Saturday, 15 May 2010

Turkey and Europe

Although I cannot find a link, the Times carried an article the other day on growing Turkish disenchantment with Europe, and the European Union in particular. Tired of having her long-standing application consistently stalled by Paris and Athens (and to a lesser extent, Vienna and Berlin), Ankhara is now cultivating her links with Latin America and the Muslim world - including Iran.

Driving Turkey away from the European Union might please the likes of Sarkozy - who is worried his electorate will react badly to a big, brown nation joining the European club - but it would be fantastically short-sighted to allow this view to prevail. Turkey represents that rare thing: an avowedly secular, democratic and (still) pro-Western Muslim state. It sits at a historic crossroads between Europe and the Middle East, and with its young population is likely only to grow in importance in the coming decades.

Britain has long maintained a Turkophile foreign policy, and this has in the past included support for Turkey's EU bid. It will be a test of the Coalition's perhaps tricky European policy to see if they can continue to support Turkey's entrance. A failure to do so would represent a tragic polarisation at the borders of what one might clumsily call the 'Christian' and 'Muslim' worlds. It would send the wrong singals to other Muslim states on the European periphery with an eye to membership, such as Azerbaijan and especially Morocco, which has been reforming continuously for decades in order to secure eventual EU membership. We must not cut off Muslim states from the Union, or we would be handing Islamic extremists more supporters, more bases, and more material and political capital at our direct expense.

No comments:

Post a Comment