (And a side remark: for many years Turkey has been OK te defend Western Europe against the Soviet Union. So Turkish lives were OK to defend our democracy. Shouldn't we now help them to taste it themselves?)

    The benefits for Europe are many: bringing a moslim country into the EU will ease the tensions between the moslim world and the Western world. It will also be an economic advantage as a prosperous Turkey will be a new market for European companies.

    Of course Turkey is not ready for accession at this moment. It may take 15 years, it may take 20 years - nobody knows. It is, however, important that the door is kept open. Otherwise there is less incentive for Turkey to proceed on the reform road.
    • CommentAuthoradmin
    • CommentTimeOct 22nd 2008
     
    Dear all, I am Turkish and I thought it may be beneficial to bring a Turkish point of view to this discussion.
    Most Turks are not as keen on EU membership as before, as they feel that the EU has been hypocritical and plain unfair in its relations with Turkey recently. The overwhelming majority of Turks feel that the unequal treatment of Turkey by the EU borders on the scandalous. For those of you who have the time, I recommend the following article (in English) as an excellent summary of why Turks feel this way, with examples of how the EU has applied double-standards in dealing with Turkey: http://www.tesev.org.tr/etkinlik/seeking_kant_TR_EU_Relations.pdf
    I am also very interested in the geographical, historical, cultural and economical reasons brought up against Turkish membership. I am pro Turkish membership in the EU and I personally believe that all of these arguments can be defeated based on facts. I see that most Europeans who are against seeing Turkey in the EU for this or that reason do not actually know much about Turkey or Turks. Turkey has had the worst PR and image in Europe for a long time now and Turks themselves are also guilty for having failed to correct the situation. It is my opinion that the majority of the several millions Turkish emigrants in Western European countries also help project an image of Turks which is very much slanted and not at all sympathetic. On the other hand, I don't believe that Turkey should try to become an EU member at all costs and putting up with constant humiliation. Turkey will survive outside of the EU as it has done until now. If most EU citizens would like to keep old prejudices and the image of a Turkish "Other", let them be. History moves on.
    • CommentAuthoradmin
    • CommentTimeOct 22nd 2008
     
    The issue with Turkey is complicated because as yucina correctly says that "the EU" has applied double standards, however, the EU itself has that problem: The EU has several faces,
    - The bureaucrats and politicos in Brussels and Strasbourg: They want more more more EU: it enhances their status and their power.
    - The governments of the countries that the EU is made of: They are the living double standard, on the one side they like the EU because quite often they can use it to fast-track legislation (often unnoticed) that would upset the local populace or parliament, and on the other hand they do not want to give away too much power to make themselves superfluous
    - The people living in the countries, that most often not even know what the EU does for them, but "realise" with every new country entering the EU, that the EU becomes "less like themselves" ie their "identity" gets watered down more and more.

    The last ones are the ones that via the feedback mechanisms of public opinion and a little shift at the polls, give off the signal, that the acceptance of Turkey would be too much. And (unfortunately?) the people in the governments have to at least pretend to listen. The people in Brussels don't care they are still on the track for entrance of Turkey and acceptance of the/a "constitution".

    Is this fair to Turkey? Probably not, but it is at least as unfair to the people currently in the EU who have only very little influence on what is really going to happen. And furthermore: politics is not always fair...
    • CommentAuthoradmin
    • CommentTimeOct 22nd 2008
     
    The problem we face with Turkey is that the EU does much more than the EU needs to do. The EU meddles with things and provides things that it doesn't absolutely need to in order to meet the six goals, or any other goals for that matter. That's what makes Turkey so incompatible. The six goals, alone, are fine when it comes to Turkey.

    With reference to the earlier points about political correctness: I can't stand political correctness. There's nothing correct about it. And I particularly can't stand people who say that I have to accept things I believe to be sinful, like sodomy, adultery, poverty, ignorance, prostitution and homosexuality.

    <aside>I've no real problem with Turkey, apart from the fact that it can easily become dry if you don't baste it enough.</aside>
    • CommentAuthoradmin
    • CommentTimeOct 22nd 2008
     
    vince,

    "And I particularly can't stand people who say that I have to accept things I believe to be sinful, like sodomy, adultery, poverty, ignorance, prostitution and homosexuality."

    Political correctness also allows you to believe in your god and express the views above.
    • CommentAuthoradmin
    • CommentTimeOct 22nd 2008
     
    GaryLondon, no, it doesn't. It is politically incorrect to object to homosexuality, for example. In addition, this has recently moved closer to being the legal position in the United Kingdom, as I'm sure you are aware.
    • CommentAuthoradmin
    • CommentTimeOct 22nd 2008
     
    vince,

    It is not politically incorrect to object to homosexuality. It is illegal to discriminate against homosexuals in some areas. It is politically incorrect to use disrespectful terms to describe homosexuals. Homosexuality is a biological state, like being black, or blond, or tall, or short, or heterosexual. Again we can tie this back to the values strand. Respect is a christian and univeral value.
    • CommentAuthoradmin
    • CommentTimeOct 22nd 2008
     
    GaryLondon - this isn't the place to discuss homosexuality and I have deliberately not done so. Whether you believe it is a fact or life, a matter of sinful choice or a psychological disorder is another issue than that of the EU altogether. It's also an issue that Christianity and Islam agree on entirely. With reference to your point about political correctness, a good example is the term sodomy with the absolutely correct legal and medical term, and yet features on lists of politically incorrect terms.

    It is interesting to note that during recent history Turkey has had some questionable restrictions upon freedom of religion, in particular freedom of the Muslim religion. If they aren't going to let even Muslims follow their religion in the way they choose, I don't hold much hope for their proper integration into Europe.
    • CommentAuthoradmin
    • CommentTimeOct 22nd 2008
     
    vince,

    On homosexuality, agreed lets leave that for another day. Not sure what politically incorrect list "sodomy" is on though, sounds like a perfectly acceptible term to me.

    Most states place some impositions on citizens and some of those are on religious practice. India decided that the burning of Hindu wives on their husbands funeral pyre was unacceptible, even though some religious people wanted to keep it. The French keep church and state very separate which imposes some restrictions on religion (headscarves great example), recent UK law changes regarding Catholic adoption agencies and gay adoptees. I would be more concerned about Turkey if it had a Taleban approach to Islam.
    • CommentAuthoradmin
    • CommentTimeOct 22nd 2008
     
    GaryLondon - I agree with your points entirely. What I meant regarding Turkey was that if they are unable to accommodate their large Muslim population, I worry about how well they will be able to accommodate an influx of Christians and those of other religions from the EU following further integration and freedom to work and travel.
    • CommentAuthoradmin
    • CommentTimeOct 22nd 2008
     
    vince,

    I think that Catholicism was illegal in England at one time. Things change and change more quickly now than ever before.
    • CommentAuthoradmin
    • CommentTimeOct 22nd 2008
     
    I think that we are avoiding the issue perhaps. If Europe's story is about reinventing Europe as a new political and cultural entity, then old enmities between European Christians and their Muslim enemies should not necessarily play a role. As some of the above comments point out, Western European societies are now infused with Muslim, African, and Asian cultures. Moreover, Bulgaria and Romania, who recently joined the EU, belong to the Eastern, Byzantine sphere of influence, with Bulgaria having spent 600 years under direct Ottoman administration, and thus they are culturally quite different from the rest of the 2004 entries, or the EU-15 (minus Greece, which, as an Orthodox former Ottoman territory, set up the precedent for BG and RO). I think this is irrelevant nowadays (but rising right-wing movements in West will continue to harp on these facts).

    Turkey's incompatibility with the EU stems much more from the non-Muslim, secular, Kemalist heritage than from what Europeans who have experienced Berlin-Kreuzberg think Turkey represents. More specifically, Turkey's attempts to deal with that specific Muslim and Ottoman inheritance have resulted in an almost dictatorial oppression of religious freedom, and, more importantly, a heavy reliance on the army. No less than 4 times during the 20th century was the Turkish army involved in coups d'etat, and the popular support for the army is much higher than that for the government. It is things like this which make Turkey difficult to match institutionally with the EU. Sure, there are lots of peasants from Eastern Anatolia that might immigrate to the West to join their families - but the 'damage' is already done - no country in the West is 'pure' Western any more, and fixing their unhappiness with the current situation is their problem.
    • CommentAuthoradmin
    • CommentTimeOct 22nd 2008
     
    A good point of view from ivigata.

    As I said before in this discussion, Iberian Peninsula was ruled by muslim califades for centuries, who have left a tremendous heritage, from science, culture, monuments, language, gastronomy, etc.

    The Balcan States also have a great muslim heritage. Like Bulgaria and Romania, as said above. It's not correct to say that the fundamental trace of identity in Europe is christianity.

    Turkey will be welcome to EU, as long as it's problems regarding human rights, military hierarchy influence, and of course, the socio-economic-environment problems are solved, like most eastern countries that joined EU have had.
    • CommentAuthoradmin
    • CommentTimeOct 22nd 2008
     
    Vince... keep your ideas about sinfulness out of my life, ok? I'm a gay, married man and a Quaker. We were married by my local Meeting in Massachusetts, and our family status is recognised as such here in Canada. I only wish all European nations, and those who want to join, would have the same. It is not about political correctness, it is about peoples' lives and families. Enough!
    • CommentAuthoradmin
    • CommentTimeOct 22nd 2008
     
    FinninCanada, I don't remember saying or writing anything addressed to you. It seems to me that you are just trying to provoke an argument. Just ask yourself why you couldn't get "married" back in Finland. And you are right. It is not about political correctness, it is about what is clearly right and what is clearly wrong. Just because things are possible it doesn't make them right. That kind of argument implies that we should allow serial rapists to continue their crimes just because they feel compelled to rape women.
    • CommentAuthoradmin
    • CommentTimeOct 22nd 2008
     
    vince - It's not about right and wrong, it is about tolerance and personal freedom and happiness. Political correctness is not always a bad thing - sometimes it makes it helps different people get along without insulting each other. You can't compare homosexuals to rapists because rapists are criminals who hurt their victims whereas homosexuality doesn't hurt anyone. My impression is that most European countries and people in Europe mostly (in contradiction with your views) accept homosexuality (which is not to say that things couldn't be better).
    • CommentAuthoradmin
    • CommentTimeOct 22nd 2008
     
    I would rather have Russia and Ukraine. They are European and no one disputes it. The fact that people are even discussing whether a nation is European or not gives the answer to the question whether Turkey is or isn't. People would never discuss whether Ukrainians and Russians are Europeans. I believe too many people put geostrategic advantages before moral judgement. I also believe Turks are too nationalist in order to feel European. Insulting "Turkishness" can get you arrested and I wont bother mentioning how many honour killings etc are happening in Anatolia. Canadians, Australians and Americans are more European than Turks, twist it as you want.
    • CommentAuthoradmin
    • CommentTimeOct 22nd 2008
     
    Gheryando,

    Maybe we can make "EU" stand for "Eurasian Union" then we can have Turkey (and the majority of Russia) without any contradiction.
    • CommentAuthoradmin
    • CommentTimeOct 22nd 2008
     
    Hi,
    I started writing this thing and it turned out to be much longer than I imagined. So be warned- it is long. This is part 1
    I think Europe as a Union is more of a prospect than an affirmation of the past. One should grow out of this 19th century romanticist view of defining one's-self within the framework of a larger community like a nation or a religious group. I do not see why we should prefer to have Euro-nationalism replacing our country-based nationalism. I think such impositions on personality are basically fictive and divisive more than anything. I think that, unlike what we have been used to up to now, the new sense of group identity should rest on ideals that basically people may attain, and are not necessarily cut off by previous engagements.
    If we are to construct a Europe out of its ashes, one could argue that Europe is based on ancient Greek culture, or on the Roman one which to an extent encompassed, envied but eventually destroyed it, prevented it from further advancing. Or on the Christian culture, which stemmed out of (and in opposition to) it, grasped it, manipulated it and did away with it. Or the schisms within that Catholic framework which further divided it. Or the reform, or the enlightenment, which are arguably quite diametrically opposed as well. Is it secularism one should be choosing whilst defining Europe? Oddly enough, nationalism is very European is it not, as are countless genocides, massacres, as are World-Wars and imperialism.
    We can take many things at face value, and find a cover for many else. Some, for example, may be considering Croaita as ' more European ' than Turkey, though in saying so they would refrain from mentioning the nationalist current in Croatia, which is stronger than in Turkey. Or on Russia and Ukraine, basically human rights violations beyond the grasp of ordinary Turks might escape people's judgment (well, you do not get arrested for opposition in those places, you get killed). Is it a part of this common European identity that we can see Cyprus penalising being gay until before 2002, Greece not allowing for a non-Christian and a Christian to marry even after membership (until mid-80's), Portugal still tough on abortion, Poland...(I'm sure people will come up with but... stories) I guess there would be those who would think that Nazi Germany was more European than Turkey, even in today's terms, again covering up with some contexts.
    Frankly I think this latter group would find quite common grounds with their counterparts in Turkey, who are as blind to manipulate history in whatever way they please, so that they and their manipulation that starts from childhood are justified.
    What I am trying to say is, Europe is anything but a coherently defined set of 'thing's that derive from history. Nor is it a set of things that are sharply defined on ID-cards, or birth certificates, baptism records. History has thought us what defining identities based on such have brought.
    • CommentAuthoradmin
    • CommentTimeOct 22nd 2008
     
    We could construct a Europe that seeks to create room for the peaceful coexistence of people and make sure there is enough room for individuals to express themselves. This includes creating a room for saving those subject to domestic violence, those who want to pray in whatever place they please or those who want to disdain from all hegemony of religion, those who want the right to share their lives with people of the same gender, those who cannot accept differences. We can find ways of making these things fitting well-in our societies and people may just as well learn that they need not fear or try to ban them. Not only shall we create room for those groups but also make sure their voices are heard. People have a right to shout out how they feel as much as they have the right to live it, so long as neither affects others directly. Some things will be of course out of the way, like those that do make such a lifestyle impossible, such as religious orders limiting free-expression within communities, racism, etc.
    Why Europe then, why not a whole world order? It would indeed be very nice if what we a re attempting at today in Europe could well one day be spread on to the world, having China, Laos, Zaire, Cuba all in. But alas, this is what today has to permit to us. Long-fetched history cannot be a bias to impose any rules on what the boundaries are, but thanks partially to it, but more to the recent history, we have been able to forge some institutions that may allow for such a union. Some changes have been taking place in some countries belonging to the Council of Europe that have been paving the way for such a Union, like the abolishment of death penalty, the superiority of common European legislation and various linkages that are taking on an irreversible path of abolishing nation-states. One day we will see the nation states may be like dictatorships that made people realise the benefits of democracy.
    And this will spread even more. Hopefully soon, in Arab countries and Iran , death penalty will make people feel ill, being gay will not cause prosecution, the rule of the religious law will be frowned upon etc. All these that I have counted are there in Turkey, some have been since the foundation (like the latter two), some more recent (like the first one, which has de facto been there for 25 years). But Turkey is yet to face a daemon that many European nations (and by that I mean nations who have expressed intent to go for these ideals) face: nationalism. I think this is rather a struggle that the old mentality infects us with. We are experiencing the pain before the birth of a greater prosperity.
    EU membership will bring that to Turkey and to the EU, an emphasised assertion that religion (or its absence) is there to be experienced individually but not to be imposed while taking decisions. most EU citizens may be Christian but EU is not Christian as Turkey is not Muslim, though the majority of people therein are. This forced assertion will mean that from Turkey there will be a way for its neighbours of notorious human rights records may see an example. Such a stability well expanded through the most instable Middle East means first of all Europe's cultural, economic and strategic advancement into the region (as it is happening with Balkan states), as well as an aura of ease for its own Muslim population stock (as e.g. in secular France, it seems odd that Jews and Muslims should feel out of the game).
    EU has the power to transform Turkey It has shown this many times and oft. I do believe that Turkey in its turn has the power to transform certain things.
    All I am saying is, we should know that the future is in our hands and is not written through or by our past. Together, we will form what Europe is and Europe should embrace Turkey all the more because it sees the possibility there to dispose of the daemons that hunt on its borders.
    If Europe can make it, the world too may follow.
    P.S. I am first of all a human (big news :) ), then a European from Istanbul of Turkish origin, for those who would nevertheless want to stick to reading through ethnicity-based glasses