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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Michel Bastian, France

To Oktay:
> But I didn∫t like to walk on the street, because of disturbed looks. I never think to live these countries.
I don´t know which countries you´ve been to, but if you come to western Germany, you won´t get too many disturbed looks, even if you dress the part of a traditionalist muslim turk. Eastern Germany might be more of a problem in some parts (though not everywhere).
> 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.
Legal polygamy would be a problem, but I´m pretty sure turkish law forbids polygamy. I know some traditionalist turks, mainly in Anatolia, still practice it, but as far as I know, it´s actually illegal. However, turkish authorities should do more to enforce the law in this respect, even in the more remote areas of Anatolia. The same goes for forced marriages an honor killings of girls who have "disgraced the family" by refusing arranged marriages or by extra-marital pregnancies etc..
BTW, there is no legal polygamy in France. Again, some immigrant muslims of arab origin might still practice it, but I´m pretty sure if there are any, it´s a very, very small minority, and it is definitely not recognised by the state.
> 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.
Yes, true.
> 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?
I´m not against it. Women should be allowed to wear scarves if they want to. They shouldn´t be forced to wear it, but that´s another topic. Problems arise when the scarf, like the christian cross or any other religious item is worn by representatives of the state. The state must be impartial. It may not support one religion over the other. Therefore, any or no religious symbol should be banned from state activity. This isn´t restricted to scarves. It also means no crosses (in schools, for example), no priests or nuns in religious clothing as teachers (if they want to teach, they can do so in civilian clothing) etc. etc. I repeat: this goes for ANY religion, not just islam. If you want to ban religious symbols, you have to ban all of them, or else you have to admit all of them. You can´t ban just one of them and leave the others.
> 5) EU should decide the size of the union. Why speaking French is an advantage? This is a French nationalism.
Actually, French is one of the official working languages of the EU. So are ALL the other languages. So if Turkey joins, turkish officials will have the right to communicate in their own language with other EU officials. That´s why the EU has whole legions of translators, since every document has to be translated in 20 different languages. There are discussions over instituting a common working language, but this issue is far from being resolved.
6) Turkey stayed with EU against USA in the Iraq war.
No, Turkey sided with France and Germany against the US and Britain. I´m not sure about the reasons, but I have a hunch it had nothing to do with trying to join the EU.
7) You can not protect yourself against terror by refusing Turkey this si sickness mind.
Yes, true. Terrorist activities have nothing to do with Turkey joining the EU. It´s quite the contrary, actually. If Turkey is not allowed to join, this will foster resentment among the turkish population, and in turn it might lead to a resurgence of islamist extremism.
> 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.
Quite true. Neither has Germany made sufficient efforts towards integration. This problem has to be tackled very soon.
> I think you are still live in history. If ottomans wanted to convert Islam, you can not find any Christian in Balkanise.
Well, we shouldn´t concentrate on history too much. If we do, this will only divide us further.
> Why Turks should assimilated. EU is not consisting of French or French spoken people. Every country should keep their culture.
Exactly. That´s the point of the EU.
> 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.
Yes, true. This is a myth commonly used by eurosceptics against any country joining the EU: we´ll be swamped by millions of immigrants. Experience shows that this problem isn´t as big as it´s made out to be. Actually, I doubt that many more turks would emigrate into EU states than before. If Turkey´s economy starts picking up, they won´t have any reason to leave. After all, there is a reason why we Europeans go to Turkey for our holidays and not the other way round ;-).
> 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.
Good point, though I doubt that if Turkey joins, Europe´s demographic problem will just dissapear.

Osvaldo Brasao, Portugal

The European Union is not a duplicate of the United Nations. There are friends, and there is family. You do not live with your friends. Not for long, at least. It is not stable. In fact, even based on strong bonds, many families become a failure.Personally, it is hard to me to find turkish culture closer to my own than India's, New Zealand's or Brasilian culture. Actually, New Zealand is much closer. Ukraine is both similar and geographically adjacent. It is a thousand times more justifiable candidate.Nor Turkey does need the European Union membership (1), nor the European Union needs Turkey as a member (2).
1 - When it comes to democracy, Nordic countries, Canada and New Zealand are much above others. (None of these countries has a big population. Only Canada, with thirty-something million people, has not a small population. However, Canada is the second largest country.) Elsewhere on earth, we have basically plutocracy, cleptocarcy and real hard bureaucracy. In the largest countries of the EU, we have a strong plutocratic tendency. (Let me ask you where PM Blair got the stuff to buy his new million-pound London house)
2 - Europeans still know how to make babies and weapons, thank you very much.Ask yourselves, are most Europeans willing to accept Turkey as the most influential country in Europe - due to its high and rising demographic census? Who will pay for that? Remember the image made by Niall Ferguson of the EU being a cookery based on German gravy (their hard-earned money).Even so, it may happen than Turkey does enter the EU. A wave of immigration will not follow, at least immediately. However, a strong reaction will take place. A group of core countries - a subset made by the original 6 countries, plus Spain, or something not far from it - will make a tighter association.The Club called European Union will become less and less meaningfull. It will be scavanged from its center. It is certainly risky. I would prefer a safer path, one wich starts by not accepting Turkey.There are no miracles, we do not arrive to a stable solution after many trials and errors. Even if the solution is stable, it does not mean pleasant, at least for the generations born and raised in the previous configuration. May be that new configuration - the association of core-states - is the best geopolitical solution. Who knows?

Paul Heffernan, Ireland

Turkey should eventually become a member of the European Union. This should be determined by two criteria - one, Turkey becoming an open pluralist democracy and, two, Turkish people deciding they favour membership.
The main reason why I would be in favour is because Turkey's entry would be a counter agrument to the idea that there are simplistic cultural 'blocs' or civilisations. This theory informs much of our understanding of cultural relations but the idea that cultures exist and have developed independently is absurd. Democracy isn't a 'European' value. It is a value which the countries which make up the European Union are committed to but in no way is it their sole preserve.
The argument can also be made that the EU needs to become more relevant and democratic in a participatory rather than bureaucratic - representative sense. Anyone who looks at Turkey's history will also see that the Ottoman Empire gave a privileged position to Muslims and the people who became what we now see as ethnically 'Turkish' but national and other religious cultures were able to preserve their identity as forced conversion to Islam was never practised. There were economic reasons for this policy but at a time when we worry about EU centralisation it is just possible that we could learn something from other cultures.
It's also possible to speculate that an EU orientated Turkey and an EU which tries to reinvent itself would represent a real alternative to US dominated cultural hegemony. Turkey needs to reform but as another contributor has written, Spain transformed itself after Franco. It will only do so when the door is open and genuine cultural dialogue is entered into. Amy arguments that Turkey isn't 'European' are really missing the point.

Daire, Irish

I have the advantage of having lived in Istanbul for six years, and of having lived in a few different European cities, amongst them Brussels. I myself am Irish. Without a doubt I can say that Turkey should never join the EU, be given some sort of "special relationship" yes, but never become a fully fledged member. Ataturk was a great man, and considering all the things he done, I think he was probably the best leader of any country in the 20th century. For all his westernizing attempts, he and those who followed him could not change the basic fact that Turkey is NOT a European country. Yes if one visited Istanbul you might think it is European enough, there's even a large part of the city designed by European architechts. However, as is the case with all principal cities, and even more so with Istanbul, it is not a representitive of the country as a whole. Islam is still a major part of life for many parts of the country, and despite the liberals attempts, it is becoming more powerful. Geography is another reason. Yes it does matter that Turkey borders Iraq, Syria, etc. There are many in Ireland, France and so on who are sceptical enough of the EU already, and dont know much if anything about the countries that make up the EU's borders. If those borders were to shift even further into Asia minor then many would call for their countries to leave the EU and would be justified, as it would no longer be deserving of the E in EU. The simple fact that Turkey would be the biggest member is another very obvious reason. There is no way that anybody would accept Turkey being the most powerful member. Membership is so far off at present, that by the time it was even near to happening (if it even does which I sincerely doubt) then I'm quite sure there would be a demand for a new EU, like some in the original six are already talking about. To the Turks, you just have to accept that you are not European, by race, religion, or history. Living a westernised life doesnt mean you are European.

Tristan, Turkey

The European Union should definitely include only European countries, other countries like Turkey, Morocco, Tunisia should think thnk about starting their own Union. which could be may be the Afro-eurasian union because if North Africa, Middle-east and Gulf countries like Emirates, Qatar stand together as a Union they could definitely do well.

Nancy, Greek


Thalia, France

TURKEY has to forget to join to EU :)

Ali Ozturk, Turkey

Today Turkey is becoming a country that rule of law is being increasingly important.
It is no worse than, when Spain, Greece or Portugal had joined to the Union.
Torture is no longer an institutionalized behavior in Turkey as described by EU reports. It seldom occurs just like in Spain, Germany, or the USA.
It is relatively poor comparing to Germany, yes...
But in comparison to Bulgaria, or Romania, Turkey is a rich country.
Any deficiency that is found in Turkey exists is at least one of the countries that is being accepted to the Union today.
Is Cyprus a part of Continental Europe? With a 50 miles distance to Lebanon, I don't think so...Like it or not, Turkish culture is part of the Balkan culture. 500 years of Turkish presence failed to be eradicated by killing 300,000 Muslims of Bosnia (when our democratic, and „human rights loving‰ EU states watch it happening between 1993-1996)
The ONLY unique difference that Turkey has to the Union members is the RELIGION...
Let's be honest and say that „we don't like Turkey in EU, because Turkey is Muslim"
I see that we see a POST-MODERN FASICM rising in the EU with Turkey‚s EU membership being used as a stepping stone.
I will not be surprised if the conservative, nationalist, or racist politicians of the EU countries utilized Turkey to get populist votes.

bernard, Germany/Poland

The situation in the EU is at present hard enough what poses the serious threat to the future of the Community as a whole.The citizens of the core states of the community are simply fed up with politicians`declarations which do not reflect the everyday reality.
The reality is that not only the recent expansion but also simultaneous centralisation plans(constitution) have made the grassroots not particularly eager for new european projects.
Among the european leaders there is nobody who dares to say
that the implementation of euro brought many negative side-effects.
The leading economies of the eurozone are in stagnation
the unemployment is high what fuels the mood of lack of
The people in the "Old Europe" scare also "wage-dumping"
effect caused by a free movement of labour forces within
the community.
Do for example the Britons are really keen to finance the
costs of Turkey membership?
Many Turks have been living in Europe for generations, frequently in a paralel society to the mainstream.
In order to prevent their identity they stick to the their values of faith and tradition.
They are probably socially more modern than their relatives in a homeland, but I am not sure whether they really accept modern occidental values.
The Turkey will be the same Turkey within or outside the

K Hussain, United Kingdom

There are many interesting and constructive views expressed in this debate. However there are also some misconceptions which are repeated. The Turkish government and military are totally anti-Islamic, decades of brutal suppression of religious freedom, systematic denial of access to education for men and women who have any kind of Islamic leaning has insured that the middle classes / ruling classes are largely Muslim by name only! Turkey today suppresses the peoples right to practice religion more than China and the old soviet union. Turkey has also been described as a 'moderate - democratic', Muslim country. I would prefer to call it a 'Fanatical Secular country', ruled by Secular 'Mullahs' who are as fanatical in removing women‚s right to cover their heads as are the Ayatollahs of Iran in forcing women to cover their heads. If you wish to point to a moderate Muslim country, Malaysia may be a far better example.
The old rulers of Turkey - (Caliphs) failed because they failed to see the changes that were happening in Europe, they also failed to 'care' about the people of Turkey.
The modern rulers of Turkey - (Secular Kemalite Mullahs) are also about to lead the people of Turkey into another low point in their history, by failing to realise how the Asian economies are prospering and carving out a niche for themselves in the modern world, without being part of any 'club'. Turkey should stay out of Europe and instead free its people and let them have greater democracy, it should now look towards the east (not the middle east) and take its lessons from there. This new century belongs to the East not to Europe or America.

dave, england

i think its a disgrace, Turkey are not even in europe

Jan, Poland

To Ali Ozturk, you are giving rather false facts. First Bulgaria and Romania comparing to Turkey have higher level of GDP. Well maybe Isanbul is very developed city, but eastern Turkey is very very diferent.
Concerning Facism, I heard several months ago that Mein Kampf is bestseller in Turkey not in Europe. Whereas Germany admited crimes they did, Turkey still is refusing to recognize Armenian genocide.
Rule of law - is this rule of law to cancel free association of Kurdish teachers counting 200,000 members, trying to teach in their mother tounge.
Finally this anti-musim accusiation are really funny. There lives 20 mln of Muslims in Europe. How many Christians left in Turkey, and why Chtristian churches cannot have official religious status, religious schools as Muslim have in Europe. I also read works of reaserches from Jagiellonian University where they mention evidences of pushing Christians to change their name into Turkish one. It is Muslims' role to prove their tollerance not Europe's.

Josh, Portugal

Eu definitely needs a break from enlargement but the time frame turkey is given is by far is enough. Turkey should join the eu and the reasons are:
1. To prove that we are no Christian club and we can diversify our selves. It is no doubt that the Turks need a mentality change and changing mentality is very hard. But membership will further help with the positive change in thought
2. The Continent can make its first step to find and see its boarders from the beginning of the creation of the European continent its boarders has always been unclear just look at the atlases of countries for instance a British atlas shows turkey in Europe along with Georgia, Azerbaijan. A French atlas shows it as Asian a Russian as European a Swedish as Asian the us see it as European and Latin America well most of it as Asian its location has always been unclear saying turkey has no European history is a clear sign of not knowing what you are talking about most of turkey in fact was European dating from ancient history when the Greeks territory was on the hole frontier of the Mediterranean and considering the black sea is European in fact makes turkey 60% in Europe 30% in Asia.
3.I can at least speak for my self when I say if turkey was to obtain membership now I would be against it considering it boarders the most instable places on the earth come on not only will our boarders be Syria , Iraq AND Iran but the caucuses
this is an issue that‚s needs stabilization but with turkey join the club a creation of great influence in these areas will be obtain and influence is something we can protect ourselves with
4. With turkey security of growth in the eu will be insured considering our aging population something impossible to ignore
5. Turkey being the most influential country is stupid to say yes it will probably have the greatest population by then but a core Europe will insure this as impossible as these countries and its population would have a common view.
6 Denying this country would be foolish when it joins we would be a super state and that status is very attractive we will no longer be pushed around by the US or Russia but we will push.

Raluca, Romania

i must say i've read here the funniest thing in a long time:Israel practices the freedom of religion!!!!!!!!!!!! i had a good laugh on that.they live in peace with the palestinians and they don't want to exterminate them,nooooooooo, not at all,they just like strolling with bulldozers into their homes-just for fun!
does someone here know how Israel was born?has anyone heard of the sionist move?
But that's another matter...we are here to discuss Turkey.
Before knowing a turkish person i shared your prejudices-i thought they had many wifes, women had to wear scarfs, that women aren't allowed to work, that there isn't any kind of democracy...that they are extremists.
i was wrong with everything, and í'm talking from experience not like most of you-"from books".(or tv)-don't judge and if you do so be sure you know what you are talking about, and here are some who just like to speak not taking into consideration if what they say is real...
and by the way-the constitution of Turkey states that men can have only one wife ...
when you'll discuss about Romania joining EU i would like to say my opinion-i know that many Americans don't even know where Romania is and I also know that people fear what they don't understand or know.

Yilmaz Gumus, Turkey

I read some commnents in here.I think that many europian have not sufficient imformation about Turkey yet. Most of them are prejudiced against to Turkey because of lacking information and viwing of politics.

In todays many Turkish want to join EU because they beleave that thanks to EU, democracy and human rights can be developed fastly in their country. On the opposite most Europian opinions , most turkish have not any aim to immigrate to Germany , France or another countries after become membership to Eu. Shortly I can express , Turkish people want join to EU for more democracy and more human rigts !
In this point , many europian who have negative ideas concerning Turkey's membership to EU, should give answer under the questions.
1- are your opinions and evaluations concerning Turkey's membership to Eu based on reality or prejudiced unsufficient imformation ?
2- do you want to created new political blocks ( there can be sorts bloks such as RUSIA - TURKEY , RUSIA - TURKEY - IRAN, RUSIA - TURKEY - IRAN - CHINE - INDIA ...) at future world against EU.
3- Can you wholly depend yours economic power against these blocks at future?
4- In your opinions , how many years EU can manage its efficient role and resist against to these bloks if EU close to doors other countries and culture while in todays communication is rapidly increasing between the many different societies ( we are not living a world of 30 years ago )?
5- If you maintain closed the doors of EU against to other countries , do you have any offers to set up peace on Balkan and Kafkas countries ( without to peace on Balkan and Kafkas , Europe never become rest. please be careful , the power lines are for industries of Europe passing on Kafkas and Balkans. The pewer sources will be more critical at future ! ) ?
6- what can should be done and prevented against to raising violance and terrorism in the world ( be careful, Turkey is one secular country ruled by democracy in the Islam countries. And also Turkish society is a best example to others to set up democracy )?
Actually could have been asked more questions...
In my opinion , EU should be open to other georaphic parts and different cultures. This will give much power to EU's spirit.I think that Europians need still learn new things from other culture.Unfortunatly most of them are unnoticed this. If tommorrow's EU wanted to be better and more power, MUST BE ACCEPTED TURKEY TO EU. Because Turkey will bring to EU fresh power, spirit and fasten to Middle Asia ( Turkey is playing very big role and having good relations with Middle Asia Countries because all these countries have relations with Turkey point of view history, cultural and languages...)EU can only reach to sources on Middle Asia by TURKEY
After all ; EU should not lose Turkey which can bring and supply countless advantages to EU and its socities. If EU exclude Turkey , it will be very critical mistake for future of Europe.
My advises are for Europians; should never make decision immediatley on Turkey because Turkey is not a common country. should try to get and search truth and without prejudice information on Turkish society ! if possible, at least once visit to Turkey to see people , culture and its history power. I think that it can help you to form your own healty opinions on subjetc of Turkey membership of EU.

Susan Starke, USA

Many of the above comments are based on unexamined yet contradictory assumptions about what it means to be "European." If the EU were clear about its own reason for being and had a coherent ideology, I doubt that such confusion would reign. The USA has officially supported Turkey's EU accession all along (regardless of presidential administration). If you look at Western literature and mythology, Turkey (Asia Minor) is absolutely central (Trojan War, Aeneas the mythical founder of Rome as a Turkish refugee, etc.). As an American, I find it ironic that the Ottoman Empire, once the great "Other" for Europe, has been replaced by a new Great Satan (USA). Now the old "Other" is a candidate for joining the European club, but the Europeans don't know what to do about it.

Fidan, Azerbaijan

In my point of view EU citizens who oppose Turkey's entry are ignorant of historical, social, economic and legal facts about Turkey, and are most importantly ignorant of where their own roots and futures lie. Turkey today is an embodiment of ancient Greece, Rome, Sumerian, Hittite, Mesopotamian and Ottoman civilizations the very fabric which makes up the crux of European and even US political and social institutions today. I also want to remind you that Turkey was not initially Muslim, only after the arab khalifat conquered them they became muslim, before they were Zoroastors.
Also the admission of Turkey would send a clear signal that Christianity is neither the only religion in Europe, nor the one that has been practiced the longest. It would be a clear sign of religious tolerance and acceptance, and I believe that to be something which, in today's world, is vitally important. Another important factor is that Turkey could act as a diplomatic bridge between Europe and Eurasia- Middle East and should be given a chance to joint the EU.

M S Sheik, UK

Some ten years ago in Brussels at a regular information sessions an EMP answered my question about the criteria for EU membership with the following words: EU is a Christian union ......
The new Pope has also asserted that the EU is a Christian group and advised Muslims to form their own Union. I am for it. I wish they did so without loss of any more time. How the world, the Christian world would react to the thought anyone can guess.
Oktay and others why are you ashamed of polygamy? Why are you on the defensive about this issue?
Personally I am happy with one wife and I would advise others too very strongly to avoid polygamy. But if they are not satisfied with one wife then they should marry again rather than cheat, rob and behave like animals.
Let me explain what I mean by the terms I have used. When you sleep with a women outside your marriage you CHEAT on your wife. When you produce children this way and take no responsibility for them you ROB the society of their resources, as the society then has to bring up those children. In abandoning the illegitimate children you hurt the society as those children grow in incomplete or completely unrelated homes and misfits. You behave like ANIMALS when you leave the female you had intercourse with and disappear to leave her to look after your child or in many instances even she abandons the child with consequential problems for the society and the child too. By the way most women who leave their babies under the circumstances described above also suffer from guilt complex throught their lives.
Men who sleep with women outside their marriage are dishonest polygamist.Now do you like honest polygamist or a dishonest polygamist?

Claudiu, Romania

I'm Romanian , And I say that turkey or Greece are EU material, they do not try to go anywhere..they do not try to be civil, they are scarey and could harm. And i think they will not attempt to be EU, unlike Romania, Working hard to suceed. Somone who wants to be somewhere has to want it bad, and if you do not work for it entirly, then you will not get it, bulgaria is a struggling nation and i respect them for there cooperation in joining the eu, but turkey is not quiet good enuph for another 10 years to join eu, and to support 10 years saying, be socialy developed, have some type of laws, and help eu in the fight v terrorism

Ross Gurung, France

To M S Sheik, UK,
I would not like to comment about the pertinent ideas of Mr. M S Sheik, UK. Only thing what perturbs me is, the women are just taken for a kicking ball, they are always at the disposal and 'bien vouloir' of the men regardless of their own personal opinions and personalities.
Turkey would obtain a ticket to the EU when Women were equal to Men in every aspect of everyday life.
I perceive that there is already Union of Arab countries Club. That is good for a start.
If you think that polygamy is an achievement of humanity then why do not you introduce polyandry in the Muslim world? It works remarkably well in the south west of China and in some remote belts of Tibet!

Pere Julia, Spain

Perhaps people can feel fear about Islam but the Turkish Republic was created on the basis of secularism and that's why religious extremism in Turkey is possibly smaller than elsewhere in western Europe.Turkey should join the EU as soon as it is ready - and so should all Balkan countries.

umut eren, Turkey

After reading some adverse ideas about Turkey's membership of E.U, I could not stop myself to join the debate. Firstly the fear of an Islamic Europe by repeating the some historical events which happened, at least 500 years ago, if its not much, is levity and out of sense. In Turkey, majority of the people admire and want to be a part of Europe because of its secular, democratic, and working system but not to disseminate the religion or to try to conquer it. In addition, there are not a big number of people who are waiting to flow to the Europe. Turkey‚s economy is getting better and at the end of the membership period which is assumed as 10 -15 years, it would be much better than the present situation. Especially about the arguments related with the map of turkey and whether it is in the Europe continent is by the exact meaning of the word "nonsense". To accept the Cyprus which is located in the Mediterranean sea having even no nexus with the Europe continent, but not!
to accept Turkey which has a very big part of it in the Europe (which is bigger than many of European countries by the mean of width of the territory) can not be given as a reason to refuse it.

Khober, England

when so many other countries have recently been admitted to EU then why Turkey can not be admitted.

Luc, Belgium

To save the EU, we should say No to Turkey.
1. Almost everyone agreed with the re-unification of East and West Germany. Although the economic costs (increased interest rates, reduced growth, increased unemployment, spiralling debt) were huge. Letting Turkey join would be doing the same but then on a much bigger, in fact European, scale. The GDP per capita of Turkey is roughly 1/6th to 1/7th of the EU average. Simply by moving to a western country and living on welfare Turks would quadruple their income. Who could blame them? The costs of rising umemployment, social welfare and increased housing cost would certainly outweigh the benefits. Why not agree to a mutually beneficial agreement as we have with for instance Norway and Switzerland?
2. If we allow in Turkey then how can we refuse Marocco, Algeria, Egypt and other countries?
3. The decision to start the accession process was taken in 1999. 2 years after most EU government voted against it. What had changed in the meantime? US pressure. The USA will achieve a triple whammy in supporting Turkish accession : 1) weaken the EU to a UN-style powerless body 2)gaining a permanent foothold in a grateful Turkey , in order to have easier military access to the Middle-East 3) having their own very grateful partner sitting at the EU negotiations table with the most votes of all EU members. My question is : when will Mexico join the USA? The american government nor its population would ever agree to that. So why are they asking us to accept something much more far reaching?
4. The EU currently currently already has 450 million people living in it. It started out with a core group of 6 nations and now has ballooned to an almost uncontrollable but very invasive mammoth. Shouldn't we first try to digest the current enlargment? In my honest opinion, that is a huge task but of the utmost importance. So we should concentrate on that first.
5. The strongest argument in favour of Turkey joining seems to be 'we have to show there is no clash of cultures'. In most EU countries there are serious problems of integration and social discontent. Those problems have been here over the decades and only seem to get worse. Why would increasing the scope of the problem tenfold make it easier to find a solution? First solve the current problems instead of taking on new ones, I would say.
6. Turkey refuses to recognise the sovereignty of Cyprus, one of the member states of the EU. Isn't recognising the current members of an organization you want to join one of the obvious preconditions of any candidacy?
7. Turkey is still denying the Armenian genocide. Is the EU parliament really the place for negationists?
8. If the accession talks with Turkey fail then what will be the backlash? Will they keep out European tourists? What would fundamentally change? To me it seems to be that Turkey has a much bigger interest in close ties with the EU than the other way round.
9. Someone please explain to me what is wrong with a mutually beneficial agreement as we have with Switzerland and Norway? Norway and Switzerland seems to prosper under it.

Elie Ozyan, U.S.

turks are confused about what culture they belong to. for a thousand years they have changed their alphabet three times first using their central asian dialect then to arabic and now to latin.they copied the german alphabet when they were allies in WW1 even using the umlaut. you want to belong in europe. you are NOT european and you will never be. I've never seen so much ass kissing in my life every time I see erdogan or gul on t.v they are in europe (negotiating"begging". Armenians are one of the first europeans and they will be in the E.U .you opened your archives about the Armenian question and how we say you killed us. thats's why our archives are closed because you and I know that 2.5 million turks and azeris were killed by armenians . we Armenians are playing this game so well, we laugh at you turkeys when ever you get rejected. who is behind all this, Armenians.we will be in the E.U. ARMENIAN POWER

Jean-Baptiste Biard, France/EU

I say no.
The Turkish government is making us a great honor by insisting to enter the EU, and the EU can be proud of the appeal it creates abroad. Just look at a map and consider how valuable Turkey is from a strategic standpoint. Nato did and Turkey joined Nato. It is close from the oilfields too.
But I plainly endorse Rafael Jacko's (UK) comments. Turkey EU membership and the progress toward democracy are unrelated matters. We promote democracy because we believe in it, because we believe that it is the better system that has been found until now, and Turks would be better of if they were living in a true democracy. No link with EU membership. The same reasoning goes for all "philosophical" arguments. We believe in the separation of Church and state (Greece excepted, this will change), we believe men and women are equals in rights and dignity, we do not accept torture, nor death penalty, nor minority oppression, illegal use of force (UK and Poland excepted when it's US cooked) and so on. Those are our values. We invite every people in the world to think of it and adopt those values if they choose, for _their_ sake, because we believe in them, we believe they are good for humanity, islamic countries included. EU membership is not a carrot to achieve implement them. Th!
ose are prerequisite once the country has been invited, and the invitation may come only when it is issued by the European people, not by their US comrades nor by their Big Greedy EU Corporations.
Besides, I do confirm many Turkish people in Paris do _not_ want to become recognised as French by the "old" French people. They are neither integrated, nor do they want it, that is what all those headscarves say: "I won't mix" or, even more ominously, "my daughter/sister is _not_ for you, she's under my rule".
Would I fight for Turkey? Not as I would fight for the sake of Germany or even for the UK. And Turkey is way too close to the middle East to throw away this possibility.
Would I worry for my daughter if she were to mary a Turk? Definitely more than if she had choosen a Polish plumber.Turkey should not expect to join the EU as long as Turks are not sincerely recognised by EU people as Europeans. Turkey blackmails us while it oppresses the Kurds, occupies Northern Cyprus and considers Armenian genocide as a non-existent event. We do not share the same culture by wide margins.
Improving ties, increasing exchanges, building the United Nations of Europe & the Mediterean Sea, why not ? Strengthenning the existing alliances, sure ! But I am not (yet) ready to consider Turks nor Morocans nor Algerians as my felow citizens of Europe. And where would it stop ? China is not so far, after all, one can even get there by foot ! And what a magnificent wokforce and strategical position !
Let us strehghten the existing EU first, there is much to be done. Our governments have no mandate to impose Turkish membership on us, nor have they ever had. We are not even sure the Turks would love it: I personnaly know some Turks in Paris who are balking at the idea!

Francisco R.Riveiro, Spain

I think that before the integration of Turhey in Europe, first of all Turkey have to be in Europe, and more of 95% of his territory it isn´t. Second, have to be a european mentality, go there and said me if the freedom of press , of women, of minorities and of religion are the same that in european countries. Third, have to said pardon for the genocide of armenian people , a cristian country. Fourth, why first Turkey and not Russia, It´s more european Turkey that Russia ? Do you want help democracy ?, help Russia first, or Bielorussia, or Ukrania .
Europe have a lot of problems with the new members and will take a lot of time to resolve all. The movement of nazis in Letonia among others and half of the population in baltic countries without rights becouse they speak russian language, what about european human rights ? Where are their defenders ? Are more important whales that persons in Estonia, Letonia and Lituania ( spanish names of Baltic countries )?
The reality is that Unites States desire that Turkey go into Europe, because in that way get several things, a weaker Europe and another knock against Russia . May be that also back them Israel interests, if Turkey in Europe, why not Israel ?
Read that the people that know Turkey said, greek citizens, cyprus citizens, kurdish citizens and people that live close to muslim countries and learn, listen and learn. It´s very easy speak about the turkish from Michigan, Mejico or Norway.
The turkish helped to the germans in the WWI and almost in the WWII, the victory of Stalingrad stop them to go into the war. The cruelity of them is notorius, ask the armenian , grek or kurdish people, and I speak only in the XX century, if I speak about past centuries the result would be worst. Turkey is the paradigma of an aggresive muslim country and while he remains muslim - before 1453 was cristian - will be dangerous. See the film " America, America", of Elia Kazan, ask how many new cristian churches have been builded last year ? And how they are with the cristian people that remain in the country ?
Atartuk try to do of Turkey a modern country but it takes a lot of time, and still it´s not a country with european standars, and worst with european mentality, you can put money in a country but how change their mentality ?. To believe that if we open the door of Europe will be better is a very big mistake. Look to England today, muslim children educated in Europe are putting bombs.
Other, and desirable thing, it´s to make a special economic concert with them, but knowing who are them and who we are. The reality usually is uglier that fantasy.

Jorge Alonso, European

The EU has lost momentum, where are the jolly happy days of the early 90's gone? The economy may be a reason but it looks to me more like the python in „The Little Prince‰. Europe can not digest its last expansion. Of course this is what many wanted, especially in the UK. It is difficult to say how many in the UK, or why, see the EU as their enemy. An enemy that is more vulnerable from within than from outside. By taking in the UK and its poison pill, the clockwork machinery started crinching. The EU can hardly function as it is, not happy with one major Trojan horse from Albion we will have to deal with Turkey before any of the previous expansion is digested.
Who are we fooling? Is there a minimum common denominator in Europe? Many want Europe still more diluted, a corpse from which to feed their fears and enjoy the status of the empire that was and will never be again.

Thrasymachus, Greece

Milk and chocolate produce the velvety texture and pleasant taste of milk chocolate. On the other hand, a concoction of milk and vinegar is not favourable to any human pallate, for it produces emetic effects. By the same token, Turkey and Europe are incompatible opposites (like milk and vinegar) that will wreak havoc in the very social infrastructure of European countries. It is bad enough to have an incessant flow of non-europeans streaming into the continent, producing a motley mixture, which will eventually produce a U.S.-like non culture, exclusively dependent on materialistic consumption and holliwoodian forms of escapism. Let's all put our houses in order before extending hospitality to any more guests - especially guests with a dubious past.

ibrahim, Turkey

I think, the persons below who claims Turkiye is not part of Europe geographcally, must remember the Cyprus more closer than Turkiye to the geography only the reason for "non-membership o Turkey"...
EU is mostly a economic organization, especally for its function, and the economic condition of Turkiye must be the real criteria for its membership..

Murat, Japan

thank you very much all those informations . i guess i dont need to write anything after all ...
when i was read all those mind , i just cant believe it . I am turkish and i thought if turkey join the eu it will be best for all , but right now I DO NOT WANT TO JOIN EU.. we will see in 50 years who need who ..

Bo, Ireland

Many argue that Turkey should not be accepted, even if it meets the economic and democratic requirements, simply because it is not European.What do people mean when they say Turkey is not "European"?I can think of a few possibilities.
Firstly,do you have to look and sound a certain way to be European? Of course not.I am a white irishman and it doesn't make me any more or less European than a black German person. Most European languages share Indo-European roots, but Hungarian Basque and Lapp do not.
Secondly,do you have to believe in any particular God to be European?Of course not.The EU is a secular entity.Some people like to think Christianity still defines Europe, but i think the millions of European atheists,agnostics,jews,muslims etc would disagree.
Third, do you have to be from Europe, the GEOGRAPHICAL entity? This suggestion has more substance.Of course, the EU is a Union of countries from the European continent, as it was intended to be. BUT unlike Ireland or Portugal or Poland etc, the borders of "Europe" have never existed very clearly in the minds of the people of this continent, even academics. The best we can say is that Europe FADES out into Asia, ending somewhere in Russia,Ukraine and (yes) Turkey. Thus including Turkey does ARGUABLY violate SOME geographical element of the "European" Union.There is admittedly a (small) cost to including a developed and democratic Turkey.
What we need to ask is: does this COST of inclusion outweigh the potential BENEFITS of inclusion?I do not think so.As TGA argues, inclusion would send an important message to the European Muslims that (like it or not) will make up an ever larger portion of the EU's population in the future.It would also tell non-EU muslisms that the EU does not make value judgements based on religion - we deal with people based on the merits of their arguments rather than religion.Sam Huntington was eloquent but inaccurate.
MOST IMPORTANTLY, inclusion of a democratic and developed Turkey would be the greatest ever advertisement for "soft power",at least that I can think of. It would show the rest of the world (including,but NOT limited to, the US) that profound and progressive change can be induced via international diplomacy, incentives, patience and vision. And this view of International Relations is, to my mind, much more central to the "European" project than any geographical line on a map.

Paul Arrowsmith, UK

I believe that the heart of Turkey is, and should always be anchored within the heart of Europe.
Looking firstly at the basic facts, geographical and social, it is hard to dismiss Turkey's European credentials so quickly.
Firstly, 3% of Turkey or over 24,000sq km lies within mainland Europe. As does a substantail percentage of the population. Although the overwhelming majority of the country lies in Asia, this alone can not be justification for refusing entry to the EU. If it is the Cyprus could hot have qualified on geographic grades as it is clearly placed within the Middle East. Ironically Turks born in Istanbul have a greater right to call themselves European than any EU member from the UK, Ireland, Malta etc.
Socially Turkey is not so far removed from the social structures of other EU countries. True it is not like France or Germany, but then neither is Bulgaria or Portugal. The Turkish people and the Turkish government are taking brave steps forward to democratise thier country and institutions and this should be encourasged by the EU.
Often it is Turkey's record on Human Rights that is championed as the main reason they should be kept a arms lenght and enternally chastised and the 'uncivilised' neighbours. Human Rights in Turkey have been poor, and widely doucmented as so. It is hard for Turkey to hide from her vicious past. Now, bravely individuals and the new government adminsitered by Erdogan are making steps to start the painfulmprocess of self examination. This is nbot something many other nations can say of themselves. Should the UK be asked to leave the EU because of it's treamtent of pepople in its former colonies - India, South Africa or because of their involvement in Northern Ireland. Should the French be made to account for the attocities committed in Algeria?
The problem with the stance of some EU member states is that it is a weak disguise for Islamaphobia and the arrogance of the European who believes they can do no wrong and that Old Europe is somehow more advanced and civilised than countries to the East. For me this is the biggest problem, too often we ask want can Turkey learn from the EU, but the reality is waht can we learn from Turkey. Wer are asking a lot from Turkey and rightly so, but I wonder if we would be prepared to do what is we are asking them to do.
The EU has flirted with Turkish entry for 40 years, promising all along that eventaully the Turks would be welcome. To recind on this now would be not only riddiculous but also highly offensive. If Turkey meets the Copenhagen Criteria then it should be allowed to join and I believe wold be a prodcutive member of the EU. But whilst Turkey works hard to meet the entry criteia the EU must work hard to truly explain Turkey to its citizens. A lot of the No voters are ignorant of the reality, fed by opportunistic tabloid headlines. This is a good opportunity for us all to wise up and actually find things out for ourselves before we open our mouths. Good luck to Turkey, a long journey ahead, a journey which we should travel together.

Murat, Ankara

to ellie.
people here are argueing something serious. you should be in a hospital seeking help because you are mentally sick. 70 million turks in turkey and people say turkey is poor. Armenia? you made me laugh so loud! thank you thank you thank you.

Hakan, Turkey

Dear Friends which wrote their objectif minds at this form, I am half Kurdish and half Turkish citizen of Turkiye Cumhuriyeti. I am 37 years old and in 37 years long I have not seen such a small bad thing against to me from any other because of my nationality.
But I should say that I have many difficultys on the borders of EU. Because of color of my passport ( Turkish ) I have some difficulties to understand please tell us; Did you ever live in Turkey border, How did you get information about all, do Media in your country giving only true news about all other thinks, do you have any Turkish or Kurdish friends?
With respect of all subjectif EU citizens

Kemal Gül, Turkey

My dear europen friends,
I saw many of lies and racial minds about my country within the lines above. Particularly, it is clear that the greek and the cypriot writers are still full of hate and jealousy against Türkiye. You are the latest persons in the line when considered democracy and human rights. Firt of all, people who talk about democracy and human rights must ask to the greeks about the Turkish minority in western Thrace and the cypriots must ask some questions about the turkish military presence on the island: which was the first? turkish military presence or Greco-Cypriot genocide on turkish minority on island.
And one more word to the citizens of other european countries; I think you have very bad memories about your own histories, it is impossible to understand how do the people who are talking us about human rights easily forget examples such as french massacre on algeria, the jewish genocide, mass desctruction of local peoples of America etc.
Think whatever you want to think about my country. We do nor want to join in your europen racist union neither to become a part of european civilization. We have nothing to learn from you about democracy or human rights.

Matt, USA

Turkey should DEFINATELY not be let into the EU! Turkey is NOT a European country. They are a completely different culture. Letting Turkey into the EU spells disaster. First off, Turkey is a country with a population of about 70 million and with a birthrate which greatly excedes Germany (currently the most populace EU country). Once they exceed Germany, Turkey will have the majority vote; meaning that a non European country has the most influence in the EU. That just doesn't add up to me. Also, Turkey is very poor and would be another burden on the already struggling EU economy. But let's look at this is a more personal manner. If Turkey enters the EU, there will be immigrants flocking to all the corners of Europe with no restrictions (one of the reasons Norway stayed out the the EU) and some could possibly have terrorist ties. They will work for lower wages and take the jobs of Europeans. I studied in Germany for a very lengthy period of time and I know tha!
t the cultures already clash somewhat. Most of the Germans I met strongly disliked the Turks and I had to agree. They were rude, obnoxious, walked in gangs of no less than 5, made absurd comments and gestures and generally just terrorized the orderly population of Germany. Soon there will be mosques popping up everywhere and European children will have to learn about the Quran, Islam and learn the Turkish language in school. We all know that this will bring culture clashes and eventually the beautiful cultures of Europe will be overrun by Turkish influence. Make your own choice Europe but don't complain to America to get you out of trouble again.


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