Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Why Turkey Needs to Join the EU

The danger in the world at the moment is that there are several blocks of nations emerging as potential powers.  Four of them have a population of in and around one billion people.
 

  • The Western Democracies - loosely most of Europe, North America, Japan, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand and Taiwan
  • China - on their own but trying to buy the alliegiance of despots all over the world, something the US and the Soviet Union tried in the cold war with little or no success.  In any case they are rapidly rising as a new global power
  • India - also on their own like China but without the foreign policy issues
  • Russia - fading from the scene but with a few quasi allies - the only grouping without the billion plus population
  • Islamic world - not yet unified, but becoming more and more reactionary and fascistic.   This is a stretch of nations from Morocco in the west to Indonesia in the east.   It has a population weight to compete with the other groupings and it has the vital resources the world needs.   


It is this last group of nations, the Islamic one, that has become a major global problem in the last twenty years.   The rise of a form of Islam that is driven by the political ideology of fascism and not by the Qu'ran is a problem for the world.   It is a danger for everyone when the idea of basic human rights is abrogated wholesale in the name of a created religious tradition.

The western democracies need to find a way to pull countries out of the orbit of the fascists ruling in places like Saudi Arabia or Iran.   There are some flawed democracies in the Islamic world, but they still have a long way to go.  The list is not a long one, Turkey, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Malaysia and Indonesia is about it.  The one country that can most likely be drawn into the western democracy camp and is a Muslim majority nation is Turkey.  

Turkey has a close to 100 year history of secularism and it is also a member of NATO.  Turkey has generally managed not to get drawn into to knee jerk anti western behaviour.  The best thing that could happen would be for Turkey to join the EU.

Is the country ready to be in the EU?  Turkey is certainly closer to being ready for EU membership than a number of the nations already in the EU, most notably Romania and Bulgaria.  Turkey also has a higher per capita GDP than those two nations.  Turkey also has a long record of being reasonable on various issues as opposed to a number of existing EU members that are ideologically unreasonable.

The benefit of Turkey being in the EU would be to show that Islam and democracy can comfortably co-exist. It will also show that the EU and western democracy is not just a Christian construct.   It brings the EU to the edge of the Middle East - the EU will have a land border with Iran and Syria.   It will allow a freer flow of secular ideals into Turkey and by extension into their immediate neighbours.  

Taking Turkey into the EU would also remove a nation from the potential Islamic world block.   It would show the Islamic world that there is another path, a path that shows democracy and economic well being come hand in hand.   Turkey has the highest GDP per capita of any Islamic country that is not skewed because of oil revenues.

It is unlikely that Turkey will be allowed to join anytime soon because of the intransigence of Cyprus and Greece.  They can not forgive the events of the Greco-Turkish war of 1919-1923 or the division of Cyprus in 1974.  The Greeks seem to be willing to forget about the greater good of the EU and the world to continue their dispute with Turkey.

The time to embrace Turkey is now before the Islamic fascists gain more power and go about destroying the country as they seem want to do where ever they manage to achieve any power.
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