Not signed in (Sign In)

Vanilla 1.1.5a is a product of Lussumo. More Information: Documentation, Community Support.

    • CommentAuthoradmin
    • CommentTimeOct 22nd 2008
     
    Dear Gary, I when I mean "European" I mean it in a cultural way, not geographically.
    • CommentAuthoradmin
    • CommentTimeOct 22nd 2008
     
    Gheryando,

    When I say "Eurasian" I mean it in a cultural way, not geographically.
    • CommentAuthoradmin
    • CommentTimeOct 22nd 2008
     
    Cihancat,

    "All I am saying is, we should know that the future is in our hands and is not written through or by our past." I absolutely agree. History may have got us to were we are but it does not tell us where to go.

    BTW, thanks for telling us that you are a European human of Turkish origin from Istanbul. It is useful to know because we haven't heard very much on this topic from those of Turkish origin. The debate has more value when it is more inclusive.

    For the record I am Blackburnian (the town I was born in), Lancastrian (the county I was born in), a Northerner (the area of England I was born in), English (the country I was born in), British (the nation I was born in), European (the continent I was born in) and an Earthling (the planet I was born on). That covers me geographically and culturally. There is a longer list of "identities" which cover me socially, politically, sexually, morally, ethically, religiously etc. I am none of those individual identities, I am all of them.
    • CommentAuthoradmin
    • CommentTimeOct 22nd 2008
     
    Surely, everyone is everything, we might as well agree that we are universelings but right now we are witnessing the transition from the nation state to a supranational state which is, at the moment, our highest political entity with which we can identify. Maybe one day, when ET comes back and reveals himself once again or we play the solar system cup against Mars we can truly call ourselves earthlings but at the moment European is what we are in a political and cultural sense. Everything is relative and not everything matters. Right now what matters in this discussion is Europe and I am therefore against an inclusion of too different cultures into this project. If you would include Eurasia, then why not make it eurafrasia? or eurafrasialia? Lets stick to reality, will we?
    • CommentAuthoradmin
    • CommentTimeOct 22nd 2008
     
    Gheryando,

    It is your opinion that "an inclusion of too different cultures " includes Turkey. That is not my opinion. Earlier Russia was mentioned by you as being European but when most people thing about Russia culturally they think of Cossacks (Kazaks) who are Asian and when they think about Russian political history they may think of Siberia, again definitely Asian. I presume you also want to exclude those who don't have a "European" culture but who live and work in Europe?

    "Surely, everyone is everything", wrong. I am not French or German, I am not Liverpudlian or Mancunian, I am not South American, I am not racist, buddhist, fascist, etc.

    This debate is about the story the EU should tell, which is a debate about identity.
    • CommentAuthoradmin
    • CommentTimeOct 22nd 2008
     
    Some interesting articles on enlargement and the European Social Model:

    http://www.policy-network.net/researchprogrammes/index.aspx?id=1094
    • CommentAuthoradmin
    • CommentTimeOct 22nd 2008
     
    I agree that Kazaks are not Europeans. They don't look European after all. The Russians I know, however, are clearly European, by race and by culture. I am sure somebody will have something against that statement but Russia has been part of European history ever since and actively participated. They are Slavs as are the Poles and Czechs and Ukrainians. How can they not be European? Where is the cultural link to Turkey? Does anybody in Europe speak a Turkic language? No! That is because the Turks are actually more related to the Kazaks and Turkmens etc. My Turkish friends can speak to their Kazak friends and are understood at times. Somehow similar to Spanish and Italian. Why don't they form a Turkic Union? But then again, we better include them and their influence in the EU before they realize how stupid it would be to join a club of countries that doesn't even want them and instead form a strong political union with their oil and gas rich (cultural) neighbours, right?
    • CommentAuthoradmin
    • CommentTimeOct 22nd 2008
     
    Gheryando,

    The Russian that I am married to is European by race and culture. But not all Russians are. If you are going to "allow" all Russians in the EU then you would be including many traditionally Muslim groups that have less in common with Christian Europe than Turks do. The Turk who was my best man at my wedding in London spoke a Turkic language I am sure, so I think that there are probably many people living and working in the EU who speak Turkic languages.
    • CommentAuthoradmin
    • CommentTimeOct 22nd 2008
     
    You are right. Not all Russians are. There are minorities like the Tatars etc who are Muslims. Also, in the Balkans there are Muslims and no one disputes their Europeanness. However, The Turk at your wedding is probably a child of immigrants or has immigrated himself. I recently met an Italian girl that was born here in China and her first language is Chinese. Does that make her Chinese? She says no and so do the Chinese.
    • CommentAuthoradmin
    • CommentTimeOct 22nd 2008
     
    "In terms of spirit and culture Russia is an integral part of European civilisation" Vladimir Putin. This is from his recent letter congratulating the EU on its 50th birthday. You can read the full text here: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/columnists/guest_contributors/article1563806.ece
    • CommentAuthoradmin
    • CommentTimeOct 22nd 2008
     
    Gheryando,

    What does the "Italian" girl's passport say she is? The Turk was studying in the UK and has gone back to Turkey to practice medicine there. But are you now saying that the children of immigrants or immigrants themselves don't count in some way or other?
    • CommentAuthoradmin
    • CommentTimeOct 22nd 2008
     
    Her passport says Italian.I'm saying that Russia belongs to the European Civilization but Turkey does not. This is the crux of Europe's Muslim immigrants: They don't want to adapt, unlike Hindi, Buddhist etc. Did you read the news about a German court denying a woman who was beaten at home divorce on the grounds of the Koran? Or how about the news of a Maroccan guy in France who ripped out his wife's eyeballs because she wanted to divorce him. I read these news and I dont even bother getting to the part where they mention religion because the chance is 90% he is Muslim. I am not Muslim bashing, in fact, I have many Muslim friends from countries like Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Egypt etc. Furthermore, I believe that our own "tolerance" in letting them build mosques, apply sharia law (like in Germany) is wrong because this is not mutual. I mean try going to Egypt or Saudi and open a a church. By letting Turkey in we are putting the dagger into the rest of what is remaining. Surely now one can say I am generalizing but lets face it. Unfortunately I am not.
    • CommentAuthoradmin
    • CommentTimeOct 22nd 2008
     
    Gheryando,

    Did you hear about the Muslim that didn't break any laws (secular or sharia), had a lovely family, treated his children well, they all got good educations and now work in EU hospitals saving the lives of those of European culture? Did you hear about the Christian that raped a 5 week old baby, or the one that killed two 6 year old girls? For every negative story about a Muslim you can find I can find you a positive one, or a negative one about a European Christian. That doesn't help.

    "European Civilization", this is an historical thing. Why can't people see the future as being the history of tomorrow? Let Turkey, Russia, Israel, the Balkans into the EU today and then look back from a thousand years into the future. What do you see?
    • CommentAuthoradmin
    • CommentTimeOct 22nd 2008
     
    "For every negative story about a Muslim you can find I can find you a positive one, or a negative one about a European Christian." May be true but that would still make the proportion of Muslim stories more in relation to their population but lets stop the statistics. I of course endorse all countries, except Turkey and Israel is still a question mark but definitely its inhabitants share a common cultural heritage with the EU (Judeo-Christian). Is it so hard to see that Turkey is in the Middle East and has cultural neighbours to its east but not to its west? If we keep adding new countries then we will never witness unity and solidarity. I am 21 but I would like to see a united Europe by the time I am 50.
    • CommentAuthoradmin
    • CommentTimeOct 22nd 2008
     
    Dear Gheryando,
    I donot like the way you brought it down to race but for your information, Turks are racially not different than the Greeks or Italians - most of the Turks are converts from the tribes living in Asia Minor (actually it is not even like clearly this guy is Arian, This guy is semitic, it is more like people mixed up but the majority was whatever was living there before the Turks came in, if it makes any sense at all). Basically, at the time, your being Christian meant you were Greek and your being Muslim meant you are Turkish. Still in Greece they refer to Muslim Gypsies as Turkish Gypsies. The same lookalike criteria you had for Kazaks apply here. Do the Turks look the least like the Kazaks? Iranians speak an Indo European language. Are they European? Mexicans speak Spanish,are they European?
    Secondly, Hungarians, Fins, Estonians and Turks all speak a non-indo European language. All their languages belong to Uralo-Altaic language family, which is definitely not semitic either. These people came in the Middle Ages from where the Turks came. and just like the Turks, except the language, they left few things (including scarcely any genetic links) in people that claim their heritage. Grammaticaly Turkish and Hungarian are much closer than they are to German.
    Thirdly, Turkey as a state and Turks are more against those horrible things sharia law and everything. A recent Gallup survey in Turkey showed that only 8% of the population flirts with the idea that laws of the state may be inspired by religion. (In the US the very same answer is given by 56%)
    I doubt if you have ever been in Turkey or met a Turk who was not an immigrant. Not that it justifies your being condescending to them. May be you should go and see what Turkey is and what the Middle East is before saying it belongs there. I have been in both, Turkey is not the Middle East.
    It seems we can let Gabon in (they are 77% Christian) but not the Turks. Many in Europe deny belonging to Christianity, are they not European any more? For the few Muslim dominated places you include, what makes you think that Albania is more European for instance than Turkey? It being on Europe?
    Finally if you want to have reciprocity for what Saudis are doing, if they are our measure stick for democracy, then you should see that you want to make Europe the Middle East. I do not see why this mentality should be European.
    • CommentAuthoradmin
    • CommentTimeOct 22nd 2008
     
    "Turks are racially not different than the Greeks or Italians " I highly doubt that statement for I am Italian and can see clear differences, however, this brings us to a racial point which I don't think is appropriate, just like you said. Maybe you misunderstood me because I am not saying it is race but culture. Turkish nationalism is not compatible with EU principles. Look at what happened to youtube when some Greek guy put on a video ridiculing great leader Ataturk: Youtube was shut down! Also, the Turkish military is in control in reality and if it wasnt for them, Turkey would not be so secular anymore as already suggested by voting for an Islamic party that tries to reinstate the headscarf in schools etc. Furthermore, I believe the modern European mentality stems mostly from the discoveries of the Enlightenment. Maybe my history is rusty but I dont believe Turkey was part of it. Either way, you can argue Turks and Hungarians etc have a similar language base but then so do Kazaks, Turkmens etc and I believe their cultural and linguistic ties are much closer to Turkish than Finno-Hungarian. Maybe you wont like the "race" argument and it is politically incorrect but one can pretty much tell a European country from a not European country by looking at the ethnic makeup of it. (Obviously excluding USA, Canada Australia, New Zealand etc.). Why doesnt Turkey form a Middle Eastern Union or a Turkic Union? Regarding whether I met Turks: I met many and have many Turkish friends from Turkey that study with me and we share good times. When it comes to the EU, however, they agree that they might not be a good candidate, although they obviously hope they will eventually get in. I simply have troubles in believing Europe borders with Syria and Iraq. Also, if you include Turkey, you couldnt stop the Lebanese, Palestinians, Maroccans, Lybians, Egyptians to enter.
    • CommentAuthoradmin
    • CommentTimeOct 22nd 2008
     
    With Turkey, it all hangs on overcoming an Other.

    I would argue (rightly or wrongly) that to define what is European is to also define what is not European, and that part of this process within the EU has been both temporal and spatial.

    Part of the European story is to overcome our past, to reject the consequences of two world wars, and the rise of fascism and communism. It is to bind countries together economically, and latterly politically, to make war between the countries impossible. Thus, part of the European project is a product of the 1950's and this post-war sentiment.

    Europe also has geographical others, in the past it was Russia and Eastern Europe, and could also be said to be America or Turkey. The former because they are more neoliberal, less environmental or social, the latter because there is less recourse to the rule of law and human rights. The question therefore, is whether Turkey can 'become' European in these respects, and whether this is desirable.
    • CommentAuthoradmin
    • CommentTimeOct 22nd 2008
     
    We are going in the wrong direction here. Discussing who is european and who's not is a nonsense. Saying that Turkey is not part of Europe it's hypocrite.

    I understand that turkish people and government feel frustrated for not being invited for the official ceremonies of the 50 years of Rome Treaty. Simon Tisdall signs an excelent text in Guardian today about that (http://www.guardian.co.uk/worldbriefing/story/0,,2042861,00.html). They have all the reasons in the world to be mad with the rest of european countries.

    I believe in a "small steps" policy for Europe. We will not flow through the same path, unless everyone realises that it's impossible to achieve major reforms on a EU of 27 (and counting). Has I said before, in other discussion, all the countries have different interests, and will always have. Now, we can shape our common believes to make EU an increasingly prosper region.

    I think Turkey must make part of that common believe. Even if it takes too long. It will never be late. I hope turkish people think the same.
    • CommentAuthoradmin
    • CommentTimeOct 22nd 2008
     
    Gheryando,

    "I simply have troubles in believing Europe borders with Syria and Iraq", but, as you are happy to include Russia, you do not have trouble believing European borders with Kazakhstan, Mongolia, China, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Iran, Turkmenistan and the US. Bizarre.
    • CommentAuthoradmin
    • CommentTimeOct 22nd 2008
     
    I believe this discussion is very interesting and important. I feel, however, that it will be hard for both sides to change their opinion and therefore this discussion could go on forever. We just have to accept that there are people that are for and against Turkish entry.
    • CommentAuthoradmin
    • CommentTimeOct 22nd 2008
     
    This is all a lot of rot and nonsense. It shouldn't really matter where a country is in the world. If EU membership is a good thing then we should extend it to any country, wherever that country is located. The criteria need to be based upon objective measures of compatibility with the EU, things such as Christianity, democracy, transparency and stability.
    • CommentAuthoradmin
    • CommentTimeOct 22nd 2008
     
    vince,

    Geographic concerns are relevant in that it wouldn't make sense for Mongolia to join as it has no common border with any existing member and is surrounded by non-members. Russia would have to join first then Mongolia would have a border with an EU member.

    Christianity is not an EU value, secularism is.
    • CommentAuthoradmin
    • CommentTimeOct 22nd 2008
     
    Gary, why should common borders make any difference? The UK has no common borders with existing members and is surrounded by the sea. The geographical basis of the EU is not needed in the slightest. And I disagree about Christianity not being an EU value - although our governments are not religiously based, Christianity is the very heart and soul of our civilisation. Do not forget our rich Christian heritage so quickly.
    • CommentAuthoradmin
    • CommentTimeOct 22nd 2008
     
    vincex3, I partly agree with the Christianity part although I am agnostic. I still cherish Christian traditions, however, because they are part of my native culture and are therefore to be cherished in my opinion, such as Christmas, Easter, a proper funeral etc. I don't, however, believe in the many dogmas of the church (theoretically I am catholic) anymore. I will probably baptize my child if I ever have any but not because I believe in the cleansing of the sin but see it as a tradition that brings together family and friends around a convention that has been in place for more than a thousand years and that deserves to be cherished. I guess you could compare it to haloween.
    • CommentAuthoradmin
    • CommentTimeOct 22nd 2008
     
    vince,

    "Do not forget our rich Christian heritage so quickly", I am aethist so Christianity means nothing to me and as most Europeans do not attend a Christian church, it seemingly doesn't mean much to them either.

    The UK does have a border with continental Europe it is called the English Channel or now that the tunnel exists I pass through French passport control as I go to the Eurostar. Difficult to have free movement of goods and people if they need to be put on a plane for a 6 hour flight.
    • CommentAuthoradmin
    • CommentTimeOct 22nd 2008
     
    GaryLondon, I don't know how much time you have spent living in non-Christian countries. I have spent some time living in Muslim countries and can assure you that the EU is absolutely immersed in Christian culture and heritage. Perhaps it is a case of not realising things from the inside?
    • CommentAuthoradmin
    • CommentTimeOct 22nd 2008
     
    vince,

    "EU is absolutely immersed in Christian culture and heritage" its all the past again. Let Turkey in. Then imagine you are looking back from a thousand years into the future. The EU will then look like a multi-cultural entity.
    • CommentAuthoradmin
    • CommentTimeOct 22nd 2008
     
    I'm from a catholic country, Portugal (more than 90% of the population), we have of course a strong christian culture. But Portugal, and the majority of Iberian Peninsula were governed for centuries by muslim califades. We have a great muslim heritage as well (language, arquitecture, food, etc)...
    • CommentAuthoradmin
    • CommentTimeOct 22nd 2008
     
    From the BBC website today (2007-03-28):

    "Earlier, Turkey's prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan was quoted as saying his diplomats may be allowed to meet the group, taken in the Gulf."

    Good to see the Turks showing solidarity with an EU member state and using its influence in the Muslim world.
    • CommentAuthoradmin
    • CommentTimeOct 22nd 2008
     
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/internationals/tables/default.stm

    The above link shows the league tables for the European Championships. Turkey are in that competition, as are Israel. I think that this list is a pretty good one of which countries we should be considering for EU membership. Those that don't want or qualify for full membership should be very seriously considered for EFTA membership. What do you think of this list? Any nations you would particularly like/dislike to see as members?
    • CommentAuthoradmin
    • CommentTimeOct 22nd 2008
     
    I'm late coming to this exchange but have read through the posts till now and will try to not repeat too much what's already been said, noting that Kossack made various points I would have made if s/he hadn't got there first

    me, I'm an atheist Brit living and working in Istanbul and my fiancee is a Turkish human-rights lawyer specialized in EU affairs which means breakfasts are never boring...

    I'm pro Turkey joining the EU and have little patience with the more populist, prejudiced arguments against Turkey's membership

    in my view the primary raison d'etre of the EU is political - a project with the aim of ensuring that there can never be a repetition of war in (the EU part of) Europe and also providing the conditions for sustained growth (I know the word begs various questions but they're best saved for the sustainability/ecological forum) and resolution of every kind of problem via political means, it is also pools sovereignty, it also is a kind of federation (whatever the UK says), it is also supra-democratic (if more in theory than practice), it also embodies democratic, humanistic, pluralistic, progressive, social-democratic values, and it is not, thank heavens, an ideology, not politically and culturally monotheist so to speak

    and it seems to me that this visionary project cannot throw in the towel and say that's it folks, we're done now, the EU is complete, because as we know the world's peoples and states have no choice but to increasingly work together - or die, and the EU is (currently) the most advanced (let's say) form of that process; so i'd say it's a mistake to look at it as a purely European project or a West European project or an Occidental project; it's a human project which started in the aftermath of WW2 and has grown out of that into a continuing, even when faltering, search for better ways of arranging and running human affairs - and, myriad problems notwithstanding, it's been amazingly, almost miraculously successful

    and thus I'd argue that 'Europe' represents a political-economic-societal project which has little to do with physical geography (except it had to start somewhere) but rather with a certain constantly-evolving way (which we can call the EU way) of managing societies

    so the notion of 'Europe' need not be bound by trivial geography and can freely extend to other countries and peoples who wish to join the project (and of course if you wish to join you have to fulfill membership criteria and adhere to the rules); in other words the fact that Turkey wants to join is reason enough in itself, we should be happy and proud! the rest is down to the nuts and bolts of making it work and workable in practice, and is down to political will, courage and vision from both sides

    the EU is a pluralist project - a plethora of peoples, states, religions and non-religions, differing political views, sexuaiities, races, languages, histories, cultures, ages, classes and so on; Turkey of course would add some pluralities (Turkey is far from monochrome) - great!

    it seems to me to be rank Orientalism to talk in terms of the EU versus Turkey as in West versus East; there is no such thing as a homogenous, static EU and there is no such thing as a homogenous, static Turkey (or Anatolia as I prefer to call it)

    and the 'problem' of Turkish Islam is largely I think a populist red herring; most Turks are nominally Muslim in the same way that most Poles are nominally Catholic; but Turkey is mostly a modern society just as Poland mostly is, and an essential aspect of that modernism is that people understand that religion is essentially a private matter, and by signing up for the EU the Turkish government and people confirm that - even though it's not easy for religious devotees of any faith to accept governmental secularism, that struggle goes on in Turkey just as it does in Poland (and many other 'Western' countries)
    • CommentAuthoradmin
    • CommentTimeOct 22nd 2008
     
    Dear KolyaGelsin, your comment shows deep insight and wisdom. I never thought of the idea of an "expandable" Europe but that's exactly what it is. Very interesting indeed.
    • CommentAuthoradmin
    • CommentTimeOct 22nd 2008
     
    As nobody liked my list of potential EU members taken from the European Championships, how about this list taken from Wikipedia:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_European_countries_by_GDP

    Or this from the EU portal (which isn't very good as you need to view 3 pages to see all the countries):

    http://www.europa.eu/abc/european_countries/others/index_en.htm


    Any nations you would particularly like/dislike to see as EU members?
    • CommentAuthoradmin
    • CommentTimeOct 22nd 2008
     
    Like: Norway, Iceland, Switzerland, Balkans, Sceptical about: Belarus, Russia, Turkey, Georgia, Armenia, Moldova, Ukraine
    • CommentAuthoradmin
    • CommentTimeOct 22nd 2008
     
    Croatia and Turkey have already started the accession process so they're already in as far as I'm concerned; potential EU members: Norway, Iceland and Switzerland of course, it's shameful that they're not, presumably out of self-interest; also obvious if a bit less immediate: Albania, Serbia, Kosovo, Montenegro, Macedonia, BiH, Moldova, Ukraine, Belarus (subject to the departure of the present regime); a little less obvious but with irresistible cultural logic: Georgia, Armenia, Greenland; countenanceable: Azerbaijan (reservations because it's an oil economy not because it's a Muslim country), Lebanon, Palestine, Israel; I would put Russia in a category of its own, in its current (massively corrupt, neo-totalitarian, oil-fueled) form it's hard to imagine how it could work but one day of course yes it should be; and then in a hypothetical category I would put the whole of Africa North of the Sahara - perhaps that's enough for the next 30-50 years, though I see no reason for the EU to say what the final border is - there should be no such thing as a final border, we're all in this together...
    • CommentAuthoradmin
    • CommentTimeOct 22nd 2008
     
    KolyaGelsin,

    "though I see no reason for the EU to say what the final border is - there should be no such thing as a final border, we're all in this together"

    I agree with you that we are all in this together. But I would like the EU to declare an end state and that would include a definitive list of potential member states. I would also like to see North Africa involved. The EU declaring a definitive list does not mean that countries not on the list would be excluded from any future economic/political structure but that another project would have to be started (and called something different) to define and achieve that greater (larger) economic/political structure.
    • CommentAuthoradmin
    • CommentTimeOct 22nd 2008
     
    Gary, I liked the map shown in the second link. All the countries with names on them should be able to join.