Mr Hannan’s article was published in the Daily Telegraph last year. It is here.
“Ankara has had a shabby deal from Brussels over its bid for EU membership, says Daniel Hannan.”
“David Cameron was too polite to say it in so many words, but his audience of Turkish MPs got the point: the EU is treating them shabbily.
Singly, Europe’s governments have perfectly consistent policies. Some countries want, in Gladstone’s unhappy phrase, “to bundle the Turk, bag and baggage, out of Europe”. France, Austria and (less vocally) Germany are in this camp. Others, led by Britain, see Turkish membership as strategically valuable: a way to bolster the world’s chief Muslim democracy and perhaps, in the process, to dilute Euro-federalism.”
Mr Hannan, David Cameron stated that he would be a strong supporter of Turkey’s EU membership within the EU. But he didn’t say anything about Sarkozy’s outrageous stance who went to Turkey last week. Moreover, he teamed up with him and Merkel regarding the next long-term budget of the EU. I don’t understand David Cameron.
“A case can be made either way: Turcophiles argue that strengthening Ankara’s Western orientation will encourage democrats and reformers throughout the Islamic world; it is hard to see, for example, how to pacify Iran without benign Turkish intercession.”
It is true. However, the Turkish leaders repeated several times that Turkey does not expect to be seen as a model for the Muslim world. The Turkish president Mr Gül underlined it several weeks ago, and the first time he said that it was in 2004 during the NATO summit at Istanbul. I’ve got a good memory!
“Turcosceptics retort that admitting such a large Muslim country would fundamentally alter the character of the EU – a problem which, in their eyes, can only get worse as Turkey’s population grows while that of Old Europe shrivels.”
These anti-Turkey politicians are blinded by their hatred or at least by strong prejudices and ignorance towards Turkey. Don’t they know that the EU needs a bigger economic market in order to survive and to face with China or the whole Asia? Hence, Turkey’s young and huge population is a chance for the EU. But maybe that they already know that. Are they the leaders who we urgently need?
Back to the recent past:
the former commissioner for enlargement Mr Olli Rehn said: “Turkey’s EU membership is vital”. Another former commissioner for enlargement, Mr Günter Verheugen, said: “The EU needs Turkey more than Turkey needs the EU”. The English economist Mr Roger Bootle said: “Turkey doesn’t need the EU, but the EU needs Turkey”.
Many experts within the EU and the USA and the world know that the EU does need Turkey: politically, economically, and of course culturally. The EU also needs Turkey because it is a military superpower: for instance Mr Werner Hoyer said a few months ago that Turkey can’t be thought separately of the security structure of Europe.
The prime minister and minister for foreign affairs of Luxembourg Mr Jean Asselborn said that the EU will be stronger with Turkey’s EU membership.
Last but not least, the minister for foreign affairs of Finland Mr Alexander Stubb said a few months ago: “Arguably, today Turkey is more influential in the world than any of our member states together or separately”.
Hence, with Turkey inside, the EU will well and truly be more powerful than ever.
According to ABhaber, on january, 19th 2011, Mr Gerard Schröder said: “The EU will not able to be a global player without Turkey”.
According to Euractiv Turkey, on february, 14th 2011, the minister for EU affairs of England Mr David Lidington said that the EU will be a global player thanks to Turkey’s EU membership. And on february, 16th 2011, Mr Carl Bildt stated that when Turkey becomes a member it will strengthen the EU (he also stated that Turkey works seriously in order to meet the all the conditions of the membership).
Some journalists write that Turkey has become a “soft power”. That odd euphemism makes me laugh. Turkey has become a world power. It is an influential power that does strive for peace. Turkey is certainly not the “powerful” USA (after Iraq, now they want to invade Libya), but the USA are not Turkey.
Mr Davutoğlu works marvels. And the Turkish prime minister succeeds in gathering together the best people and experts in Turkey. That’s why Turkey has oustanding results.
“Separately, both cases can be argued. Blended, they make for a policy based on deceit. The EU holds out the promise of accession without intending to honour it. In consequence, it risks creating the very thing it purports to fear: an alienated, snarling Islamic power on its borders.”
Mr Hannan, I don’t agree with you. If Turkey doesn’t become an EU member, it still will be a secular and democratic republic. Turkey has a constitution (which will be improved this year). Moreover, Turkey is not an Islamic power, it is a democratic and secular power. Are we used to saying that France or the UK are Christian powers?
It’s not thanks to the EU that Turkey is secular. It’s thanks to Atatürk. And it’s thanks to him that it will always be.
Turkey is one of the most secular countries of Europe. Surprising but true. We the Turks are very lucky to have Atatürk.
Turkey is the only democracy among the countries of Muslim religion. But many Turks, including me, do not wish to be considered as Muslims, because our identity is not based on religion (I have always strongly believed that religion has to remain in the private sphere). We the Turks are of course proud of being of Muslim religion (as all our main religions, Islam advocates tolerance and says: “Thou shalt not kill), but many Turks rather prefer to be considered as Turkish citizens of the secular Turkish republic. Turkey is a democracy and a secular republic. Only then it ought to be considered as a country of Muslim religion, because if someone believes in God, they believe for themselves. Besides, the media too often deals with religion and mixes terrorism with Islam. That’s why a country ought to not be considered through religion, especially Turkey, which many people consider as the crucial key for the future of the EU and of our world. Turkey is victim of a war on information through the media. And many of the anti-Turkey politicians are pleased with that, and they also contribute to that war on information against Turkey by repeating endlesslly that they object to Turkey’s EU membership. They contribute to more racism.
“Cameron’s reasons for backing Ankara’s bid for EU membership are solidly Tory: Turkey guarded Europe’s flank against the Bolshevists for three generations, and may one day be called on to do the same against the jihadis. In the circumstances, he believes, the Turks are being treated ungratefully by their allies.”
Very well said. The UK has no short memory, unlike some so-called EU politicians and governments who are quite simply traitors towards the Turkish nation. The UK doesn’t support Turkey’s EU membership owing to the USA (besides the USA do not want Turkey to be an EU member because they do not want the EU to be a political superpower). The United Kingdom does support Turkey because it does remember how Turkey was such a faithful and reliable ally during the Cold War. And I do believe that once merged officially with the EU, Turkey and the UK could work marvels. The UK has no complex about its defeat against Atatürk. But many EU politicians and dark lobbies have.
“He’s right. The EU’s treatment of Turkey will one day be seen as an epochal error. Had the Eurocrats made clear at the beginning that there was no prospect of full membership, and instead sat down to negotiate an alternative form of partnership, Ankara would have swallowed its disappointment.
Instead, Brussels has dangled a false promise before Turks. It has made them accept humiliating reforms, ranging from the status of minorities to the history of the 1915 Armenian massacres. It chides them as authoritarian when they restrict the symbols of Islamic devotion, and chides them as fundamentalist when they don’t.
It has treated them especially unfairly over Cyprus: Greek Cypriots were rewarded when they rejected the EU’s reunification plans, Turkish Cypriots punished when they accepted them. Meanwhile, the Commission is imposing thousands of pages of the acquis communautaire on Turkey. Yet it has no intention of admitting a patriotic and populous Muslim nation to full membership – especially now that the Lisbon treaty has introduced a population-based voting system.”
Well said! Thank you Sir.
“It’s not that all the criticisms made by opponents of membership are invalid. But Turks feel they are being held to a different standard. What has the unhappy history of the Armenians in Turkey got to do with the EU? Was Belgium required by the other states to apologise for its role in the Congo, or France to grovel about Algeria?”
Well said. But “unhappy” isn’t a relevant word. That dark period of History was a period of horror.
Several countries seem to have an amnesia or an allergy about their past but they have none about the one of Turkey. These countries ought to look in the mirror before launching missiles of critics to Turkey from their desk.
Why so much obsession about Turkey? Why do so many journalists and politicians in the EU (especially in France) and in the USA keep asking Turkey to face with its past? Is it really in the name of History? Or is it because they want to gain more votes and/or to weaken Turkey? But why don’t they ask at first France, Spain, the English, the USA, …. to face with their past?
Message to these journalists and especially to these politicians:
Atatürk’s army hung some of those who were responsible for that period of horror against the Armenians.
I was born in France, and I was always told that what happened in 1915 in the Ottoman Empire was a genocide. I always believed that. But today I am in the confusion because one year ago Turkey suggested Armenia to create an international investigation group of historians (from any country in the world). But as far as I know, Armenia still hasn’t answered to Turkey. I do not understand. Would not that investigation group of historians unblock the situation?
Before I discovered Turkey, I was never told that some countries manipulated the Armenians in order to share out Anatolia. I wasn’t told neither that many Turks were killed by the Armenian extremists in 1915. Because France 2, TF1 or Arte Info as well as the History books never dealt with that. Never. Though I’ve been watching the news on France 2 since the age of 12.
Why don’t France, Russia, Germany, the UK, the EU and the USA support Turkey’s suggestion and decide to send their historians to that international investigation group?
Since some US and EU politicians are “so concerned” of that period of horror, don’t they think that an international investigation group of historians would be a sensible step?
Those within the EU and the USA who manipulate that dark period of History for political gains, especially at election time, have no dignity and are immoral. That is a lack of respect to the memory of all those who lost their lives. The sole objective of these politicians with no conscience is to gain the votes of their Armenian-rooted citizens. They don’t look at 1915 as human beings but as corrupt politicians.
By the way, Sarkozy was asked about what France did in Algeria, and he answered: “That subject should be dealt by historians”.
Well, Turkey wants historians of the world to investigate about 1915.
But regarding Turkey, Sarkozy prefers mixing politics and History, since he is used to aiming at taking advantage of the votes of the Armenian-rooted French citizens.
But when it comes to the past of France in Algeria, Sarkozy thinks differently.
Therefore we can really wonder: are Sarkozy and the French assembly credible?
If that kind of politicians really want to help humanity, they ought to stop that unhealthy and immoral game.
The USA can’t change because of their electoral system.
As for the EU, since it is not even able to resolve the Cypriot issue (and actually, it does not even want to), how will it be able to resolve other bigger issues?
But I do think that the EU of Robert Schuman and Jean Monnet still exists. And it has the moral duty to help Armenia and Turkey to resolve their issues. Especially since 1999, when Turkey became an official candidate to the EU. In fact, Turkey’s problems are more than ever those of the EU. But has the EU the will to change?
Some criticize Turkey because it doesn’t implement the protocol that it signed with Armenia. They are right. But maybe that Azerbaijan threatened Turkey and the EU to not support the colossal Nabucco gas project anymore. The Azeris don’t want Turkey to open its frontier with Armenia because of the Upper Karabakh, which Armenia occupies (Turkey closed its frontier with Armenia in 1993 because of that occupation).
Azerbaijan has then become involved. Since the EU has loads of energy about the Nabucco project, why wouldn’t it have some energy about the problems between Turkey-Armenia and Armenia-Azerbaijan? (The EU has lots of energy to block Turkey’s EU membership process by inventing new problems such as the Cypriot issue, but it is not very clear regarding the occupation of Armenia of the Upper Karabakh).
Last but not least, it is said that some dark lobbies don’t want these problems in the Caucasus to be resolved, because they still aim at destabilizing Turkey. Will the EU be united and strong enough to offset their anti-peace plans?
Should not Armenia join the Alliance of civilizations created by Mr Zapatero and Mr Erdoğan? That would be another sensible step.
“Not long ago, I spoke in a debate in the European Parliament on a motion condemning Turkey for failing to promote women in politics. When I pointed out that Turkey had elected a female prime minister 17 years ago, and that two thirds of existing member states had yet to reach this milestone, a kindly Christian Democrat took me aside afterwards and explained that I was missing the point. The decision not to admit Turkey had already been made in principle: everyone understood that, with a one-blackball system, there was no chance of the application going through. The objective now, he said, was to find a reason that wouldn’t upset our resident Muslim populations too much.”
That female prime minister was Tansu Çiller.
Compared with France, of course that women in Turkey are not enough involved in politics. But compared with Sweden or Finland, France and many other EU countries are light years away from them.
As for that christian democrat clown, he and his laughable clones ought to remember that Turkey was officially recognized as a candidate country to the EU in 1999 at Helsinki, and that all the EU states emphasized that Turkey would be treated as every previous candidate and that the goal is the full EU membership of Turkey. The full EU membership. Nothing less. Nothing more. That christian democrat seems to live in the EU circus (in which Sarkozy and Merkel are at the top), so I understand very well that he isn’t able to understand the world politics. That politician ought to wake up though: because even the EU parliament, which is the direct representative of the EU citizens, overwhelmingly approved the opening of the EU-Turkey negotiations in 2004. But we can deduce that there’s such an hatred against Turkey that some circles want to forget the EU rules and democracy. Turkey has been crystal clear: it will never tolerate any appalling offer (i.e. any “privileged racism” offer), any appalling second class EU membership: Turkey will never accept to be an EU member in the ghetto of the EU.
“For what it’s worth, if I were Turkish, I would be against EU membership. Turkey is a dynamic country with – in marked contrast to the EU – a young population. The last thing it needs is the 48-hour week, the Common Agricultural Policy, the euro and the rest of the apparatus of Brussels corporatism. Why tie yourself to a shrinking part of the world economy when you have teeming new markets to your east? Why submit to rule by people who barely trouble to hide their contempt for you? (Similar arguments apply, mutatis mutandis, to Britain; but that’s another story.)”
You are absolutely right Mr Hannan, but in spite of these negative sides, in my opinion, Turkey has to be an EU member because together they will be able to save our planet. I explain that in that former article of mine “A message to the EU: you do not deserve Turkey but the world does need an EU member Turkey” which is here.
“There is a difference, though, between choosing not to join and being told that you’re not good enough to join. Turks are as entitled to their pride as any other people. The way they have been messed around can hardly fail to make them despise the EU. Which, in the broader sweep of history, is likely to hurt the EU more than it does Turkey.”
Well said again. Eric Ellis, from the ‘The Age’ newspaper, wrote that too. (article available here).
The EU will be the loser if Sarkozy, Merkel and their clones keep acting with impunity. Because of them and because of their manipulation of the Cypriot issue, the EU has already lost a lot of credibility. But Mr Hannan, why don’t the EU members who support Turkey’s EU membership really act against them?
Mr Hannan, being objective through an EU ocean of prejudices and propaganda against Turkey is rare and requires courage.
Best regards Sir,
PS. I was born in France, I’m both Turkish and French (I’ve got the two nationalities). I’m proud to be French, I’m proud to be Turkish, and I explain why in my article “Atatürk and the positive Turkish nationalism“, which was mentionned in the Financial Times. (I mistakenly deleted the precious pingback at the end of my artilce!). When I saw the pingback, I said to myself: “But what’s that?”. I clicked on the pingback and when I saw that my article was mentioned in that newspaper, I felt so proud. My eyes twinkled.
But I’m also an EU adventurer who has faith in the EU spirit and culture.
I’ve been swimming through the English language – and the UK and its rich culture – for a so long time that I often feel like an English/British. I discovered and loved the English language at the age of 13. For me it is the most beautiful language of the world.
I am neither English nor French through blood, and some may not consider me as a true French or English, but it’s what I think and feel that is important.
It’s like being Turkish.
When someone decides to settle and live in Turkey because they love it and its culture, I see no reason why they ought to not be considered as a true Turkish citizen.
Besides, our miraculous planet is wide enough for all of us.
Anyway, Turkey is a true multicultural nation. There are so many ethnic groups – which mixed with each other – within the Turkish society that being Turkish “through blood” doesn’t mean anything at all. Being Turkish? Nothing to do with genetics (by the way, last year in March , the Turkish prime minister Mr Recep Tayyip Erdoğan met with 20 000 Roma citizens at Istanbul and he made them feel like true Turkish citizens. He cursed discrimination. These Turkish citizens were happy and relieved). We should not be fooled by the Turkish nationalists who are the prisoners of their own mind. Turkey is well and truly multicultural.
A few hundred thousands of Ottoman soldiers fought and died for Atatürk during the Turkish war of independence. Hence, being Turkish also means remembering all those who lost their lives for the independent Turkish republic. Let’s be clear: that’s not nationalism. That’s positive nationalism. That’s gratefulness and respect.
I still haven’t watched Tolga Örnek’s documentary “Gallipoli” (“Gelibolu” in Turkish), in which we can hear Sam Neil’s voice. According to many people, that documentary is a masterpiece. Some Turkish nationalists didn’t like it because it is not a nationalist one. In fact as far as I understood, “Gallipoli” is a peace message and lesson for the whole humanity. I’m looking forward to wachting it both in Turkish and English, because I don’t know much about that bloody battle of 1915-1916. I only know that without Atatürk’s victory, Turkey would have never existed.
But some shadowy lobbies, religious sects and politicians apparently still haven’t swallowed that defeat and have been doing everything they can to destabilize, weaken and humiliate Turkey. That is a certainty: they don’t want a country of Muslim religion to be a world power. But they failed. They will never divide Turkey. Turkey will never be Belgium. Because Turkey has Atatürk.
Being Turkish also means being united against those who want to destabilize Atatürk’s country: the terrorist group the PKK is the main menace and tool of some national and foreign powers. The Turkish citizens would be happy to hear and receive more foreign support against the PKK terrorism. Well, isn’t that normal?
Şivan Perwer, a famous Kurdish-rooted Turkish singer, cursed the PKK three weeks ago. But the PKK threatened him. Mr Perwer said to the Kurdish-rooted Turkish citizens: “They (the PKK) don’t represent the Kurds, they kill their friends, they attack their own people.” But the BDP, which is the lawyer of the PKK, was disturbed of what that singer said and immediately expressed its anger with Selahhatin Demirtaş, who is the new spokersperson of the terrorists of the BDP/PKK. The PKK is being destroyed, thus its puppet the BDP, which is in panic as a lost sheep, will be on the dole.
Turkey’s future’s bright: it is becoming a world power, above all because it is striving for peace with sincerity. Many countries of the world want to work with Turkey. But a few countries are disturbed of that. A few countries want to sabotage Ahmet Davutoğlu’s pro-peace job. Which is already complex and difficult enough.
PPS. All the Turkish citizens are equal. All the Turks – Muslims, Jews and Christians – live in peace and harmony. There are certainly extremists in Turkey, as everywhere. But for instance a Turk of Jewish religion would rarely be attacked or insulted. That is the power of the Turkish culture (many Jews were welcomed by the Ottoman empire).
I admire Ishak Alaton owing to his involvement for a better Turkey. Something that he said (in 1996 or perhaps in 1997) is engraved in my memory for evermore. He was the guest of the excellent journalist Erdoğan Aktaş on NTV, who created the TV program ’Yakın plan’. At the end of the program, Ishak Alaton looked at the camera and said severely: “You the politicians are paid thanks to the taxes that we the citizens pay. Thus you must serve us.” That was excellent. I’m very proud to be Turkish thanks to people like him. Mr Alaton is Turkish of Jewish religion, but he is above all Turkish. We ought to not categorize people or countries through religion.
PPPS. Egemen Bağış said that the first Catholic church of the world is in Turkey (in Hatay). Turkey is a rich country.cem