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The key difference between Turkey and Russia is that Russia doesn't want to join. Turkey put itself on that path from the foundation of the state. When you say they have histories that diverge from "much of Europe" which "much" did you have in mind? Greece? Bulgaria? Ireland? Spain? Every state in Europe has a history that diverges from much of Europe.

Turkey is already a member of NATO, so the "we've got your back" promises are effectively made already.

No-one has put forward a non-nefarious reason that didn't apply to other states who have already joined, which is the test to my mind.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Sep 26th, 2006 at 12:21:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
  1. I guess I could see the hypocracy better if we were talking about Croatia v. Bosnia instead of Croatia v. Turkey.  

  2. RE: NATO, that's with the US having their back too, so it is not as much of a burden for Europe.  It's not an internal worry.

  3. But other states that have already joined have not occupied a historically and culturally gray area between Europe and the Middle East.  The border that defines Europe, whether the idea of Europe or the political entity or the geographic entity, has historically been fluid.  That there should be debate about where to draw the line now seems pretty natural to me.  I don't doubt that there are racist people fighting against Turkey's admittance into the EU.  I just think you are not acknowldeging the significance of the decision.


Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. -Voltaire
by p------- on Tue Sep 26th, 2006 at 12:36:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]

RE: NATO, that's with the US having their back too, so it is not as much of a burden for Europe.  It's not an internal worry.

You know, for someone sensitive to anti-American comments, you're quite casual with the anti-European propaganda that we're freeriders...

<ducks and runs>

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Tue Sep 26th, 2006 at 12:41:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Big fan of NATO now are you?  


Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. -Voltaire
by p------- on Tue Sep 26th, 2006 at 12:45:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
There is no hypocrisy in Croatia vs. Bosnia as Bosnia is a de-facto EU protectorate.

Don't tell me NATO and the EU have nothing to do with each other. All the former communist candidates for accession thought you could not have one without the other. [Still waiting for Marek's diary on Atlanticism]

I know it is a significant decision and I don't know what the right answer is.

To talk about a "gray area" implies that Europe and the Middle East are somehow poles in some relationship. I don't think that's the case. There are more ways to look at Turkey. The Ottoman empire was its own thing, and it inherited as much from the Caliphate as it did from the Byzantine empire.

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. -- Euripides

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Sep 26th, 2006 at 12:44:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Good points, which made me think of something:

I'm sure that if you ask people opposed to Turkish membership if they would take Japan in the EU, they would be much more inclined to say yes.

The geographic argument would suddenly shatter, to reveal the reality beneath it: that it's essentially the fear of Islam and perceived third-worldness that fuel the "no to Turkey" mindset. No one is afraid of Buddhism, Zen, etc. And Japan, wow ... all those cute little mangas, and all that sense of honour & respect ... wow wow wow.

by Alex in Toulouse on Tue Sep 26th, 2006 at 12:56:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
  1. Huh? I don't understand your point at all. Bosnia is white and has lots of Muslims unlike Turkey which is brown and has lots of Muslims. Some of the states who have been allowed in straddle other boundaries between East and West.

  2. Most of the EU states are already in a military alliance with Turkey. The EU is not a military alliance. Is there any obligation for Ireland to come to Greece's defence if the Egyptians tried to invade? I'm not aware of one.

  3. " I just think you are not acknowldeging the significance of the decision." We've been more-or-less promising Turkey membership for fifty years: I do acknowledge the significance of the decision. Refusing membership now on "cultural" grounds indicates that we have decided to build a white Christian club and that we have no principles whatsoever.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Sep 26th, 2006 at 12:45:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The EU is not a military alliance. Is there any obligation for Ireland to come to Greece's defence if the Egyptians tried to invade? I'm not aware of one.

See, this is how I learn things.

I guess I just want to ask the everyone here to realize that I, like much of the world, do not actually live in Europe, so if I ask ignorant questions, maybe you need to just be happy I care and kindly explain to me the situation and not snarky about the fact that I got something wrong.  


Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. -Voltaire

by p------- on Tue Sep 26th, 2006 at 12:51:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I wasn't being snarky. I'm not 100% sure there isn't such an obligation. I don't think there is though.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Sep 26th, 2006 at 12:56:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If you don't ask the questions we don't know what needs explaining. And we don't know all the answers either.

As for the EU's military side, check out European Defence Agency and Common Foreign and Security Policy.

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. -- Euripides

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Sep 26th, 2006 at 12:56:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
One moment you are saying it is about race and one moment you are saying it is about religion.  Let's agree that both are bad criteria for deciding if a country should belong to the EU.  If the EU has no defense function, (and should have not cultural function), what are we left with for criteria?  Good governance and what?  Some sense of shared something or other?  That's vague to me.  

It may be implicit to you, as a European, of what should constitute a European Union.  But to an outsider, it is not clear.  It's obviously not clear to a lot of people in Europe, either.  Be aware that there is a difference between honest inquiry and agenda pushing.  I have no agenda.

Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. -Voltaire

by p------- on Tue Sep 26th, 2006 at 01:04:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm saying it's about race and that the religious argument is a cover for that.

I'd be perfectly happy with an EU that included the countries around the Mediterranean that have been linked to Europe for a long time. Some want in, some don't. I'd also be happy with overlapping supra-national organisations so long as the requirements were compatible. It'd be challenging but the idea that you can only belong to one club is predicated on a system where the clubs are in competition.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Sep 26th, 2006 at 01:14:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I think we need to re-examine some of the statements here. Is Turkey more different to Greece than Greece is to Finland?

What about Spain and Latvia?

by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Tue Sep 26th, 2006 at 01:18:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You know, I realize it's because I'm sick and feeling puny but I give up.  I've asked repeatedly what would be the criteria for not including a country and every time it is implied that that is a hypocritical thing to ask.  I don't know what Greece and Finland have in common.  I was hoping someone might tell me.  

I don't advocate exluding people on the basis of race or creed but if they whole world decided it wanted to join the EU, on what grounds would you deny them admission?  Or would you prefer everyone were allowed in?  And if so, would you continue to call it "The European Union?"

Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. -Voltaire

by p------- on Tue Sep 26th, 2006 at 01:27:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
A country should be excluded if it refuses to implement and enforce EU law, is too far geographically and historically from the EU or if it has an unacceptable form of government. I'd cheerfully allow Russia in, in about twenty years or so after substantial reforms.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Sep 26th, 2006 at 01:30:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It's so early in the process that I think it's smart to state your standards before the real nitty-gritty bargaining begins. I do believe that once the train gets rolling all such standards will become irrelevant simply because the EU has not dealt with a nation with the history and national sentiment that Turkey has. So, you can establish equal standards in the beginning, and insist on the acquis communitaire, but because of all the interests involved, I seriously doubt that Turkish accession will look like any other accession process. And this is not because of racist elements. Mainly, Turkey has a big military, a strong sense of national unity, a very different economic system (and by this I'm referring to nitty-gritty day-to-day economics, such as distribution even, which operates very differently in Turkey than it does anywhere else). As well, Turkey is a conduit for natural resources. Turkey will attempt to enter the union from a position of relative strength, and this will produce a very nervy set of negotiations.
by Upstate NY on Tue Sep 26th, 2006 at 03:12:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I've asked repeatedly what would be the criteria for not including a country

Currently: (1) not having adopted the full legal framework, (2) failing to win the support of the populace of members that have referendum on the issue, (3) being caught up in the EU's institutional bottleneck (e.g. the EU structures are currently set up for a maximum of 27 members, which we reach next year, only a new framework like the one proposed in the Constitution can allow more). The rules may change. Conservatives certainly want so, adding cultural, religious or geographical criteria. There is a broader opinion to add time and size limitations based on the EU's ability to cope with assimilating new members.

if they whole world decided it wanted to join the EU, on what grounds would you deny them admission?

See above. Currently, the EU could theoretically grow to encompass the whole world.

Or would you prefer everyone were allowed in?

Personally, I would very much endorse an explicitely open-ended EU, albeit one growing slowly (say, integrating the current 27 in the next ten years, absorbing ex-Yugoslavia and Turkey over the following ten, Ukraine and Morocco over another ten, Russia, Syria, Lebanon, a peace-agreed Israel/Palestine over the twenty years thereafter...)

But another possibility I would like is one Colman hinted at, that EU-like organisations start to grow elsewhere. I note there are some already: ASEAN and the African Union were in part modelled on the EU, they look like earlier stages of European integration, and could develop into something similar to what we have now over decades. If such organs of regional integration develop, it would be best if instead of confrontation, there could be some overlap, say Morocco being a member of both the EU and the African Union. This would be nothing radically new: think for example of Norway, which is part of a a closer Scandinavian cooperation and customs union, but not an EU member.

And if so, would you continue to call it "The European Union?"

I don't think names matter that much. It could be changed to "Euro-Mediterranean Union", "Eurasian Union", "Yellow Stars On Blue Union"... Such a name change wouldn't be the first: after all, the EU is called the EU only for one-and-a-half decades, before there were names like European Community, the Common Market, Montanunion...

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Wed Sep 27th, 2006 at 03:45:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
As for criterion 2) I would like to see all future treaties subject to referendum in all member states.

As to regional organisations, don't forget Mercosur.

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. -- Euripides

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Sep 27th, 2006 at 03:59:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
  1. Why?

  2. EU membership doesn't end Turkey's NATO membership. Why are Turkey's potential wars less worrying than instability affecting Bulgaria, Romania and Croatia?

The only reason I can see is the Kurdish question, but all this is contingent on the same human rights process all the other entrants had to go through. It's imperfect but it's certainly capable of either stalling Turkish membership or helping to solve the problem in some ways. Separatists are not a new issue for nations within the EU.

3) As opposed to a historically and culturally grey area between Western and Eastern Europe? Or between Sweden and Greece?

It's perfectly legitimate to be anti-expansion, but to suggest that Europe is not a cultural grey area in itself is a lie that needs resisting.

by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Tue Sep 26th, 2006 at 12:51:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I've finally worked out how complicated the Kurdish situation is: four linguistic/tribal groups that don't get on among themselves spread over four(?) different nation states, not along the linguistic boundaries, that don't generally like them much. A good chunk of Kurdish violence is targeted at other Kurds with everything from Islamist to Marxist groups involved, all backed by different governments and populations.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Sep 26th, 2006 at 12:54:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Right. That's why I felt I had to mention that the potential human rights issues around the Kurds as it exists in Turkey could certainly be an accession issue. But that's different to stopping negotiations and taking the ball home.
by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Tue Sep 26th, 2006 at 01:12:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The key difference between Turkey and Russia is that Russia doesn't want to join.

But if they did, you don't think it would be a request worthy of some debate?  Don't get me wrong.  I don't have a horse in this race.  It just seems that ... I guess I don't know what you'd accept as a good reason for not being a admitted the EU.

Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. -Voltaire

by p------- on Tue Sep 26th, 2006 at 12:43:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Colman, please answer this and I promise I will leave you alone.

Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. -Voltaire
by p------- on Tue Sep 26th, 2006 at 01:06:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Leave me alone?
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Sep 26th, 2006 at 01:17:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Of course it would be worthy of some debate. But the parallel is spurious. Russia hasn't been moving towards membership for the last half-centrury.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Sep 26th, 2006 at 01:17:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, it would be, in fact there has been some debate before. But as Colman noted, Turkish governments aspired and asked to join for four-five decades now, that discussion progressed much more. I also add that Turkey is presently also stronger bound to the existing EU members due to the millions of Turkish guest workers and immigrants working in the EU: even if they moved in permanently, most keep connections with relatives at home, and even if they absorb a lot of local culture (contrary to what xenophobes assume) many keep various levels of cultural ties.

Regarding Russia in the EU, before the joining of the last 10, there was some serious discussion (on the Russians' part!) about partial EU membership: meaning the Kaliningrad district, which found itself with the prospect of separation from the motherland by two Schengen borders.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Wed Sep 27th, 2006 at 03:53:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Wikipedia notes two things, both of which I should have remembered: that both Schröder and Berlusconi have on ocassion talked favorably, and on their own initiative, of Russia's EU membership on a longer term.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Sep 27th, 2006 at 04:58:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]

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