Should the EU include Turkey?

The EU has decided to open negotiations with Turkey for its eventual membership. Is this right? Is Turkey too large, poor, muslim and in Asia? Or is bringing Turkey in just the signal we need to the rest of the 'near East' that Europe is not a Christian club, and that a moderate Islamist government can reap this reward?  

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Gery, Hungary

The EU must start the negotiation with Turkey. It is essentail to keep peace in the EU. Turkey is "the most westernized islamic country". The fuel to their progression has been the possibility that once Turkey will be member of the EU.
Since the political gap between the muslim and the european-american countries has been gaining we need to find "someone" that could appear to be the connection bewteen us. (and to contradict Huntington's theory about the cultural confrontaion). I think Turkey should be the "someone"!
Otherwise we push them among the radicals which would influence the approach to the peace of those turkish who are already living within the EU! we can simply not afford it!

Joe Greene, London, England

Yes, Yes, Yes. Turkey stands at the cusp of both Christendom and Islam; as a amodernising democracy, it can only benefit from interaction with Europe. Conversely, it can benefit Europe by acting as a bridgehead between Europe and the Middle-East. It can also prove to the world at large, that an Islamic country, is capable of embracing democratic ideals, without losing its identity.

Christian Witte, Cologne, Germany

The EU should not try to absorb undeveloped countries under authoritarian rule. For example, it would not have been advisable to allow a Spain of the early seventies to join. But Spain has changed substantially and irreversibly and is today an indispensable EU member. So will Turkey, if given the chance.

The EU endorses certain political and moral values. It's all about human rights, democracy, free trade, cooperation, and development. Christian governments and peoples have promoted as well as violently opposed these values. Look at South America, a thorouhly Christian continent. Or worse, at Europe's past. Present day Europe is not even particularly Christian. Agnostics most probably outnumber Christians. To sum it up, all this talk about the EU being a Christian club is only an excuse for xenophopia.

If Turkey succeeds in adapting to European standards during the next 10 years, it should definitely become member. On success, this would be a real boost for the European model. Then, maybe even more countries South of the Mediterranean would strive to follow Turkey's lead, and the islamic world might finally have a chance to escape the deadlock it is trapped in now.

The EU is also about power. In the future, the power blocks USA, Europe, China, and Japan, will compete who has access to the remaining natural resources. Then, it will be good to have the Turks on our side, too.

The whole thing could fail, of course. But I think it is well worth the risk.

lemonwilmot, UK

No question Turkey should join, sooner rather than later. Tomorrow. Europe is absolutely not a Christian club -- the EU probably contains the largest collection of agnostics and atheists in the world, not to mention 8 million+ muslims. We need the immigrants and there could be no more powerful signal to countries in the Middle East that democracy will work there.

It will be hard to win referendums on the issue accross Europe. Perhaps we could point out that without a substantial demographic boost Europeans may have to work until they are over 70 -- will the "leasure preference" trump xenophobia, I doubt it.

Stefano S., Belgium

I think Turkey should not get into the EU.
They don't fit into the EU standart in many points. The Kurds are too much under the pressure of the Turkish people. Then, women are still treated badly there and the religion is still too highly used there. Not to imagine the mass storm into the other EU countries.

Coral Hillary, Cyprus

Most definitely not, if Turkey were in Europe, the USA will get their oil pipeline and will still have access to cheap oil and pollute the world even more. What chance them then signing up to the Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change? Or finding an alternative to petrol cars.
Aside from that, Turkey is not in Europe and its people are not Europeans. The imbalance would make huge problems for an already troubled Europe.
affiliation/country: Cyprus

Rafael Jacko, UK

The reasons expressed for favouring Turkish entry seem very forced.
The main one, to show that Europe is not a Christian club and that secular government can prosper in a Muslim society, is particularly ludricrous. Europe is known abroad for endorsing Muslim-friendly policies consistently, such as support for the Palestinian Authority, engagement with Iran, and opposition to the invasion of Iraq. In addition, as others wrote above, Europe has a very large non-Christian community.
A secular government in Turkey is in fact a greater beacon for democracy in Muslism countries if it stays out of the EU. Does a Muslim country need to be one of the "West" in order to have a secular government? That certainly shouldn't be the message. If democracy is to be promoted in Muslim countries, the message should be that democracy works outside the West too.
Someone above wrote that Europe needs immigrant labour, and it is certainly receiving it from new E European members. The surest way to break the civic compromise between countries with high unemployment (there are surely one or two of those in Europe???) and the European project, is to allow an enormous and unprecedented influx of unskilled labour from Turkey. Socio-economic tensions could become unbearable, and the most vulnerable people in Europe and Turkey will pay the price.
Anyone who has visited Ankara should know that Turkey is an extremely nationalist country. Gigantic flags with Ataturk's face adorn highrise buildings, reminiscent of the reverence for Mao in China. It is clear that secularist propaganda remains an essential part of Turkish stability. It is symbolic of a severe national complex that is outside the tradition of the EU, and a potential threaten to the political harmonisation that the EU aims for.
The true reason why some politicians are keen to give Turkey membership is likely the fear that Turkey will "defect" to Islamism. But Turkish nationalism and reverence toward Ataturk acts itself as a stalwart against this. As so does the politically determinant and strictly secular Turkish military. If Turkey is to be Europe's "bridge" to Muslim countries, then it might as well stay outside the union. The alternative is that it will either come to be seen as a lackey of Europe, or it will need to prove its credibility by disrupting Europe's inexorably Western agenda. Neither prospect is enticing.
There are other fairly obvious arguments against Turkish membership that have been largely swept aside in recent public discourse. The Kurdish issue, for example, is preposterous.
Alas, everything indicates that my reasoning is on the "wrong side of history". Whatever that means.

Peter Kates, United States

Many Greeks are concerned about Turkey's claims in the Aegean Sea, repeated airspace violations, and the continued division and military occupation of northern Cyprus, as am I. My belief is that Turkey should be allowed to become a member of the EU if they can show a willingness to use diplomacy, the rule of law, and not use coersion as a means to achieve its objectives. Many Greeks do not believe that Turkey has changed from its bullying means to arrive at its desired ends. I am not convinced, either, so I cannot accept their membership until their aggressiveness stops.

Stephen Ewing, The Blue States of America

If Turkey was other than a Stalinist police state in sheeps clothing they would be a great boon to the EU. However, as things stand now their treatment of the Kurds and secret police throughout the country mark them as decisively uneuropean. The fact that they are Muslim and could potentially serve as a bridge with the Middle East should in no way trump their domestic situation. If and when they transform themselves into a European country they should be granted admission into the fold. But until then to allow them entry would be to condone their myriad of abuses.

Bill Irving, UK

Everything I have read about the views of the Kurdish population of Turkey tells me that they attribute the recent improvements in their situation to Turkey's bid for E.U. membership. Kurds strongly favour this, and see it as their best hope for the future.
Have those who wish to prevent Turkey joining the E.U. because of the history between Turks and Kurds thought of a way of presenting this decision to the Kurds which will make them properly grateful to our concern for their welfare?

Jonathan Tee, United Kingdom

I think that in looking at Turkey now, as a potential member of the European Union we should consider future benefits as much as present issues. Greece, Portugal and Spain had all been labouring under the sort of regime which pursues tax-and-spend-on-tanks policies not so very long before they joined the EEC. These countries are now stable, fairly affluent, modern democracies and it is not unreasonable that we should expect the same as Turkey progresses towards entry. The Turkish government have already made many positive steps.
In some respects the criticisms of Turkey, as an aggressive and nationalistic quasi-democracy (I am content to sit on the fence on the matter of whether such views are valid), are reasons in favour of entry. The main purpose of the Union is surely to promote and maintain peace and stability in Europe. To exclude rather than embrace Turkey would seem to run counter to this aim. There are also practical benefits to Turkish entry. Whilst the Turks may not be incredibly wealthy, there are still 80 million of them and easier trading conditions will create many new opportunities for enterprising European companies. The Turks also have a large army, and this could make a useful contribution to any future European Defence Force. Finally, I don't swallow the argument that Turkish entry will unleash waves of immigrants. Polish entry was also supposed to do this, but I have yet to notice the teeming hordes of Polish migrant workers promised by the British tabloids.

Pedro, Portugal

Turkey should join the EU.
I remember that the main goal of Mr. Schumann and his supporters, when drafting the European Communities, was to give peace and prosperity to this continent and to the world.
Peace and prosperity will only be definitely possible when non-Christians, non-Caucasian and non-wealthy people feel they too are part of the free world and the scientific, cultural and economical progress is to be shared by all men, women and children, irrespective of their race, age, sex, religion or nationality.

Thomas Neeley, USA

The E.U. should not expand to include Turkey. The standard of living, habits of democracy and the civil society simply do not meet the threshold of the E.U. Turkey does not even guarantee freedom of religion. Virtually all Turks are Muslim. What other E.U. county is so mono-religious?
If Turkey, why not Israel? It is a long standing and vibrant democracy with a vigorous free press, advanced industries, an extremely educated and productive multilingual population. The standard of living is high. There is freedom of religion. Somehow I don't think the E.U. is ready for Israel. However, by any objective standard Israel is more qualified than Turkey.

Bill Irving, U.K.

Article 23 of the Constitution of the Republic of Turkey guarantees freedom of religion. What is the point of your assertion to the contrary? Is it to let us know that you don't know how to work a search engine?
Israel fails as a potential E.U. membership candidate on two counts; firstly, any member must have no outstanding border disputes with its neighbours and, secondly, a membership candidate must apply to become a membership candidate - so your suggestion should be addressed firstly to the Israeli government. Or do you imagine that they're waiting for an invitation?

Martin Standage, Cyprus/Britain

Turkey should be allowed to join the E.U.,one of the main reasons being that we would all be far safer with them as a member rather than a rejected and bitter country on its fringes!Certainly as far as Cyprus is concerned we see this as our only possible chance of ever getting them to withdraw their army from our country!Their excuse that they accepted the proposed settlement plan earlier this year and therefore have no furthtr obbligations here does not stand,especially as most of the provisions satisfied Turkeys demands while ignoring the key issues Greek Cypriots are concerned about-i.e. security and guarantees for the implementation of the solution!

Pedro Vendaz, Portugal

As an european citizen, I do believe that is in our utmost interest to have Turkey in the EU, because it will reinforce the only muslim nation with a fairy democratic political sistem. That is very important for the defense and even expansion of our tolerant and democratic kind of societies.
But I do also believe that we must change our vision of Europe in order to include very diferent people, both culturaly and religiously.
It's a great challenge, but it's Europe future that it's at stake.

Daniel Schwickerath, Sweden

I am not sure if the discussion about Turkey and Islam is beside the point. It needs to be stressed that the founder of the post Osmanian empire Turkey was very against the Islam and the values it stood for. Attaürk regarded the Islam as backwards and inferrior to the (christan) west.
Bearing in mind that moder Turkey still seems to be very much having the "DNA" that Attatürk gave it, I am not so sure if religion is such a big issue. I think the issue, besides its ecconomy and esp the one of the eastern parts, is more in how fare human rights and rights of women and minorrities are respected in practise. If Turkey can prove that it does respect them then it should join if it so desires.

Harri Mikk, Estonia

I think the very basic aim of the European Union is to become a synonym of Europe. And this should be the basis of the discussion about Turkey‚s EU membership. European Union has become a kind of present form of the European existence. EU wants and shall involve all European countries. And every country that may wish to become a European country should have a reasonable prospect of entering the European Union.
Secondly, Europe is not a continent or a subcontinent; Europe is not geographical term at all. One cannot conclude from the geographical location whether a country is „European‰ or not. Europe is a concept, an idea or a way of life of nations. Europe is based on values. A continent cannot expand but Europe can and Europe has been extremely successful in doing that. So successful that we can at least for two centuries already speak of West and of Europe as part of it.
Turkey is a country that wishes to become a European country and it is our duty to support Turkey and to offer a chance and real prospect of becoming the member of the European Union. If we wouldn‚t offer Turkey a real prospect of joining European Union, we would somehow refuse one country to be the part of this value system what we call Europe or European. And why should we do it? Because it is a Muslim country? Would we say that a mainly Moslem country couldn‚t be free, democratic and based on the rule of law etc? Can those values be only the „product‰ of a Christian tradition? We wouldn‚t say that. If Turkey fulfils the criteria as 10 new members have fulfilled the Copenhagen criteria, it should become a member of the EU.
It seems that the very important problem of immigration is often brought as serious argument against Turkey‚s membership. We should note that this problem is already long existent in EU. Berlin is the fifth biggest Turkey‚s city for many years already. This problem would not arise, it is already there and it should be solved anyhow. And rejecting Turkey‚s application would certainly not help to solve it. And not to forget ˆ no enlargement of the EU has caused any notable immigration to the existent EU countries before.

Ross Gurung, France

Geographically speaking,Turkey is not at all in Europe.Its would be 100 millions of population is real. And they are utter muslims. Do you all, favouring Turkish membership in Europe, wish a community war door to door in a very near future? Where ever I see there are muslims there is a problem. In Kashmir,for example,the war between India and Pakistan is as useless as anything. India will never never let Kashmir go 'cause
in 1947 the tug of war was definitely won by India.When you pay a visit to Turkey you see everywhere the scums and complete illetrate people giving the idea of what the middle age was like.Why the Turks treat their women so badly? The wall between Greek and Turkish in Cyprus is the real example of Turkish behavior. In 1453 the Turks were stopped in Vienna. If you want Europe to be an islamic world in the 22nd century you can sponsor Turkish agenda if not don't be the ignorants who would apolize one day saying we could not forsee that.

Ross Gurung, France

Just let us remember what the Turks did in the past.What we find is, they were the great propagators of Islam. All central Asia and south-east Asia (present Pakistan, north half of India and Bangladesh - between 6th & 19th centuries) were converted into Islam by the Turks in employing force. The Mediterranian surroundings were also put under their yoke. When they were stopped in Vienna (1529) after so many battles, Ottoman empire slowly retired from Europe. The horrors they committed in the name of Islam haunt still the memories of Balkan people. And they can hardly forget it.
All this to denounce the blind and short sighted view of politicians who are not aware of the danger by letting the Turks enter Europe without sufficient guarantie. Moreover, I'm sure that they might giggle behind their sleeves in remembrance of the past and the rapid and easy success of today.
Evidently, the Turks are inspired by Europe to better up their everyday livings. It's but normal 'cause of the vicinity. When they want to enter the Union with their huge mental backwardness regarding the relationship with women, I hardly can bet a dime on the survival of Europe if they become the member say before atleast 20 years. All this makes me think of the tale (fable) of Jackal and Camel. If the Camel enters the Jackal's house, the same would crumble as a heap of cards.

Zeynep, Turkey


Yasmin, UK

Most of the contributions to this debate have been thoughtful and considered, which I hadn't expected. Personally I wasn't happy about the expansion of the EU to include some former Soviet bloc countries, and I'm still less happy about countries like Romania and Bulgaria entering the EU. Previous expansion to include Ireland, Spain, Portugal and Greece seemed problematic at the time, but worked exceptionally well with the exception of Greece, so I accept that excessive caution about who is ready to benefit from and add value to the EU may be misplaced. For this reason I favour Turkish membership. The only legitimate reasons to question Turkish membership (given the other states being offered entry) are to do with the population size/economic development level of the country. Turkey is partly geographically in Europe, and it has for many centuries played a central role in European history, with a cultural legacy for all to see across central and Eastern Europe. Most hostility to Turkish entry is essentially bigotry. As a woman and a feminist I haven't found the Turkish state's treatment of women to be markedly worse than that of many other countries, and it is more genuinely secular than some Christian countries, or a theocratically dominated state like Israel.

Joe Xuereb, Malta

I find it strange that Turkish/Muslim expansionism until
1529 is brought to bear with regard to that country's entry into the EU. And yet no mention of the horrors perpetrated by Christian countries within most of Europe within living memory. Also, treatment of women in Turkey is often based, at best, on (often biased) perceptions gathered through fleeting visit/s to a country with an essentially mystical culture, often sold as such to enhance the allure. It would be fairer I believe to look closer at the position of women in the established EU member countries where one can reach clearer perceptions by reason of looking within from within with much fewer barriers than any attained in trying the understand a social culture that is in many ways impenetrable.

Fuad, The World

I came across this space through a Guardian article and wanted to share some thoughts, perhaps not coherent, but meant with good will. Recent coverage of the 'Turkey problem' has irked me, on many levels. Some of us here are here because this 'debate' has been massaged for us to dump our baggage.
Ross, i think this discussion could do without that polluting and disablingly poor description of how peoples in Bangladesh, Pakistan and India became Muslim. Some folks of the Eurocentric variety need to recognise their handicapped view on the history of this world. Go read some Rumi and Ghalib and chill out!!
The enlightened european destruction/dislocation of european, asian, african, american and other is well remembered. It is also recalled by questioning the cultural origins of the Climate change and the WMD threat.
Hopefully we learn our own lessons from eachothers mistakes and experiences, but according to our own yardsticks.
I think that one thing i have learnt from observing these discussions in 'The West' is how protoEU folks see themselves ... i cant say that im in love, or feel like a participant in this picture. Europe has a problem with religion. This is not the only problem it has, but to recover what it needs and has lost, perhaps we need to unlearn this prejudice, irrespective of whether or not the players find it convenient to welcome Turkey.
My interest is in hopeful openings for turkey and its people, and i see benefit and dignity for the turkish folks however this europe jive goes.
Of the muslim countries and 'developing' countries i have visited, i found turkish people incredibly well mannered, warm and content.. so much so that learning english is not really an ambition for many of them as they see their futures in their ancestral lands. The picture that has been constructed of asiatic hordes rampaging through the continent, ravaging women and 'stealing' 'jobs' is not a sincere reflection of what could happen. I guess these just serve to promote fear.
There are many sides to turkey, maybe they cant be seen by visiting the beach resorts, believing the orientalist doublespeak and measuring Islam against europes experience with Christianity.
The 'Europe' obsession in turkish society has some undeniable physical dimensions and also stems from of some historical insecurities in modernisation, mistakes and failings of human muslim systems and the legacy of the founder of the modern state of turkey and those freaky people in the military.
The past 50 odd years have been a regeneration and recovery phase for a lot of muslim societies, their living and generative knowledge systems and institutions have tripped up in places and taking a bashing(in some place an annihilating) from Europe and from ourselves.
I hope that, at the very least, Turkish society finds this 'courting' phase heightening and a stimulation for a genuine recovery and pregression on its own terms.
I dont know what europe can learn from this.. I am sure that Prof Ash could enlighten us.Personally i dont see Europe and a union of europe as a positive thing for the majority of this world anyway. Not at this stage at least. An unjust bipolar system is just as far away from where we should be as the present unjust unipolar one.
The families of muslim and developing nations and communities dont need europe to do anything other than refrain from its habitual destructive and hegemonic practices in study, environment and economy.
Maybe the 'counterbalance to the US' argument might have some weight with some. It doesnt leave me jumping up and down, It seems like the Kerry option.
What we need is Nader. Bush and Kerry, US and the EU are virtually identical to the first approximation and wholly inadequate for a justice based society.

Tonino Martinez, España

A pesar de tener el porcentaje de renta más alejado de la media europea que un aspirante a miembro haya tenido jamás, de ser el más extenso y poblado, con mayoria musulmana, con desigualdades aún por corregir entre hombres y mujeres (acaso no las hay aún en todos los paises miembros?), etc... supone tal reto para Europa el poder asimilar, convivir, suprimir las fronteras entre el occidente tradicional y el oriente más próximo que la aventura merece la pena. Es un guiño al mundo, dar un mensaje a las generaciones futuras que va más allá de simples acuerdos comerciales o politicos, es crear un marco de convivencia y esperanza, una europa de verdad sin fronteras, sin miedo a lo diferente, integradora, una europa que marque el camino de las politicas del nuevo siglo y del nuevo orden mundial, con una europa con fronteras en asia y una asia (con china al frente) con fronteras en europa. El sueño de Marco Polo, de Alfonso X "el sabio" y de tantos otros. empecemos a soñar cuanto antes.
Bienvenida, Turquia.

Ross Gurung, France

My response to Fouad, Yasmine and others,
Dear me! I’m not at all hostile to Turkey being one of the member states of Europe.
What are those things, which give chills as well as itching to Europeans, let me try to numerate them one by one.
1) As far as I know, the present Government of Turkey has 3 or 4 polygamous ministers. Is that in tune with our 21st century?
2) When you enter a club or a consortium you are supposed to fulfil certain criteria, such as, what are your backgrounds? Therefore why, the past history of a would be member country must be known to all before the other members put the acceptance seal for good.
3) There are already 10+3 countries to be ‘digested’ by Europe. And it makes about 450 millions of Europeans. At present, Turkey is a big chunk to be admitted. With the present voting system Turkey would be more important than the founder countries such as France, Italy, in the very near future Germany and Britain in Euro MPs. Nobody can accept that. Further, there is no money left for the commissioners to enable them to meet the scarcity of Turkey in materials and road penuries before atleast 2013. Would there be more than 1% of the annual budget of each member state based on GDP? For the time being, almost all of them are against increasing it before a decade or so. In plus, Britain wants its money back (Thatcher’s claim!). Heaven knows, after the ensuing referendum Britain would remain still an European member state.
4) Everybody says that Turkey is a secular country. And Turks say they are very proud of that since 1923. O.K. But it leaves anybody appalled when he or she sees on the streets of Ankara and Istanbul more than 70% of women, even the girls of 12, have their scarfs on their heads. In what field are they secular? Why army should guarantee their status? Fouad, you say, you are in search of justice haven. As far as I know this kind of make-believe story is described in Bible and Koran. So why, they are fake and just the imaginative fruit of some screwy mugs to lull and bully the adepts of enchantment. Europe is a human made entity where the most telling today’s problems of human beings are treated to make function the daily chequered lives of everybody. I’ve still a question and am wondering as to how the present PM of Turkey, so utter former eurosceptical, transformed himself into a fervent euro-enthusiast after his imprisonment? Is there a mystery behind it? His arrogance towards the member states is too much against the interest of Europe. Of late, in 1963 De Gaulle and Adenaur accepted Turkey to be the future member of the ECC, not that of the EU which is the fruit of continuous efforts of Giscard, Schmidt, Mitterrand and Kohl.
5) There are other muslim countries such as Morocco, Tunisia and Algeria who are on the waiting list and are very keen to be the European members. They have atleast an advantage of speaking french which is one of the main working languages of Europe.
6) At the starting block, when Monnet and Schuman began to make the sketch-map of would be Europe, they had in mind to make live France and Germany, side by side, geo obliges, without biting each other and nomore wars between the ancient foes as well. The success was striking. Europe became a sort of big magma of attraction for all those countries who sought democracy and prosperity. The ancient satellites of the former Soviet Union waited 15 years to be full-fledged members of Europe. But there is a snag in it. Poland bought US fighters instead of Euro fighters for their air security. Some of the member states remained flabbergasted. How come Poland expects to be financed by Europe to better up its crying infrastructures, if it goes to shopping elsewhere? Dear Dad, No mon’ no fun, Your son. Ifso facto, Poland became the black sheep. Furthermore, it participated headlong in the Irak war without a word, lack of politeness, to the European partners. There is no one to compel Poland to do anything; least the polish mob puts the neo-communists on the right track.
7) After the human bombs were thrown against the twin towers of NY and the Moroccan slaughter of Madrid railway station as well as the daily 30-50 massacre of the US soldiers and innocent Irakian civils, how can anybody keep mum and not to be on his guards? Already these beastly acts disqualify any country of Muslim obedience to enter Europe for the time being. This is the fact not the hysteria. These are the moot points as well as the hiatus. We’ve our heads screwed on all right. All these mumbo-jumbos are meant to avoid a future boob. We’ve nothing very exceptional to brag about, unless there would be a break in the clouds.
8) All those Turks already installed in Europe are neither integrated nor assimilated. There are as yet the ancestral laws and orders applied, especially to the young girls. If they try to overstep the invisible but always existing ‘fences’, the poor girls are simply punished to death by their fathers, brothers or the relatives as if they were in the remote belt of Anatolie where the village chieftains still apply ‘charia’ just like in the middle ages. In Alsace, most of the rebellious girls are of turkish origin. They keep themselves aloof from the academical schedules, such as the participation in the gyms, swimming, and medical check-ups. I, therefore, suggest you to mind yours Ps and Qs, so as to make happen something concrete materializing. When would you give birth to somebody like John 23rd? If somebody has guts to raise his head, mind out, there would be ‘Fatwa’ on him as for Salman Rusdhi. The world as a whole, advances with gigantic footsteps leaving far behind the muslim world with their rhetorical ‘Alap’ and quiproquos of the Muslim Brothers. Omar Khayam wrote a ‘Surat’ in Urdu which goes as follows :
« Khudi ko kar buland qu’ har takdeer se pahale,
Khuda bande se puch teri raza kya hai. »
In short cut, be as good thinker as God Himself.
After Khomeini’s come back in 1979 to Iran Muslims stepped back to the Middle Ages. What a calamity spread over them? I’s so sorry about it. And the lateral damages caused to all other religions, making them more and more stiffened and reticent to the heart throbbings of Muslims all over the world. Ah, If only you could take a leap of 100 years!

Edgar Cabral, Brazil

Yes, I think it will be wonderful to EU because will decrease american influence in Middle East, but the problem is the kurds, the governament of turkey don't respect kurds and the kurdistan country is only a promisse.

Fritz Schirrmeister, Germany

I'm of the opinion, that the EU should start negotiations with Turkey, because it's so essential to show the world and especcially to our selves, that the EU is not a exclusive club for people believing in Jesus Christ. The reality in most of the european countries is, that many muslims still living in the EU - we should remember that when we talk about the membership of Turkey. The challenge for the future is, to integrate foreign people into a european society - the best challenge is, to include Turkey. But we should also remember, that there sould be not a special political reason, to let Turkey became a member of the EU. The "Kopenhagener Kriterien" should stay the important point, otherwise the EU risks a breakdown of it's ecconomic foundation - by the way I think that's still the strongest part of the EU. But for the future - a european society - with all the various cultures, languages and little differences should take place. It's our thing to create that, February 15 in 2003 was a start, but it needs to continue. Not in the direction, that people are against America or what George W. Bush is trzing to do - but for Europe!

Doina, USA

Just a thought: Europe is about to gain a large population of practising Muslims, completely at odds with the largely non-religious habits of Europe; a half-hearted secularism - note that the PM himself refused to alllow or encourage his daughters to remove their scarves in compliance with the laws of his own country, which is why they are studying in the US - better the Great Satan than genuine secularism - what kind of an example is he giving to his people and what kind of a model of modern European leader is he?; a large territory with third world standards of living, plus, as many who have visited Turkey know, pretty archaic social practices and a huge Kurdish problem. Harmonization, in this case, will probably mean that Europe will look and feel more like Turkey rather than the other way around, that is standards of living may very well decline in Europe while slightly rising in Turkey, which, it is true will bring the two closer. At the same time, there will be pressure to modify the liberal social climate and the freedom of speech, for many Turks will be offended by the irreligiosity and permissiveness that are now prevalent in Europe. Is this good.

Kariye, Turkey

Let's look at this from the other point of view - why should Turkey want to enter Europe?
1. It's a good way of disempowering the military - the Turks have recently spent circa 30% of GNP on the army etc, as against the EU norm of around 3%.
2. Turkey's already part of the customs union - why not have the political benefits that should go with the surrender of trade barriers?
3. It will hopefully prevent the US winning every Turkish election (by buying candidates/parties). This govn't has been the first one since the 1950's to say No to the USA on any serious matter.
4. It may provide skilled employment, both by encouraging people to fill needs in EU countries and by boosting export of services and goods. Thus enabling payment of social security benefits etc. and raising living standards.
5. 'Europeanisation' of Turkey's taxation system could level out the rich-poor divide (4th worst in the world?).
BUT there are disadvantages in entering a club which is likely to incur severe infrastructure costs as the result of
1. The demise of the dollar.
2. The effect of global warming.
3. A below replacement birth rate coupled with a xenophobic immigration policy.
Maybe Turkey only needs to meet the accession criteria and then say No thanks.
Who knows?

Wojciech, Krakow, Poland

I also believe that there should be no "light" condidions. Turkey should be able to prove that it is able tu fulfill all of the EU's criteria before it's allowed to join. But once economic and social targets have been met - I see no reason why we shouldn't embrace Turkey as a fellow member of the EU.
The "culture shock" argument is a complete miss. You would be hard-pressed to find a place that is as culturally diverse as the EU. Are the cultural differences between Turkey and, say, Italy bigger than the difference between the cultures of Greece and Sweden? Spain and Lithuania? Poland and Belgium?
And for those raising the "historical conflict" issue - remember, that for centuries it was Turkey's predecessors who were the source of culture and enlightenment and it was the Europeans who were the Thirld World of the day.

Paul Emby, UK

Is there something im missing here? A European country
is illegally occupied. That there is no arguement; and the country at fault if i may use a another euphemism for
the 'cyprus problem', is being feted to join the EU. How about resolving this before contemplating membership credentials?

Karl, British

If Turkey fulfils the conditions which have been laid down for member ship then it should be welcomed as a member of the EU.
But not because we "need" immigrants. We do need some immigration as a short term plug for gaps in the labour market. Though in the long term we need desperately to have a trained indigenous skill pool (engineers, nurses and so on).
We do not need immigration in order to compensate for the effects of an ageing population. Not because we don't need to solve this problem, but because replacement immigration will not solve it.
The UN report which kicked off the debate on replacement immigration back in 2000 has been widely misquoted and misunderstood as well as deliberately misrepresented.
The report examines the effectiveness of replacement migration as a solution to the problems of an ageing population and comes to the conclusion that it is not effective, because it requires a large rise in population to maintain current support ratios and, even worse, in order to keep those ratios constant the population must continue to rise forever. As soon as immigration tails off, or is stopped, then you're left with all the same problems of an ageing population that you had before, but with a much larger population.
Of Britain the report says:
„Scenario V keeps the support ratio at its 1995 level of 4.09. Keeping this ratio would require 59.8 million migrants between 1995 and 2050, slightly more than one million migrants a year on average. The overall population would reach 136 million in 2050, of which 80 million (59 percent) would be post 1995-migrants or their descendants‰.
Turkey should join the EU because it would be benefit both Turkey and the union economically, because it would strengthen democractic and secular tendencies in Turkey and because, as long as Turkey fulfils the human rights and economic conditions laid upon it, there is no reason for it not to be allowed to join.
But anyone who tells you that Turkish migration, or any other kind of migration or immigration, will solve the problem of ageing populations in the EU either hasn't understood the problem or is lying. In the case of many politicians and journalists I suspect it's the latter.

Ahmed Moh. Naguib, Egypt

the accession of turkey in the EU will be a forward step towards a larger free Europe and of course this will increase and enhance the 'euro-middle east' relations. It's a huge step forward forall of the european countries.
The accession of Turkey will open the door towards a new, free and democratic Turkey.

Riccardo, Italy

Turkey: in or out? Hard question... but before we should find some other answers.
For example, we could start asking whether Turkey is really in Europe, and which policy to adopt with EU neighbors. The EU cannot continue its enlarging policy forever. The Eu cannot grow too much and too quickly at the same time. Germany needed 15 years to recover after its reunification.
Recently 10 new members have been added and it is already a big step ahead. We need time verify the impact on the EU economy and on EU institutions. I wouldn't like to see the EU collapsing under the weight of its new members or being an ungovernable superstate. It is already a mess now with 25 members and it is complicated to speak with one voice over a number of issues. Do we need other complications? Not now. There is challenge that must be addressed, but the EU must be ready first. Now it is not. Not yet. Now it's time to talk about cooperation, not full accession.
Then, there is still the question of the Balkans on the table. If Bulgaria and Romania have already one foot in, others should have a priority (over Turkey). I mean: Croatia, Serbia, Kosovo, Abania, Macedonia. That will also take a long time.
When this process will be completed and consolidated, the EU could start thinking about Turkey and Caucasus... meaning sharing a border with Syria, iran and Iraq.... ok, where should we begin from??

Ben Piggot, UK/US

Yes. Maybe not right away, but down the road, definetly yes. I would argue that Turkey joining the EU would represent the tremendous step towards global integration and peace and distinct step away from Huntingdon's Hobbesian "clash of civilizations" thesis.
Turkey and what historically has been Turkey (the Ottoman Empire, etc.) has been intimately involved in European affairs for centuries.

John Norman, UK

No!They will cost us some 22 billion euros a year for decades. Moreover, governements that tear-gases a women's demonstration and uses billy-hooks on the marchers, that allows under-age (child) marriage, that refuses to recognise the genocide of the Armenians, that ethnically cleansed Anatolia of millenial-old Greek populations, that continues to discriminate against Jews and Orthodox Christianity, that persecutes the Kurds has no, absolutely no place, in the EU.
When Turkey has matured - and that's a long way off - maybe it should be considered.

Emilio Fernández Castro, Albacete, Spain

Why not? The real question is if we, the Europeans, have thaught about the door we will open if Tukey becomes a member of the EU. What will we do if, in a couple of years, Georgia knocks our door? Turkey is not the door that conducts to the Arab world -in fact, the distance between an Arab and a Turkey is larger than the distance between a Spaniard and a Finnish (about this question, I recommend T.E. Lawrence's "The Seven Pillars of Wisdom")- Turkey, actually, is the gate to the Caucasus, to its mountains of hard problems (Chechnya...), to the Caspian Sea oil, and, furthermore, to Russia!If we admit Turkey into our club, why not Russia? I know it is a very long-term idea, but, what would Russia do if Ucrania and the Caucasus countries belonged to the EU? Russia would be enclosed between the rest of Europe and China, just like three hundred years before, at the starting of Peter the Great's reign.

Riccardo, Italy

...and then who and how will govern the EU? a sort of paralyzed United Nations Security Council??? it is true with the accession of Turkey the EU will open a door to precious resources... and it is true that Georgia, after knocking on NATO's door, will soon knock on EU's... but then we can go on forever? why not lebanon or israel, then? i am afraid that for this century the EU cannot afford grow more than this. the risk is a tremendous institutional collapse.
The EU should promote wealth and stability beyond its borders... but sharing its institutions is another story.

Emilio Fernández Castro, Albacete, Spain

Riccardo, you're quite right and I agree with you much more than you think. You have pointed the real problem behind Turkey's accesion, that is: where does Europe end? In the Polish Border? In the Caucasus? In the Ural Mountains? Or even in Vladivostok, the most eastern town of Russia, on the shore of the Pacific Ocean? We can't push our borders again, and again, and again... and I'm afraid we're not thinking about the consequences of an infinite ampliation. Furthermore, if you read the European Constituion, you'll see that question is not yet accurately answered. So, I've got nothing against Turkish people, but, I repeat it, are our politicians thinking about all these issues, or not?

Jan, Poland

I am against Turkey's entry. First we have understand that democratization doesn't mean europeization. There will be different variants of democracies in the world and all of them will not fit to each other. Second thing is women abusement, according to Amnesty International report up to 50% of women says it had experienced familly violence. Third the question of Islam is not solved in Europe, we have serious problems now with integration, and from their side new demands of changing our law are arising. It is not clearly today if islam will throw away its political version and rules of shariat, and it is the same way not clear as Turkey will stay secular country if the army control finally go away. I don't know also if you remember that just two weeks before accepting report from EU Commission it was a treat in Turkish Parliament to put adultery into penal code. Not saying about accidentes with free press and women demonstration.
However it will not be also good message to Muslim world, again working democracy will be only European. Maybe they need also their own examples. Then we can toghetr with Turks think of solving problems of Middle East etc.
And these stories about White Christian Club it is completely bull...t. In most European countires Christianity loose its power and churches become empty. I was at the conference organized by Turkish embassy and this argument was clearly manipulation for Europeans to make them feeling guilty, because nobody would like to be a racist.

Cheye, America

This is more of a question, I suppose. If Turkey is admitted into the EU, where does the line end for other countries who might wish entry in the future? If Turkey (*Asia* minor) is accepted, Iraq may be provoked to join, and it's difficult to ever consider Iraq part of a European Union. Where does Europe end, and everything else start?

Frank Yeo, UK

Turkey in the EU will be the greatest mistake that Europe will ever make. The Turks are arrogant, inconsiderate, rude, sullen and aggressive. The ones that I have seen in London are about the worst.
The Turkish Prime Minister threatened a million muslim terrorist if the EU refused entry for Turkey. I would rather have a million terrorists than a million Turks.

Daniel Taylor, UK

Most certainly not
A gateway to Brtitain for Islamic extremists, The poorest European nation, with migrants flocking to allparts of Europe, in particular Britain. A clash of cultures... will lead to WW3 between east and west.

Emma, US

You Guys should come to my Model UN conferance this is our topic? Does anyone have any idea what czech would think on the matter?

Emilio Fernández Castro, Albacete, Spain

To Cheye, from America:
I don't think that Irak will ever join the EU. For me, the BIG problem is Russia. Look at the countries that once were satellites of the USSR. What do the Ukainians want? To join the EU. And the Georgians? They want the same. And this is happening now, when we have just admitted ten new member states. We're trying to digest this recent huge accesion, and we're opening new negotiations with the Bulgarians, with the Romanians, with the former members of Yugoslavia... Don't misunderstand me, I want them to join the EU, but I don't want to repeat the mistake that commited the Germans, a so quick, so accelerated integration of East Germany that caused a big economic and social crise. Things have its own speed and sometimes to accelerate them is so bad as to brake them. Suppose that, one day, Russia says "OK, it's our turn. We want to join the club". If we had admitted before all the Eastern Europe, and even Turkey, how could we refuse it? But if, one day, Russia joins the EU, would it be an accesion, or an absorption?

antti vainio, finland

I'm not sure it's islam which is the problem. f.ex the muslims of Bosnia-Herzegovina are as civilized as the Slovenes, ready to the Union. their problem is that their country is full of fucked up Christians

Steve W, human race

The EU experiment may serve as a model for the rest of the world in terms of further human integration. The addition of Turkey could go a long way in demonstrating that Huntington is wrong and we are indeed one race instead of ostensibly different races divided by culture. Of more immediate importance is the fact that Turkey will have to abide by the rules of the EU fostering a freer, more secular, more democratic Turkey. How can this not be force for improvement in the world?

Veronica, Mexico

Well afther read all the comments, i just says that really that who says no to turkey is because are hidding the reality that EU is just a christian club, if they really think that in Europ there is a freedong regarding religion, i think yes but...always you are christian (whatever denomination it be). Some people says turks are rude, uneducate and so...well i invite to visit France or England to see who is already rude, snobish and arrogant, I dont understand why Turks with all they richness in culture wants to be member of EU, Turks can works to be better and reach the goal of a Country with Quality in all their aspects, but there is not need to be begging Europeans to be one of their members, westernization of Turkey would break thousands of millenarian culture, i am latinoamerican and i dont think Turks deserve to be treated as second class people, economy can grown not at expenses of being member of EU, cause at the end, the only advantege turks will have is that they will be able to go and come free from Europ, but i dont think there will be more beneficts for Turkey.
Some french supporters of kurds put this topic as a pretext to not accept turks, but i would like them to know that Kurds are not a "gold coin" they are double standar people, when Saddam Husseim kill them in irak most of them run away to Turkey and Turkey open their border to protect them, no what turks are doing is destroying the lands of turks in iraq, of course with the support of USA, why cause they now that the lands in iraq with population turkish has the main petrol resourses. So what, to me kurdish are pets of USA and jewish, and a good pretext to make turkey away from EU.
I hope Turkish goverment and turkish people understand someday that to be Europeans member is not the best for them, they can be better country with out be part of that "arrogant club", becuase i just would like to know what are the sources of EU members? Petrol? gold? technology?, as far as i know just few countrys members can say yes we have our own resourses, the rest are just like the pets of USA, they are well feeding by them just to make them happy and support america.

Ogur, Turkey



Dear Friends in Europe;
A spectre is haunting Europe - the spectre of Turkey.
With Turkey‚s candidacy, the EU project, with its solid ethical base comprising the concepts of human rights, freedom and egalitarianism, is now undergoing a serious trial. The questions posed are not that easy:
1. Will Europe succeed in becoming a pioneer in the quest for a pluralistic and colourful future ˆ at this specific instance where, in the aftermath of 9/11 and the occupation of Iraq, balances have turned upside down and we are all steadily heading towards a world of violence?
2. Will Europe succeed in safeguarding its basic values ˆ humanism, universalism and egalitarianism ˆ despite all?
3. Will Europe succeed in daring to propose to the world a brand new set of concepts in approaching the never-ending conflict between east and west?
Let us provide you with some clues to facilitate your work:
4. We are not interested in your jobs, or in your money. We believe ours is the most fascinating country on earth, and accordingly, all our plans for the future are directed towards this piece of territory. Indeed - we are always delighted to host you in our beautiful country.
5. What we are interested in, is the deep and far-reaching effect which such a meaningful combination could produce in the creation of a turning point in world history, and in the achievement of peace in its broadest sense.
6. We stand up for Turkey‚s EU membership, with the purpose of defying the steadily increasing, alarming antidemocratic tendencies, and making the world a better place for all of us to live in.
Europe currently appears to be in a state of confusion. Some of the recent releases and announcements from Europe are unfortunately causing a suspension in Turkey‚s efforts to become a state of governance and rule of law in its true sense; these announcements also have an extremely demotivating influence on Turkey‚s democratic and civilian powers.
We are aware that you may have many reasons to oppose Turkey‚s EU candidacy. However, it is in your hands to transform the „clash of civilizations‰ nightmare into a „dialogue of civilizations‰. This, and this alone, should by itself be seen as a sufficiently convincing argument in favor of our membership.
Turkey‚s candidacy presents a golden opportunity to re-establish peace in the world, in a time of conflict. This opportunity has occurred after centuries of war and hostility. Let‚s not blow our chance this time!

Ramiz Kaan, Turkey

Turkish occupation in Cyprus? What are you talking about.Who are the reject UN Peace Plan for cyprus last year in referanda? And Who are the except? Please refresh your knowledge about cyprus!
What is the EU reaction to their members who are the join the occupation and destoriatiın in Iraq?
What's abuout human right abusments in Iraq by UK?
What's about France radical secularism destroyed to all basic human rights?
Please be fair!

Alcan, Hue, UK

I really can not understand how on earth the Cypriots are in the EU. Greece just blackmailed EU to accept Cypiots as a member and the Union did not resist to the detriment of Turkish cypriots and poor Turkey.

Banu, Turkey

I dont want joining of turkey because if we do whatever they want us to do,we will never be a europEan,we always feel like foreigner even if we are 100%Europen by the laws of the EU.

Talhan Ahmad, UK

Interesting debate. I have come across this site via an article on Gurdian.Reading the comments around Turkey's entry to Europe has been a good one. Turkey's entry to EU is not an option, it a must. It is essential for global security and stability.
Turkey, with all problems it may have, is a great country that can offer huge benifits to our current, very volatile world. Especially, at wake of 9/11. the rise of neo-cons, it is becomng increasingly a possibility that a great civilisational clash may occur. In such circumstance, institutions like EU has great responsibilities to diffuse the sitution. The way to do it is by creating conditions in which civilisations an interact with each other in a meaningful manner. Turkey's entry into EU provides just that. What else can we, the peace loving people of this planet, hope for?

Esin, Istanbul, Turkey

Turkey is a country that manufacturers many diverse goods and services. It is a net exporter of light machinery, automobile (yes, Renaults, Mercedes buses, Toyotas, Fiats etc.), white goods, and cheap labor. From an economical point of view, YES definitely Turkey not should be but MUST BE a member of the EU for the benefit of Turkish stability and European power in the world.
Many out there who are ignorant of Turkey, and make assumption on this country based on their observations of Turkish immigrant population in western European countries and oppose the Turkish entry into EU. Turkey has a dynamic, well educated, and progressive population that has been arising from its urban centers for last three decades.
Remember! A full membership of Turkey had been promised to Turks in early 60s.
Besides, from technical and legal point of view Turkey has been integrated into a common European system long before ex-Soviet satellite had even been considered for membership.
Furthermore, a lengthy and discriminatory handling of Turkish membership may result in the post-WW2 Germany like social change in that country. That my friends, I can assure you, is something that entire European continent should be worry of.
Humiliation is something that no nation with a formidable military power and history should be subjected to.
Europeans can neither afford nor able to fight a military conflict with Turkey without American support.

Fatos, Turkey


Stefania, Greece

Turkey, Definatley should not join the EU, with one of the most important facts, It's Borders! Turkery is an Asian country with Greek Borders that is the only relationship it has with Europe. If we invite and accept Turkey then why not Sudan or South Africa or even cuba. Not to mention the fact that Turkey spent SO MANY years trying to erase greece from this earth and now they want to put that behind them and join them in neighborly fun! Turkey is in Asia and it should start the Aisan Union with the other Asian Countries and it has nothing to do with Religion!

Michel Bastian, France

Phew, this is a tough one. Now, being half french and half german (and living in Cologne, one of the main centers of turkish immigration in Germany besides Berlin) I suppose everybody expects me to refuse Turkey´s entry into the EU. Well, I´ll surprise you all: I´m not against it. The reason for that is that I see real progress being made in Turkey when it comes to democratic reform. There is a far better basic understanding of democratic principles and, more importantly, of the necessity of separating church and state, than in most other countries with a strong islamic culture. So, in my opinion, there is actually a chance that this might work.
BUT(and this is where the frenchman in me comes out) there are massive problems that have to be tackled first:
a. Until now, Europe has been a "christian club", as TGA very aptly put it in his question. Turkey, even if it is more or less secular now, has never been a "christian" state. It has had a muslim dominated culture for a long, long time. Now before all you turks start screaming at me and labeling me a racist: I don´t think that cultural and religious difference, as great as it may be, is necessarily undesirable or even an obstacle to joining. Europe should not be a purely christian club (as it is at the moment, let´s not kid ourselves).
The problem, however, is that a lot of the european population has a different view. We shouldn´t delude ourselves: many europeans are xenophobes in this respect. Many europeans fear what might happen if a nation that´s supposedly dominated by an islamic, apparently non-european society gets any kind of power over our own states. This xenophobia runs particularly high in states where there are big muslim populations, notably in Germany, France and Spain. If the average german sees people like Mehtin Kaplan preaching a "god state" in the middle of Cologne and issuing death fatwas against people, or if you see honor killings of young women in Berlin, small wonder many germans start to have misgivings about Turkey joining up. Now I know people like Kaplan are not necessarily representative of the situation in Turkey, nor even of the turkish population in Germany, but we can´t just ignore the fears of the european population. We have to iron out any xenophobic prejudice before Turkey actually joins up, otherwise the resentment in the non-turkish european population will grow to the point of racism and hatred. How can we prevent that: first of all, there has to be an integration of muslim populations that are already in the european states. This has not been pushed enough in the past. We´re not asking them to give up their religion or culture, but they have to adhere to basic tenets of democracy, i.e. strict separation of church and state, adherence to the democratic rules of the state they live in and adherence to basic human rights. Oh, and learning the local language would help as well. No more death fatwas, honor killings or forced marriages. Furthemore, we can work through education on our side of the bargain. Education means in the literal sense: children have to be taught that just because somebody has a different religion, he isn´t necessarily bad. They have to be taught the basics of islam, just like they have to be taught the basics of christianity, judaism, buddhism, atheism, agnosticism etc.. Grown-ups should be better informed about Turkey and the turkish culture. Information is the best weapon against racism and prejudice. Governments will actually have to take steps to insure that this is done.
The turks on their side have to open up to european political culture (like I said, strict separation of state and religion, democracy, rule of law, human rights etc.) and they still have a ways to go in that respect, eventhough they have made progress.
Needless to say this will take an enormously long time. The ten years projected will barely be enough.
b. The greek-turkish problem and Cyprus:
This is the other great hitch. As some greek and turkish posters on this site demonstrated, resentment is still running high on both sides. Both governments are making efforts in this respect, but don´t forget that this dispute has been going on, oh well, I suppose since antiquity. As Stephania put it, one can´t expect the two states to suddenly join in neighbourly fun. Plus, the greek population are mostly greek orthodox christians. That´s about as hard-line christian as you can get (except if you´re the new pope in Rome, of course ;-)). Cultural and historical differences are very, very pronounced between the two states, and that´s a massive problem, since they share a border. Cyprus is just another aspect of this problem, albeit a particularly virulent one. I don´t know how yet, but before Turkey joins, this will have to be cleared up. A lot of work for EU diplomatic mediators, I should think.
c. Economics: always a favorite of those against having new states join the EU: cheap labor, supposedly siphoning off jobs from central european states, and probably european subsidies in several sectors of the economy. Well, I´m no economist, but from what I hear, time is the crucial element again in this instance: Turkey has to be brought up to speed economically. I think this is workable, though. Turkey has ten years to get up to speed, and it worked for the baltic states, Poland, Czechia, Slovakia and Slovenia. No reason why it shouldn´t work for Turkey.
Well, to sum it up, it´ll take a long time before Turkey can actually join up, but I think we should give them a chance. No guarantees, though; before the problems named above are not solved, Turkey should not be allowed to join.

Ali Ozturk, Turkey

Many anti-Turkish comments here are totaly funny. If you guys really oppose turkish membership, you need to offer geniune reasons.
I trully respects those who oppose Turkish membership. But let's do it in an "educated and scientific" manner. Like not use our hateful emotions.
I see that today Europe is treating Turkey the way Germany was treated post WW1. Unlike Germany of that time Turkey did not even start and lost a war today.
If an "Middle Age like Christian mentality" controls European decision making in EU (and the memeber countries), EU has much more to loose in this game than Turkey, mainly its integrity as a secular institution. If Turks are to be denied the membership for so called "culturel" and "religious" reasons, shame on EU then.

f.Langelier, UK

on that subject...shall we ask the opinion of political prisoners and opponents that have perished in the hands of their tormentors or would the survivors of that abominably oppressive regime be able to speak when their tongues have been cut off in order to feed the dogs? it's NO...not for a million years.

Tom Cole, UK/Luxembourg

Turkey should not join the EU. Omly 1% of Turkey is geographically in Europe. 90% of Turkey's population live in the asian part of the country too. We wouldn't be having this debate if this weren't the case.
I'm sure most citizens of the current EU of 25 would have no problem with Bosnia joining the EU and Bosnia is a Muslim country but guess what, Bosnia is actually in Europe, whereas Turkey isn't!!!
The Union is called the "EUROPEAN Union" for a good reason as it was and only is intended for EUROPEAN countries.
Would the EU allow Israel to join? No!
Morocco? No!
Lebanon? No!
Why? Because none of the above, like Turkey, is geographically or populationwise in Europe!
Tom Cole

Oktay, Turkey

To Ross,
I am a Turkish guy and I am not depends to any religion. I visited most of the European countries for many times and I have many relations with European people. I have not any problem with any of them. But I didn‚t like to walk on the street, because of disturbed looks. I never think to live these countries. Most of the Turkish people have same thinking with me. Also I can not see any advantage to Turkey‚s entering to EU.
1) I have only one wife; also all of the people who I know have one wife. Polygamy is not common in Turkey. Do you know that how often polygamy in France, might be more than Turkey. So polygamy is not an issue for entering to EU.
2) Suppose that all of the members will agree.
3) This is the rule of democracy. Don‚t think that members of Europe Parliament of a country are not a block. There will be some groups from every country and these groups take the decision.
4) I don‚t know who saw on the streets of Ankara and Istanbul more than 70% of women have their scarfs on their heads, there is more less and why are you against the scarfs?
5) EU should decide the size of the union. Why speaking French is an advantage? This is a French nationalism.
6) Turkey stayed with EU against USA in the Iraq war.
7) You can not protect yourself against terror by refusing Turkey this si sickness mind.
8) Turks already installed in Europe departed from Turkey 30-40 years ago. Most of them from far villages, average Turkish people preferred to stay in Turkey. Immigrants have faced with cultural shock. They have need social education unfortunately neither Turkey nor France made this.
I think you are still live in history. If ottomans wanted to convert Islam, you can not find any Christian in Balkanise.
Why Turks should assimilated. EU is not consisting of French or French spoken people. Every country should keep their culture.
Europeans thinks that if Turkey entered to EU, 70 million Turks will move to Europe. May be 2-3 million people will move to Europe at the beginning but most of them will turn to Turkey.
There is not any friendship between countries. There is some partnership relations between countries if this creates benefit to both countries. Some countries are thinking that EU will be powerful with Turkey. This is why of supporting Turkey‚s membership. If you look the demography of the 2025 and 2050, Europe will be country of old people. Number of retired people will too much more than number of working people. Europe need well educated young people to working force. 20 years later, young Turkish people will working for old European people‚s salary or join army to save them. Why will Turkey do this if EU is not agree to enter Turkey now?


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