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    Uthman's Avatar
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    Turkey is part of Europe. Fear keeps it out of the EU.

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    By Tariq Ramadan

    Sarkozy's argument won't wash. This great nation, a crucial link with the Muslim world, would be a major asset for the union.


    When on his recent visit to Turkey President Obama called for Turkish entry into the European Union, he put his finger on a strategic and cultural sore spot. The French president, Nicolas Sarkozy, speaking for the majority position in Europe, was quick to respond: Turkey may one day enjoy a privileged relationship with the EU, but full membership is out of the question. Turkey is not European – geographically or culturally.

    Interpretations of the US stance are numerous and contradictory, but they highlight deep tensions within Europe on the issue. Some believe the US is concerned primarily with securing access to the energy reserves of the Caspian basin; others suspect Washington of using Turkish alignment with American policy (by way of Nato) to exert pressure on its European allies; still others see an attempt to weaken Europe by placing a Turkish economic, demographic and cultural millstone around its neck.

    None of these hypotheses is wholly accurate or inaccurate. Nevertheless, they do reveal Europe's continuing contortions over its identity and its future. The Turkish question rarely figures in the foreground of European debate today, yet its spectre hovers over discussions of "European identity", "immigration" and the "Muslim question".

    Political parties that call for an increasingly narrow view of Europe are gaining ground. These parties promote a strictly Judeo-Christian perspective of European history, mistrust of Islam, repressive hardline immigration policies and reject a Turkey they claim is overpopulated and excessively Muslim.

    Europeans have become fearful. Economic crisis has brought with it calls for greater security and for protection of purchasing power, and from "foreigners" and "immigrants", who are seen as threatening financial stability and cultural homogeneity. Seen from this perspective, the Turkish question reveals both centripetal (a sense of "standing together" against outside threats) and centrifugal (a lack of shared strategic or foreign policy orientations) forces within the EU.

    The arguments that locate Turkey outside European history and geography cannot withstand analysis. For more than four centuries the Ottoman empire shared and shaped the political and strategic future of the continent. During the late 19th and early 20th century, it became the "sick man of Europe". Even today, Turkey's historical and economic influence continues to be substantial.

    No one is likely to be fooled by attempts to redraw the geographical boundaries of Europe for ideological or political purposes. If we were to apply the same criteria across the board, Cyprus would not be part of Europe. Such artificial distinctions ignore history, just as they ignore the realities of European society itself, where national origins, memories and cultures have long met and blended. Approximately 40% of Turkey's population is of European origin; millions of Turks have already acquired the nationality of a European country.

    We must look elsewhere for the real issues, and we must look them in the eye. Instead of being obsessed by the question of culture and religion, European leaders would be better advised to develop a forward-looking strategic vision. Given its close ties with Iran, Syria, Iraq and central Asia, Turkey simply cannot be ignored. Its economic and military clout should be integrated into a European policy based on good-neighbourly relations and stability in Asia and the Middle East.

    On two recent occasions the Turkish government has refused to bow to Washington, demonstrating a distinct capacity for independent action. Europe can hardly fault the US for its unilateral behaviour while failing to develop an autonomous foreign policy of its own. Where there should be a unified European voice, there is a discordant chorus. The US, China and India have no reason to fear European power. Divided, lacking a common policy, Europe succeeds only in working against itself.

    Meanwhile, commercial ties between Turkey and the European countries have continued to expand. Between 1990 and 2003, Turkish imports from Europe grew threefold, while exports quadrupled. Better trade management within the framework of an EU-wide economic policy should make these ties stronger and more competitive. The countries of Europe are facing an acute, long-term manpower shortage. Writing in internal EU publications, some specialists now argue the labour market will require an additional 15 million workers in the next 20 years. Europe needs immigration. Instead of adopting restrictive immigration policies that would criminalise both undocumented and legal immigrants, the EU should be moving toward realistic and responsible regulation. In this light Turkey, with its human resources, would prove a powerful ally.

    It is time for the countries of Europe to overcome their fear of Islam; time for them to stop turning Turkish EU membership into a cultural battleground. The only criteria to membership should be those of Copenhagen (1993) – and a European commission report (2004) mentioned that Turkey is very close to satisfying them. European politicians are ready to ignore their countries' long-term socioeconomic needs in order to respond to the short-term religious and cultural fears of their constituencies. Millions of women and men are already European and Muslim; Turkish EU membership would be nothing new, and present no dangers. Islam is, de facto, a European religion; culturally, politically and economically, Turkey forms an integral part of its future.

    We need courageous European politicians who will develop a new vision of Turkish-EU relations, who will remind their citizens that Turkey, by virtue of its economic power, geography, history and natural position as go-between with the "Muslim world", is a major asset for Europe and for its future. Instead of waiting until historical necessity forces the EU to incorporate Turkey, European statesmen should be working together to develop a clear, reasonable policy leading to Turkish membership – one that would respect political principles and recognise cultural and religious diversity. Welcoming Turkey into the EU would mean Europe would have to reconcile itself with its own principles: the principles it has all too often betrayed in practice.

    Source

    Tariq Ramadan is a Professor of Islamic Studies. He teaches at Oxford and at Erasmus University.
    Turkey is part of Europe. Fear keeps it out of the EU.


    "I spent thirty years learning manners, and I spent twenty years learning knowledge."

    ~ 'Abdullāh bin al-Mubārak (rahimahullah)

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    Uthman's Avatar
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    Re: Turkey is part of Europe. Fear keeps it out of the EU.

    Interesting article - I'd like to see what people have to say. There's just one part of the article which concerns me:
    Quote Originally Posted by Uthmān View Post
    Islam is, de facto, a European religion; culturally, politically and economically, Turkey forms an integral part of its future.
    What exactly does he mean by that?
    Turkey is part of Europe. Fear keeps it out of the EU.


    "I spent thirty years learning manners, and I spent twenty years learning knowledge."

    ~ 'Abdullāh bin al-Mubārak (rahimahullah)

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    Thinker's Avatar
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    Re: Turkey is part of Europe. Fear keeps it out of the EU.

    Lots of interesting questions; Is Turkey part of Europe? Is Islam a European religion?

    There are seven continents, Europe is one of them, I don’t know who defined the borders but whoever it was put Turkey in Asia not Europe.

    The question “Is Islam a European religion?” is nonsensical and so is any answer.

    The real question is – why does Turkey want to become a part of Europe?

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    Re: Turkey is part of Europe. Fear keeps it out of the EU.

    It could be advantageous for the EU if Turkey joins.

    Greater workforce since Turkey I think it is a growing population. Ease of travelling for vacations and hopefully better communications and stability in the Semitic world.

    The disadvantages I heard are immigrants. People fears immigrants will worsen the financial crisis in Europe; take away jobs and cultural clashes. In addition Turkey is a Muslim dominated country. Well I don't have to go any further explaining how some people fear Muslims and Islam.

    Though I'm not entirely sure about this topic. Whether Turkey should join or not.
    Last edited by GuestFellow; 08-08-2009 at 04:06 PM.
    Turkey is part of Europe. Fear keeps it out of the EU.

    I was looking at myself talking to myself and I realized this conversation...I was having with myself looking at myself was a conversation with myself that I needed to have with myself.

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    Re: Turkey is part of Europe. Fear keeps it out of the EU.

    Quote Originally Posted by Thinker View Post
    The real question is – why does Turkey want to become a part of Europe?
    I think Croatia and Yogoslav Republic of Macedonia want to join the EU too. I wonder how the EU would respond to that.
    Turkey is part of Europe. Fear keeps it out of the EU.

    I was looking at myself talking to myself and I realized this conversation...I was having with myself looking at myself was a conversation with myself that I needed to have with myself.

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    noorseeker's Avatar
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    Re: Turkey is part of Europe. Fear keeps it out of the EU.

    let everone join the e.u , one big happy family lol

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    Argamemnon's Avatar
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    Re: Turkey is part of Europe. Fear keeps it out of the EU.

    Turkey is by no means part of Europe. Not culturally, not in any other way. How do I know? Because I'm of Turkish origin and know my culture. Case closed/end of thread

    Even if some uf us deny it, we are undoubtedly a Middle Eastern country. If you don't believe me, go to Syria (or Lebanon) and tell me if they are alike or not!

    This is Istanbul: http://www.dkimages.com/discover/pre...0/50202539.JPG
    Last edited by Argamemnon; 08-08-2009 at 10:54 PM.

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    Re: Turkey is part of Europe. Fear keeps it out of the EU.

    Bosnia is part of europe isnt it - so Islam is already part of europe either people like it or not.

    Lets not even forget about spain and its Islamic history.......sicily also.

    If you look at the EU theres a hole in eastern europe. Switzerland also hasnt joined or Norway.
    Last edited by Zafran; 08-08-2009 at 11:14 PM.
    Turkey is part of Europe. Fear keeps it out of the EU.

    Do you think the pious don't sin?

    They merely:
    Veiled themselves and didn't flaunt it
    Sought forgiveness and didn't persist
    Took ownership of it and don't justify it
    And acted with excellence after they had erred - Ibn al-Qayyim

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    Re: Turkey is part of Europe. Fear keeps it out of the EU.

    Quote Originally Posted by Argamemnon View Post
    Turkey is by no means part of Europe. Not culturally, not in any other way. How do I know? Because I'm of Turkish origin and know my culture. Case closed/end of thread

    Even if some uf us deny it, we are undoubtedly a Middle Eastern country. If you don't believe me, go to Syria (or Lebanon) and tell me if they are alike or not!

    This is Istanbul: http://www.dkimages.com/discover/pre...0/50202539.JPG
    How do you define european culture???? Its so diverse.
    Turkey is part of Europe. Fear keeps it out of the EU.

    Do you think the pious don't sin?

    They merely:
    Veiled themselves and didn't flaunt it
    Sought forgiveness and didn't persist
    Took ownership of it and don't justify it
    And acted with excellence after they had erred - Ibn al-Qayyim

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    Zafran's Avatar
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    Re: Turkey is part of Europe. Fear keeps it out of the EU.

    Turkey should be allowed in the EU anyway - its a vital asset of Nato.
    Turkey is part of Europe. Fear keeps it out of the EU.

    Do you think the pious don't sin?

    They merely:
    Veiled themselves and didn't flaunt it
    Sought forgiveness and didn't persist
    Took ownership of it and don't justify it
    And acted with excellence after they had erred - Ibn al-Qayyim

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    aadil77's Avatar
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    Re: Turkey is part of Europe. Fear keeps it out of the EU.

    Quote Originally Posted by Thinker View Post
    The real question is – why does Turkey want to become a part of Europe?
    Plenty of economical and political reasons

    greater trade, more foreign businesses, easier access to eu etc

    do they want to join the euro as well?

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    Re: Turkey is part of Europe. Fear keeps it out of the EU.

    Quote Originally Posted by Zafran View Post
    How do you define european culture???? Its so diverse.
    I don't care, I'm not European. I want a Middle Eastern Union
    Last edited by Argamemnon; 08-09-2009 at 03:30 AM.

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    Re: Turkey is part of Europe. Fear keeps it out of the EU.

    Quote Originally Posted by Argamemnon View Post
    I don't care, I'm not European. I want a Middle Eastern Union
    Israel will not make that easy. =/
    Turkey is part of Europe. Fear keeps it out of the EU.

    I was looking at myself talking to myself and I realized this conversation...I was having with myself looking at myself was a conversation with myself that I needed to have with myself.

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    Re: Turkey is part of Europe. Fear keeps it out of the EU.

    Quote Originally Posted by Guestfellow View Post
    It could be advantageous for the EU if Turkey joins.

    Greater workforce since Turkey I think it is a growing population. Ease of travelling for vacations and hopefully better communications and stability in the Semitic world.

    The disadvantages I heard are immigrants. People fears immigrants will worsen the financial crisis in Europe; take away jobs and cultural clashes. In addition Turkey is a Muslim dominated country. Well I don't have to go any further explaining how some people fear Muslims and Islam.

    Though I'm not entirely sure about this topic. Whether Turkey should join or not.
    I think at this stage, the immigration arugement is untenable. There are already thousands of Turks living in other parts of Europe, especially in countries like Germany where they are sizeable in numbers and contribute vitally to Germany's economy which is the biggest in Europe and heavily export orientated. Just as there are thousands of EU expatriates living and working in Turkey, many who own holiday homes there and are given preferential rates as well.

    Given that workers accross the EU can move freely accross frontiers, Turkey should have the same privileges conferred upon it as well. Turkey being part of the EU would consolidate its place as beacon of democracy in the Muslim world, and it would be supportive of the AK Party, who are constantly having to face threats from the military-backed bellicose opposition who can't stand a party whose policies are informed by Islam. The threat of a coup is never far away; a Honduras type of overthrow is very possible unless they have more broader international support.

    And probably from our perspective, the most fundamentally important benefit is that it would introduce a much-needed Islamic view point to EU political discourse, especially in the European Parliament. After being in thrall of the US for so long, led by docile leaders like Brown, Sarkozy, Merkel etc, Turkey's participation will if not altogether overhaul EU policy formulation, at least introduce an Islamic viewpoint and help foster a more agreeable and cordial relationship with the Muslim world.

    Id rather they talk to leaders like Erdogan than treacherous figures like Mubarak, Abdullah, etc.
    Last edited by nocturnal; 08-09-2009 at 03:48 AM.

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    Re: Turkey is part of Europe. Fear keeps it out of the EU.

    Quote Originally Posted by Zafran View Post
    Turkey should be allowed in the EU anyway - its a vital asset of Nato.
    That would mean Turkish (Muslim) soldiers fighting alongside non-believers in conflicts like Afghanistan and that would contribute to greater stability in the world but what about verse 3:28?

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    Re: Turkey is part of Europe. Fear keeps it out of the EU.

    Quote Originally Posted by Zafran View Post
    How do you define european culture???? Its so diverse.
    It is diverse but it also has some important features. Culture and nation are not only those who live now, but also those who lived before and who will live in future. So we can say that Europe can be divided into two parts - western and eastern. Western is catholic- protestant, eastern is orthodox. Nowadays under multicultural doctrine, some europeans wil say that Turkey is part of Europe, but in same way we could say that France is part of Maghreb. Turkey was always the enemy of Europe (Bosnia and Albania are fruits of turkish imperialism). The idea that Turkey is (was?always has been?) part of Europe is something new, I have never heard it in my childhood, Turkey was always for me a part of Orient, Islamic World, Ottoman Empire from Africa to Middle East. Now the embracing of Turkey to EU could be explained only by the economical reasons, not cultural, civilizational. But again, I guess that EU will have more problems with every year, so they wouldnt want to embrace such big country like Turkey.
    Turkey is part of Europe. Fear keeps it out of the EU.

    This country is dying because of a lack of men, not a lack of programs.

    - Corneliu Zelea Codreanu

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    Thinker's Avatar
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    Re: Turkey is part of Europe. Fear keeps it out of the EU.

    The other thing I can add to this thread, as a resident of Cyprus with (Greek) Cypriot neighbours, I can tell you that I have been shocked, very shocked by the degree of hate held by the Cypriots towards the Turks. There is also a large number of Georgian Pontiacs here who, like the Armenians, were force marched out of Turkey into Georgia. They also speak about half a million Armenians killed during that ethnic cleansing. And then there’s the question of the divided Cyprus and the sequestration of Cypriot land in the north. And I am sure that Turkey has got many stories of Greek atrocities on its people. I think there’s too much history to get over for Turkey to get into the EU.

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    Re: Turkey is part of Europe. Fear keeps it out of the EU.

    I'm hoping that Turkey doesn't become an EU member. If this was to happen then expect a further 500,000-1million more migrants flocking to the UK.

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    Re: Turkey is part of Europe. Fear keeps it out of the EU.

    Quote Originally Posted by Thinker View Post
    The real question is – why does Turkey want to become a part of Europe?
    It does not want to become a part of Europe. It wants to become a part of the European Union. The distinction is important - the EU (technically) does not discriminate membership based on borders etc; a non-European country could conceviably become a member state of the EU. For instance, I recall Israel also applying for membership.

    The benefits of EU membership are related mainly to trade and are thus economical in nature.

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    Re: Turkey is part of Europe. Fear keeps it out of the EU.

    The European Union benefits the poor and is a disadvantage to the rich, such as the UK. It's fantastic for the likes of Poland, Slovenia, Bulgaria etc. For us in the UK it makes us think "we lost our men in the world wars for no reason at all. Our soldiers will be turning in their grave!"


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