Friday, 22 May 2015

"So what is the point of Europe today? For me the answer is to be found in Turkey."

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Lord ('Chris') Patten, who wants Turkey to join the EU as does the present British Conservative government, said back in 2011 
'Istanbul's the city where Europe's future may be shaped– Istanbul, not Brussels, Paris, or Berlin.'
Admitting Turkey as a member would give the Europe a new reason to exist. 
'As an EU member, Turkey would add a new dimension of massive historic importance. Europeans would show that we could embrace an Islamic democracy and build a strong bridge between Europe and Western Asia.That, in turn, would create a new European identity and narrative, a new reason for the EU to exist in this century, a way of rejecting the divisive politics of old. 

Meanwhile as Lord Patten enthuses over Turkey in the EU the great novelist Orhan Pamuk (he is great) has enthused about immigration transforming Turkey. 


'As the economic crisis deepens and spreads, Europe may be able, by turning in on itself, to postpone its struggle to preserve the culture of the “bourgeois” in Flaubert’s sense of the word, but that will not solve the problem. When I look at Istanbul, which becomes a little more complex and cosmopolitan with every passing year and now attracts immigrants from all over Asia and Africa, I have no trouble concluding that the poor, unemployed, and undefended of Asia and Africa who are looking for new places to live and work cannot be kept out of Europe indefinitely. Higher walls, tougher visa restrictions, and ships patrolling borders in increasing numbers will only postpone the day of reckoning. Worst of all, anti-immigration politics, policies, and prejudices are already destroying the core values that made Europe what it was.'

Of course, Constantinople was a multiracial, multicultural city before the 20th century and had a Christian majority in 1914. Those old multiracial cities like Vienna, Prague and Istanbul became drearily monoethnic because of genocide, war and ethnic cleansing. A bad augury?



Fortunately, there's no chance of persuading the voters that allowing seventy million Muslims free movement within the EU is a good idea. Why are the voters so much wiser than their rulers? People were frightened for millenia of democracy but the people aren't scary. Intellectuals and politicians are, once no longer attached materially or emotionally to the landed class.

Geography, Christianity and the European Greco-Roman heritage are what should define Europe, which badly needs an identity and tradition. The EU's mistake was making a promise we shall not keep - a much worse mistake would be to keep it.

10 comments:

  1. Would that not also open up the European union to an influx of immigration, unimpeded by Istanbul? I was in Istanbul in 2012, I remember being handed a nice letter (with veiled threats) about the need to become Muslim at the entrance to the Blue Mosque. I do not enjoy compulsion in religion no matter what the stripe. Europe has largely become irreligious of late, but those from North Africa, and the Middle East are not irreligious, do not generally conform to your European culture. I feel you will be killing your countries and cultures in the process. It would be better to extend immigration to the nations south of the U.S. border, they are generally of the same European mind-set, speak an Americanized version of Spanish, are generally hard workers, and they assimilate quite well into society. If you are going to open your borders do it for people who wish to be a part of your culture, not necessarily just going access to yours in the hopes of eventually subverting it.
    Tom

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  2. Turkey is under huge strain now. The time to admit it to Europe would have been about 10 years ago as a bulwark against polarisation and islamisation. Now erdogan has gone all Islamist it would be near impossible not to say less desirable for the Turks.R.J.B.

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    1. And what if had Turkey - which couldn't jump through the hurdles for many years anyway - joined the EU and then Erdogan or another leader had become an Islamist? I suppose EU law would have hampered him but still the consequences would have been huge on the now large Muslim populations in Europe.

      Europe cannot accept 70 million mostly impoverished Muslims, for so many obvious reasons. Geography, Christianity and the Greco-Roman heritage are what should define Europe, which badly needs to find an identity and tradition. The mistake we made was making a promise we shall not keep - a much worse mistake would be to keep it.

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  3. Why do people hold forth on Turkey without knowing it? There are not 70 million Muslims, its largely secular.
    Kentd├╝┼česi

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    1. Islam is the largest religion of Turkey with 99.8% of the population being registered as Muslim.

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    2. A remarkably homogeneous population. Like Poland in that way. #Genocide #EthnicCleaning

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    3. Along the coastal regions, epecially toward Europe I would agree Turkey is secular, however, the interior is very conservative, buying its oil from ISIS, and allowing its resupply as well. That portion of the country will be the majority, if it is not already. Tom

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