Will 2010 Be The Year Europe and Turkey Get Back Together?

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Flag-Pins-Spain-Turkey.jpg
While neither the European Union nor Turkey lived up to its end of the EU-accession-process bargain last year, in my view Europe deserves more of the blame for the processes’ steady downward trajectory.
Despite understandable skepticism among officials in Ankara given the slow pace of the negotiations, Turkish leaders have reiterated time and again that their ultimate objective is for Turkey to join the European Union.
Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for some of Europe’s leaders. Angela Merkel suggested an ill-defined ‘privileged partnership‘ as a possible alternative to accession while Nicolas Sarkozy said in 2008 that Turkey is “not part of Europe.”
Fortunately, as I noted in an earlier post, there are signs that French and German attitudes are softening as their respective leaderships digest the consequences of alienating a country as strategically significant as Turkey.
The latest good news is that since assuming the European Union presidency this month, Spain has vigorously promoted Turkey’s accession prospects. Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos reiterated that support today.
According to Reuters:

[Moratinos said today that] to admit candidate Turkey could be successfully completed if it met the so-called Copenhagen criteria – covering such areas as democracy, human rights and the rule of law – which is required for membership.
“It would bring Europe more advantages than drawbacks. There may be difference of opinions between EU member states (over Turkish membership), but all have agreed to wait and watch the negotiations,” Moratinos told Germany’s Welt am Sonntag newspaper.
Spain, which holds the EU presidency until the end of June, hopes to open accession talks with Ankara in four new policy areas and see progress in a dispute between Turkey and Cyprus which is blocking Ankara’s bid.
“Turkey is a part of the European family of peoples. It is better to have Turkey inside the EU than to leave it standing outside,” Moratinos said.
He added that the EU considers Turkey a partner of high strategic importance, specifically mentioning its diplomatic network in the Middle East and central Asia.

While it remains to be seen what Spain can do over the remaining five months of its presidency to provide momentum for the negotiations, setting the discourse on a more constructive path is a necessary precursor to rebuilding popular support on both sides of the Dardanelles.
— Ben Katcher

Comments

38 comments on “Will 2010 Be The Year Europe and Turkey Get Back Together?

  1. Charlemagne says:

    whenever I read Ben Katcher’s articles on Turkey,
    I see WigWag and Nadine are always projecting
    here. I would like to inform israelies like wigwag
    and Nadine that Turkey is not changing its axis.
    Israelies are almost getting into a panic because
    Israel feels insecure and alone under the greater
    middle east prjoect initated in 2004 under Bush
    adminisration. And Israel is not a part of this
    plan. So they nonsensically criticize Turkey as if
    Turkey initiated this plan. Israel was reacting in
    the same way when the Eisenhower Doctrine was
    being implemented in 1957. And Israel was again
    feeling insecure and paniced. But they didnt
    played the kurdish card against Turkey in those
    years. Now Israel is almost threatening Turkey by
    playing the kurdish card. This threats are being
    reflected in the writings of people like Nadine
    and Wigwag. Besides Turkey is on the verge of
    solving its kurdish problem. In that case Israeli
    threats would just cause further and needless
    confrontations between Turkey and Israel.

    Reply

  2. Marc Larivière says:

    Should Turkey be admitted into the E U , the threat looming ahead is not the sudden and massive demographic increase in itself, but the inevitable fact that the European Moslems would thus outnumber any other Church goers, or non believers for that matter… And, knowing how difficult, even impossible, for Moslems to admit a secularist model of government, it is highly probable they would finally impose their own views and ways to everyone, by the mere virtue of their regular votes !
    Of course, it all depends on the degree of autonomy each nation will eventually preserve in our multi-national federation, still in the making, but, yes, WigWag, we can only have second thoughts about the Turkish entry, considering all the data you have given here, for which I thank you so much…

    Reply

  3. WigWag says:

    More on the enlightened Turks who Ben Katcher thinks unambiguously merit accesssion to the EU:
    British artist fined for collage depicting Turkish prime minister
    Thursday, January 28, 2010
    ISTANBUL – Daily News with wires
    British artist Michael Dickinson has been fined and may face jail time for refusing to pay the fine for insulting Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdo?an in an art piece called “Good Boy,” the BBC reported Wednesday.
    The collage has the prime minister’s photograph superimposed onto the body of a dog with the words ‘We will not be Bush’s dog.’ Charges against Dickinson were first filed in 2006 when he exhibited a collage called Best in Show, which depicts the prime minister as a dog being patted by President George Bush.
    The Turkish court handed down an acquittal for mockery for the first collage in September 2008, but when Dickinson displayed the “Good Boy” collage in protest, a new case was filed against the 59-year-old Briton who lives in Istanbul.
    The court has handed down a monetary penalty that Dickinson has said he will refuse to pay. The preceding judge has given the artist until March 9 to pay the fine, at which time he may face jail time or deportation

    Reply

  4. WigWag says:

    More on why some Europeans might be skeptical of Turkish accession to the EU
    This if from Turkey’s English language newspaper, Hurriyet:
    Kurdish girl sentenced to 8 years in prison
    Wednesday, January 27, 2010
    “Berivan, a 15-year-old Kurdish teenager, was sentenced to nearly eight years in prison on charges of hurling stones at police officers and chanting illegal slogans by a special-authority high criminal court in the eastern city of Diyarbak?r, daily Sabah reported Wednesday…
    She had been detained during a protest in the southeastern city of Batman on Oct. 9. Police claimed that Berivan attended the illegal march and concealed her face behind a poshu scarf. However, she rejected the accusation saying she was detained while going to visit her aunt in the central city…
    The court sentenced her to a total of 13 years in prison: seven years in prison on charges of committing crime on behalf of an outlawed organization, five years on charges of attending an illegal demonstration and one year on charges of making propaganda for the group.
    But her sentence was dropped to seven years and nine months because she is an adolescent. After the judge announced the sentence, the girl’s mother cried and shouted: Did she murder? The murderers are not sentenced to such a long prison term.”
    This is how Turkey treats its Kurdish population. Does Ben Katcher really think Turkey is anywhere near ready to be welcomed into the EU?
    It’s up to the Europeans of course, but can Turkey’s treatment of its Kurds do anything but give the Europeans pause?

    Reply

  5. Gray, Germany says:

    No! Nonsense. No majority for this idiocy in the EU.
    Or are the US finally adopting Mexico as the 51st state now?

    Reply

  6. WigWag says:

    Where I said, “AGP” I meant “AKP.”
    Sorry for the error.

    Reply

  7. WigWag says:

    “In Uganda, as well as in certain other relatively new African nations – the development on this issue seems to go in the wrong direction. Does this mean that Uganda should be excluded from the African Union?” (Paul Norheim)
    I don’t know if Uganda should be excluded from the African Union (is there an African Union?) but I have a strong suspicion that if a nation in Europe adopted the same social policies as Uganda, its chances of accession to the EU would be nil. As a European, Paul, don’t you think that is as it should be?
    “A good many of the abuses WigWag mentions fall under the provenance of the ultra-nationalist, quasi-fascist and rather fanatically secular Kemalist state established by the authoritarian modernizer Ataturk.” (Dan Kervick)
    That is true; many (but not all) of the dreadful Turkish policies I alluded to preceded the AKP’s rise to power. In fact, the AKP has attempted to ameliorate some of those policies, but some are so ingrained in the Turkish national ethos that it doesn’t matter who is in power. Turkey’s secular politicians are Armenian genocide deniers, so are the politicians from the AKP. Turkish misbehavior towards Cyprus had its genesis during the days of Turkey’s secular republic, it has continued unabated under the AGP. A few of Turkey’s most egregious violations have gotten worse under the AGP (bigotry against the Orthodox Patriarchy for example), some have gotten better, and many have been unchanged.
    I can understand that a secular Europe might object to a religious Turkey joining their Union, but Dan is right, this is about much more than religion.
    I presume that many Europeans would object to admitting other nations up for accession like Serbia and Croatia if they banned “You Tube” just like they object to admitting Turkey for the same reason.

    Reply

  8. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “BTW, debka says….blahblahblah….”
    Yes, Nadine, no doubt “DEBKA” is your source for the gospel. Why is it that so many bigoted jackasses seem to enjoy self-lobotimizing by turning to sources such as Newsmax or DEBKA??

    Reply

  9. Dan Kervick says:

    There is no sign yet of the AKP trying to undo Turkey’s democracy, Nadine. Erdogan tried last year to spearhead a “democratic initiative” aimed at expanding Kurdish political and cultural rights, but the Constitutional Court then shut down the Kurdish Democratic Society Party. Turkey’s ultra-nationalist ruling establishment has an established pattern of closing down parties to maintain an ideological lock on the government.
    “Turkey was never close to perfect but they used to be the ally of the US and now they are becoming the ally of Iran.”
    This is extremely simple-minded, and wrong.

    Reply

  10. nadine says:

    Dan, Islamist parties tend to be temporary democrats. They will get voted in democratically, but not out again. “One man, one vote, one time” is the usual motto.
    Turkey was never close to perfect but they used to be the ally of the US and now they are becoming the ally of Iran. This is very alarming and could only happen under a US President so weak that absolutely no one fears his displeasure.
    BTW, debka says fwiw that Iran is about to openly announce enriching uranium to 20%. They aren’t scare of the US either, and Obama has made it perfectly clear he intends to do nothing but drag his feet and “engage” some more.

    Reply

  11. Dan Kervick says:

    I also agree that Turkish accession to the EU is Europe’s business, and that Americans should try to stay out of that debate, even though US interests are clearly impacted.
    One the subject of Turkey itself, however, one thing that should be noted is the underlying tension between WigWag’s and Nadine’s conflicting negative assessments of the Turks. A good many of the abuses WigWag mentions fall under the provenance of the ultra-nationalist, quasi-fascist and rather fanatically secular Kemalist state established by the authoritarian modernizer Ataturk. For example, the You Tube incident was a court decision growing out of online insults and hostilities between Greeks and Turks, and was yet another case of the established Turkish state clamping down on criticism of Ataturk.
    This state, despite it’s militaristic bent and fiercely intolerant secularizing modernism, was obtusely admired by many militant secularists in the West as evincing “liberalization”, even during its frequent subversions of constitutional government and reversion to military rule. The Ottoman State, though it never effectively emerged from its traditional feudal structure, was in many ways a much more cosmopolitan and flexible polity, which adopted a pragmatic and de-centralized legal system based on the institutionalization of local legal codes as the empire expanded. I have found Daniel Goffman’s *The Ottoman Empire and Early Modern Europe* (Cambridge, 2002) a helpful reference.
    Nadine, on the other hand, loathes the AKP. But the AKP is clearly been the more democratic and economically progressive party in recent Turkish history. It has enacted a series of fairly effective reforms of the famously corrupt Kemalist state. The AKP has never attempted to Islamize the economy, but in fact the Turkish economy progressed tremendously under AKP rule prior to the recession, ending decades of statist inflation and stagnation. The AKP approach to religious issues is also somewhat closer to the American “free exercise” model of religious liberty than to the French or Kemalist imposed secularism model – under which only the non-religious seem to enjoy genuine and vibrant religious freedom. Erdo?an is, in my humble opinion, one of the most successful politicians in the world.
    Returning to the Ottomans and the old charges of Ottoman barbarism – many of which took legitimizing shape as Russians and other Europeans dismembered the weakened Ottoman Empire, I recommend Mark Mazower’s *Salonica: City of Ghosts* for a compelling account of the impact of the nationalist waves that helped destroy a prosperous and diverse commercial city (and ultimately all of Europe) and ripped it apart in a frenzy of relocation, separatism, chauvinism and fanaticism.

    Reply

  12. Paul Norheim says:

    And by the way, WigWag, you must have noticed that there is a strong moralistic,
    puritan tendency in American culture. You remember Tipper Gore’s heroic fight against
    Frank Zappa’s records, the Moral Majority, etc., don’t you?.
    As an American, I guess I would think twice before attempting to separate enlightened
    societies from primitive societies by rigorously using the criterium you suggested in
    your last comment. You never know: Twenty years from now, the likes of Prince (mixing
    sex and religion, remember?), Frank Zappa and the rappers may be banned in America –
    and your country would end in the “primitive society” category. The same could happen
    to Norway too, because as a people, we are just as moralistic as you are.

    Reply

  13. Paul Norheim says:

    Sure, Marlowe, Villon, to a certain degree also Montaigne, and certainly Martin
    Luther and William Shakespeare wrote, and probably talked like that, a long time
    ago. But three or four hundred years later, people would probably end behind bars if
    they wrote like that – in England under Queen Victoria, in most of the European
    countries, and perhaps in America as well?
    As you know, the limits determining what is acceptable, tolerated, or normal in
    speech and behavior change all the time, and depending on the context. 30 years ago
    it was acceptable to smoke in a bus, now it’s often not acceptable in your own home.
    When Plato and Aristotle wrote their works, homosexuality was commonly accepted and
    nothing to make a fuzz about; in 1895 someone accused Oscar Wilde of being a
    “sodomite”, and he went to jail: even 40 years ago, homosexuality was forbidden in
    most countries; and now gays and lesbians get married in my own country, among
    several other countries. In Uganda, as well as in certain other relatively new
    African nations – the development on this issue seems to go in the wrong direction.
    Does this mean that Uganda should be excluded from the African Union? Or would it be
    better to encourage them to change their mentality and laws within the AU?
    I certainly prefer a society where Oscar Wilde, Salman Rushdie, and Orhan Pamuk are
    not arrested and jailed – or even shot or stabbed. But how do you create such
    conditions, which means do you use to achieve these ends? Denying access to the
    Union? Debating? Interpreting Islamic texts in new and different ways? Educational
    means? Engaging in culture wars? Military means? Drones? Torture? Imprisonment with
    or without trial? Making laws against burkas?
    Turkey primitive – why? Because they don’t tolerate blasphemy? I could think of
    several not randomly chosen criteria, by which some cultivated people could easily
    argue that the United States is a primitive society, despite the promising documents
    and other political acts during its foundation; despite it’s elite universities;
    despite Wall Street, Las Vegas, and Pentagon. I strongly disagree with both
    suggestions, although I clearly see many of the huge and complex problems both
    Turkey and America are facing.
    The options are legio, and in the case of Turkey, I have no definitive answer. But I
    guess I would suggest a combination of encouragement and demands – regarding free
    speech, political and religious freedom, Cyprus, the genocide and a couple of other
    issues I can’t remember at the moment – with the intention of welcoming Turkey if
    they complied with these demands.

    Reply

  14. WigWag says:

    Paul, let me give you what my test would be for determining whether a nation should or should not be admitted into the European Union. Actually, I think it’s a good test for separating enlightened societies from primitive societies.
    Here for your consideration is a list of blasphemies:
    “By the stinking urine of John the Baptist.”
    “By the sour scant milk of God’s putative mother, the Jewish whore.”
    “By Saint Joseph’s absent left ballock.”
    “By the sweet wetness of Christ dandling the Baptist on his knee.”
    “By the sore buggered arses of the twelve apostles.”
    “By the abundant spending of the stiff prick of Christ crucified.”
    I suspect that most people who encounter these blasphemies for the first time find them shocking. In fact, they are not of modern vintage. Each of these blasphemies was first uttered by the great English poet and playwright, Christopher Marlowe, between 1585 and 1590; during the height of the Elizabethan era. They come to us by way of the British author, Anthony Burgess (best known for writing “A Clockwork Orange) who was a Marlowe (and Shakespeare) scholar. In fact, Burgess wrote a fictionalized account of Marlowe’s life entitled “A Dead Man in Deptford.”
    What’s fascinating is that Marlowe could verbalize these blasphemies and even commit them to writing, without being punished by the Elizabethan authorities. It’s interesting to note that during the period when Catholics and Protestants were fighting each other to the death in England and elsewhere, there were a fair number of English atheists who went unscathed, the most famous being Sir Walter Raleigh.
    These blasphemies were not actionable in England 500 years ago; nor are they actionable anywhere in the United States today. Despite their shocking nature, I could stand on any street corner in the United States and utter them without fear of criminal prosecution; Steve Clemons can allow them to appear on his website without fear of being hauled into the dock. My guess is that if you were to decide to translate them into Norwegian and repeat them to your friends and relatives, you would have no reason to fear prosecution either.
    It’s not just perfectly legal to articulate those blasphemies; while doing so might inspire scorn, it is unlikely to inspire physical violence at least in the United States and most EU countries.
    There is not a single state in the United States or nation in the EU where these offensive comments would be felonious; repeating them would be unlikely to inspire an angry mob to call for the speakers beating or death.
    So here would be my test: if a majority Christian nation were to make speaking or writing those blasphemies illegal, that nation should be excluded from the EU. If a majority Muslim nation was to impose sanctions on a similar but more relevant list of blasphemies uttered against the Prophet or Allah, that nation should not be admitted to the EU.
    So, Paul, how does that sound to you?

    Reply

  15. Paul Norheim says:

    You should know by now, WigWag, that if it was up to me, every writer in the world
    would be behind bars – especially novelists! (Got Pamuk’s last book as a Christmas
    gift, but haven’t read it yet.)
    Your kind words about my abuse of your language mean a lot to me, since you’ve read
    my comments for some time now. (My thanks go to Questions too, who said something
    similar in another thread.) Yes, the idioms… We Norwegians talk about the “other
    side of the coin” as well (is it from the Bible?), but I frequently have to search
    for the exact expression in English. And then there are of course plenty of idioms
    and words we simply lack – “mind boggling”… “an axe to grind”… you name it…
    English is extremely rich and flexible.
    I pick up a lot from the context, and I can’t think of a better way to learn a
    foreign language than by discussing interesting subjects with well informed and
    interesting participants. People may complain about the internet, but two decades
    ago, this would have been impossible.

    Reply

  16. WigWag says:

    By the way, Paul, on a completely unrelated note, I have been meaning to tell you how remarkable I think your command of English is. In the short time I’ve been reading your comments at the Washington Note, your command of the language has gotten even better. I used to notice that from time to time you had a little trouble with the tenses; but that seems to have completely abated.
    The reason this occurred to me is that in my last comment I used the term “other side of the coin.” I have been thinking recently what an incredibly idiomatic language English is; the sheer number of idioms that we English speakers use is mind boggling (there’s another idiom).
    For you to have such tremendous command of the language that you interact with such fluency with all the English speakers at the Washington Note despite our proclivity to use idioms is, I think, a real achievement.
    I would be delighted with myself if I could speak any language other than English with only five percent of the proficiency that you have achieved.
    All I can say is “bravo!”

    Reply

  17. WigWag says:

    Paul, I couldn’t care less whether Europeans decide to welcome Turkey into the EU or not. My comments are intended to present the other side of the coin; that would be the side of the coin that Katcher never presents. He’s a fan of Turkish accession; that’s fine (although it’s really not for Americans to say). But any one of the items I mentioned would be enough for a European to object to Turkish membership. That is, unless you think, my list is incorrect.
    Perhaps you would like to comment whether you think a nation that bans “You Tube” or makes it a crime for Turkish citizens to blame Turkey for genocidal behavior vis a vis the Armenians or indicts a Nobel Prize winner like Orhan Pamuk for insulting the Turkish nation should be admitted to the EU.
    I’d be very interested to know which of those actions by the Turkish state that you support. Or, if you don’t support them but still think its wise to welcome Turkey into the EU, I would be intereted to know why you think those actions should not be disqualifying.

    Reply

  18. Paul Norheim says:

    Nice try, WigWag.
    However, as a US citizen, making a list containing 10 strong arguments against Turkish
    membership in the EU, don’t you think that you too are meddling in European affairs, just
    like Ben Katcher? The difference is that you present your highly biased involvement as
    genuine European concerns, while Katcher doesn’t pretend to be the Voice of Europe.
    I have no problem admitting that I am meddling in US affairs all the time on these
    threads, if they have international implications. I usually try to stay out of strictly
    domestic affairs, but I sometimes brake that rule too. I think you should be honest and
    admit that you’re not better than Ben Katcher (or myself), when you “interfere” in
    European matters with wider implications. While it’s commendable of you to make attempts
    to guess which concerns the Europeans may have, and you demonstrate an impressive grasp
    of European history, the implications of this topic for Israel, the Muslim world, and
    America are simply so obvious that everybody should discuss these issues openly, instead
    of disguising their own biased positions as mere reflections of “European concerns”.

    Reply

  19. Philippe says:

    Bora
    -Have the refugees gone back home (both sides)? Has the status of “abandonned” properties been resolved ?
    In that sense it remains a war (I wish all wars were like that one)but You had understood that didn’t you ?
    Being into the EU gives Cyprus the right to veto the entrance of Turkey, what makes you think that the greek side would renounce such a weapon ?
    Peace treaty imminent, well they were on the verge of signing when we let them in. Not optimistic on that one.
    -Once in, Turkey will not have the same incentive to reform. EU is alreday dealing with Romania and Bulgaria on that subject. Adding Turkey accepted with low demands on these matters, would make it worse.
    -Eu structural funds are given to regions not countries. Turkey has highly industrialised regions with world class factories. It also has the poorest places in central Anatolia.
    -No EU country has a ruling party guilty of attacks against secularism. That is eitheir cause of concern against the party, or the strength of the country institutions.
    -Eu is full of problems, adding more by accepting Turkey would most probably freeze it as a free trade area. Some wish EU to be more than that.

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  20. WigWag says:

    I find it very entertaining that several of the commentators on this thread have accused Nadine of having a jaundiced view of Turkish accession to the EU because of her support of Israel. I suppose that we’re supposed to believe that when it comes to the Israel-Palestine dispute that those same commentators are perfectly objective and don’t have strongly held opinions that might make them more enthusiastic about Turkey joining the EU.
    Of course, one has to wonder what business it is of Americans like Ben Katcher whether Turkey joins the EU or not; it’s a decision that belongs to the people of Europe, isn’t it? Is it anything other than cultural imperialism for Americans to stick our noses into it? I don’t hear too many Europeans obsessing about whether Washington, D.C. achieves statehood or whether Puerto Rico joins the Union as the 51st state.
    At the very least, if Americans are going to comment, shouldn’t they try to reflect on the European point of view?
    My guess is (but it’s only a guess) that when Europeans reflect on whether Turkey should become an EU member these are some of the facts that they think about:
    1) The historical role of Turkey in Europe during the Ottoman era was barbaric; the most poor and backward nations in Europe today were the nations invaded and colonized by the Ottomans; the two poorest European nations are nations that converted to Islam under the Ottoman yoke.
    2) If Turkey enters the EU it will enter as one of the poorest if not the poorest nation. Lifespan, literacy, fetal mortality and per-capita GDP are all worse in Turkey than in any other EU member. In fact, most of these parameters are dramatically worse in Turkey than in most other EU members.
    3) While not all EU members have come to terms with the role that they played in liquidating European Jewry, they all at least acknowledge that genocide took place; Turkey denies its role in the Armenian Genocide; in fact, Turkey says that there was no Armenian Genocide.
    4) Turkey is interfering in the internal affairs of Armenia and Azerbaijan by arming opponents of the Armenians in Nagorno Karabah.
    5) Turkey treats its minority groups far worse than minorities are treated in any EU nation. Tens of thousands of Kurds have been killed by Turkish forces in only the past few decades and the Turkish Supreme Court just outlawed the largest Kurdish political party; 30 members of the Kurdish political party were expelled from Turkey’s legislature last month. The Alevi (ten percent of the Turkish population) experience religious bigotry and discrimination when it comes to government employment; they are increasingly marginalized and angry.
    6)”You Tube” was banned in Turkey in 2007.
    7) In the 1970s when Turkey invaded Cyprus in response to deplorable behavior on the Island inspired by the Greek junta, 150 thousand Greek Cypriots were expelled from their ancestral homes in the North by the Turkish army. Their homes were given to Turkish Cypriots who remain in them to this day. It is bizarre to see commentators who object to Israeli settlements ignoring the behavior of the Turks.
    8) Turkey treats the Orthodox Patriarchy in abysmal fashion. Despite being the “Rome” of Orthodox Christianity, the Orthodox Patriarch (the spiritual leader of 300 million Orthodox Christians) has complained bitterly about how disrespectfully he and his church are treated by the current government in Turkey. The Turkish authorities specifically refuse to refer to him by the title to which the Patriarch has been referred for 17 centuries; the Turkish Supreme Court has actually made it illegal to refer to him as the “Ecumenical Patriarch.” While non Orthodox Christians may not understand the symbolic importance of this, it has outraged tens of millions of Orthodox Christians. The Turkish Government also refuses to return Orthodox property stolen from the Church that it wishes to use as religious schools including the property where the current Patriarch (Bartholomew I) got his religious training.
    9) The vast majority of EU members are increasingly secular and even those nations where religion is more important accept the separation of church and state. Turkey in an increasingly religious society where the separation of Mosque and State is far less important to the current government than it was to Ataturk and his progeny.
    10) Section 301 of the Turkish Penal Code makes it illegal to “publicly denigrate Turkishness, the Republic or the Grand National Assembly of Turkey.” The penalty is imprisonment for six months to three years but the penalty is increased by one third in the case of a Turkish citizen who “insults” Turkey while outside the country. While the law has been watered down in the attempt to placate the EU, since 2005, 60 cases have been brought under the article including a case (later dropped due to public pressure) against Nobel Prize winner (for literature) Orhan Pamuk.
    If the Europeans want to have the Turks join the EU, more power to them. But it’s increasingly hard to understand why Katcher and others have such a hard time understanding why millions of Europeans might have second thoughts.

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  21. AtaGreek says:

    Americans and Turkophiles! How about Turkish complete disregard of the illegal immigrant invasion of the Greek islands. Eurozone states have better immigration agreements with Libya and Morocco than with Turkey. Turkey regulary threatens of the Europol and Greece immigration services and it should be a known fact that Turkey illegally flies over Greek airspace.

    Reply

  22. nadine says:

    bora,
    Might I point out that in 1974 the Turks invaded Cyprus, ethnically cleared half the island of Greeks, replaced the Cypriote Greeks with Turkish settlers, whom nobody ever, ever calls “settlers” or suggests the arrangement is anything but permanent?
    “- The Islamism of AKP is no more potent than the “Christianism” of conservative EU governments.”
    Oh really? Thats what Erdogan defends Sudan and Hamas? And could you please inform us who the “Christianist” theocracies of Europe are because I’m only aware of secular governments in Europe?

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  23. nadine says:

    Turkish Prime Minisiter Erdogan defends Sudan, saying “It’s not possible for a Muslim to commit genocide”:
    Erdogan Defends al-Bashir, Says Muslims Incapable of Genocide
    By Asbarez Staff on Nov 9th, 2009
    ANKARA (Combined Sources)–Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan continued his government’s denial of the ongoing genocide in Darfur on Sunday, questioning International Criminal Court (ICC) charges against Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir on grounds that “no Muslim could perpetrate a genocide,” the Turkish Today’s Zaman newspaper reported Monday.
    Nearly half a million people have been slaughtered and nearly 3 million more forced from their homes since the government in Khartoum launched its genocide in February 2003. The Sudanese government denies it is committing genocide.
    The ICC indicted al-Bashir in March on seven counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity, but stopped short of including a charge of genocide. Turkey is among the few countries to have not yet ratified the Rome Statute, which requires compliance with ICC rulings.
    According to the Turkish Prime Minister, Bashir may have mismanaged the situation, but the international warrant for his arrest is a mistake.
    Turkey has been facing heavy criticism for agreeing to host al-Bashir at a summit of the Organization for Islamic Conference (OIC) scheduled to take place in Istanbul on Monday.
    “It’s not possible for a Muslim to commit genocide,” he said. “That’s why we are comfortable [with the visit of al-Bashir].”
    http://www.asbarez.com/2009/11/09/erdogan-defends-al-bashir-says-muslims-incapable-of-genocide/

    Reply

  24. bora says:

    Philippe,
    – Describing the Cyprus problem as war is absurd. Especially since both sides meet each other almost weekly and there is an understanding nowadays that either Cyprus will agree to the Turkey/US/EU/UK backed confederation plan or the island will divide forever. Please follow the latest news about the island.
    – The faults of the judiciary system are the exact reason why the reforms and accession process should go on and we are certain now that what Turkey actually needs the most is a brand new constitution, and they are working on it at the moment.
    – There is no evidence that Turkey will get a very large amount of aid and Turkish economy is stronger than much of Eastern EU members, furthermore it is expected to continue the upwards trend in the coming years. Please follow the latest economic news from the country.
    – The Islamism of AKP is no more potent than the “Christianism” of conservative EU governments.
    However, despite of all these I’m not sure if EU has any real future and it is in the benefit of Turkey to join in an incompetent union.

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  25. Neo Controll says:

    It doesn’t matter whether you feed her or not. Nadine will be here spreading her hate and propaganda.
    “Islamist”, “Islamic”. Cute trick. The fine discriminating mind of the public surely notes the difference.

    Reply

  26. Philippe says:

    Dirk
    About the Armenian genocide, true it was under the empire, but if you dig a little deeper in the who did what, you notice that some if not most of the founders of modern turkey took part in it as members of the ottoman army or administration. It is quite hard to acknowledge for modern Turkey that some of it’s founding fathers where criminals.
    Much harder than questionning the way George Washington fought in the French and Indian war…
    Do not forget that :
    -Turkey is at war (no peace treaty) with cyprus a member state of EU
    -It’s judiciary system is questionnable (and there are recognition of arrest warrant in the EU, would you and over a kurd accused of terrorism to Turkey with certainty that he will receive due process of law?
    -Turkey would be the biggest recipient of EU structural funds for the forseabble future.
    -It has an islamist party in power(true of the most respectable kind but still).

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  27. Richard says:

    Nadines comments are absurd. Period. I spend a good deal of time in Turkey and not just in Istanbul. Nothing in her remarks remotely suggests any knowledge of Turkish politics, its regional interests, Islam as practiced in Turkey or its government. Europe has some justifiable concerns but those are concerns that can be addressed to both Merkel’s and Sarkozy’s probable satisfaction. As for other concerns about Islamist programs, including Sharia, being imposed, these are patently wrong.
    Furthemore, lest anyone forget, Turkey is a strong NATO ally with the best chance for helping to develop an inclusive peace settlement in the Middle East and act as a balance against Russian expansion. She is no longer a quiet bystander or knee jerk follower of US policy. Too bad. Get used to it.
    Nadine is clearly an apologist for Israeli policies under its current extremist regime. Don’t feed her. Oh – and I’m not Moslem and I do share some of the rational questions about Turkish membership.

    Reply

  28. Marc Larivière says:

    How can Ben Katcher so peremptorily assume that “good news” for the US is therefore “good news” for us, Europeans ?
    I understand he may be biassed as an American who would rather have Turkey inside the UE than allied to the nuclear-to-be Iran and other islamist countries mentioned by nadine, but as a Frenchman, I do not really feel like being one day compelled to bow before an islamic, if not islamist, majority, imposing its ways and its non too likeable sharia law… Majority makes law, I am sorry to tell you, Ben….
    Fortunately,(to speak like Ben…) nadine understands very clearly and thoroughly this issue and I delight in reading her comments (than which you can find no better, lol!)

    Reply

  29. nadine says:

    “Turkey is a beacon and touchstone of a modern combined Islamic/secular state with broad influence in the region. ” (Dirk)
    Not under the present government. The AKP is NOT secular. Period. Wake up and smell the coffee. As for Turkish Kurdistan, by all accounts it is a war-torn mess, not that anybody cares what the Turks do. They seem to have advanced beyond calling the Kurds “mountain Turks” as they used to; I suppose that is something.

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  30. nadine says:

    Jackie, I suggest you look up the difference between “Islamic” and “Islamist” as your question suggests you don’t understand it. Islamist parties aim to institute Sharia as the law of the land; that is clean contrary to Turkey’s Kemalist traditions and everything that has allowed Turkey to modernize. The current AKP Turkish government is not only Islamist itself but regards other Islamist governments, including Iran, Hamas, and the Sudan as its allies — and says so.

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  31. Dirk says:

    Ben,
    The biggest EU concern this past year was the passing of the Lisbon Treaty; no more countries could be accepted into the EU without that passing. The size and growing dis-function of the EU was a real concern.
    Now that it is passed the greatest priority, at least for me, is stabilization of the EU economy and the growing confidence in and functionality of the EU bureaucracy.
    The EU also has the problem of what the radical conservative potential Tory government in England will do some time this summer. Will they withdraw or stay within the EU and what will their fellow conservative followers in other EU countries do?
    New EU members, at least for me, should be those within the boundaries of Europe. I have no problem with Turkey acceding to the EU, but I look forward to their further modernization and liberalization. In Germany there are still weird honor killings as well as occasional proxy battles between Kurds and Turks.
    Turkey is a beacon and touchstone of a modern combined Islamic/secular state with broad influence in the region. It should be able to proudly accept the Kurd minority as it has for the most part and accept at least partial responsibility for the Armenian genocide, by its predecessor the Ottoman empire, without reflecting poorly on the modern state that Turkey has become.

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  32. ... says:

    yes to jackies last 2 lines… nadine is providing the hasbara, that’s all…

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  33. Jackie says:

    Nadine,
    Do you have a problem with all religions or is it just Islam? You make “Islamist” sound like a dirty four letter word. I have to agree with Mr. Metzler and easy e.
    I don’t think Turkey whips up “Islamist fervor”. They are just disgusted with Israel’s brutality towards the Palestinians and so am I. It is not a great way to win friends and influence others.

    Reply

  34. nadine says:

    What the AKP government of Turkey is doing only marginally affects Israel. It affects Europe and the Arab world and the United States much more, as the current despotic and unstable Iranian regime vies with the US for hegemony in the Middle East. Pretending that none of this is happening is not “anti-Israel”; it is simply idiotic and surreal in supposed foreign policy experts. Above all, commentary must be grounded in reality and not make-believe.
    Turkey is to busy positioning itself as an ally to the soon-to-be nuclear Iran to worry about entering the EU. Anybody thinking about US policy in the Mideast would do far better to think about that, and to consider why Turkey is placating Iran at our expense.
    But unfortunately, we have a President who has just discovered, to his openly expressed surprise, that Mideast peace is not easy. Gee whiz, who could have seen that coming? Maybe for his next basic lesson in foreign policy he will figure out that Iran does not want to be our ally no matter how nicely we talk to it. Did you see Richard Haass, ever the realist, finally call for supporting regime change in Iran?
    Enough Is Enough
    Why we can no longer remain on the sidelines in the struggle for regime change in Iran.
    By Richard N. Haass | NEWSWEEK
    http://www.newsweek.com/id/231991

    Reply

  35. Syed Qamar Afzal Rizvi says:

    Miguel Angel’s views about Turkey conveys a bit of positive reflections on transforming/evolving the acquis politick- the EU’s leadership under the Spanish liberal ideological moorings.

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  36. easy e says:

    Warren Metzler: “Nadine, I have to ask, are you a member of Israeli intelligence, assigned to
    monitor TWN, and ensure that all entries that call Israeli’s middle
    east dominance and righteousness into question are vigorously
    combated?”
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    Good question – – – sounds like a euphemism for “hasbarist”. Much of the TWN community has wondered the same and many are convinced. Oy vey!

    Reply

  37. Warren Metzler says:

    Nadine,
    I have to ask, are you a member of Israeli intelligence, assigned to
    monitor TWN, and ensure that all entries that call Israeli’s middle
    east dominance and righteousness into question are vigorously
    combated?
    You seem to be incapable of accepting that anything that is not
    over the top pro-Israeli is okay, in a way that doesn’t seem
    possible for a politically aware pro-Israel American jew.

    Reply

  38. nadine says:

    This is simply surreal commentary. The current AKP government of Turkey is Islamist. They are moving Turkey into the orbit of Syria and Iran. They make it clear they support Tehran on the nuclear issue. They openly support fellow Islamists Hamas and Bashir of Sudan, calling them innocent of human rights violations. They whip up Islamist fervor inside Turkey and have ended the Turkish-Israeli military alliance. (They used to need it for defense against Iraq and Syria; now Iraq isn’t a threat and they are allied with Syria.) They are destroying the foundations of the Kemalist secular state.
    And Ben Katcher pretends none of it is happening. He can’t understand why France and Germany should be so retrograde as still have objections to Turkish entry into the EU. Well maybe they are better clued into reality.

    Reply

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