Why are the United States and Great Britain so eager to have Turkey in the EU? Why should the European Union accept or deny Turkey’s membership? What is Turkey and who are the Turks?
Turkey is a Republic, with a secular government. Even though more than 98% of the Turkish people are Muslim, Turkey has no state religion. There are also Catholics, Greek Orthodox and Jews who live in Turkey, and the Constitution guarantees religious freedom.
In the 1920s, Turkey began political, economic and social reforms under Kemal Ataturk. He created a parliamentary form of government and adopted European laws. Under his able leadership, his government created new industries, and improved the status of women and education. In another attempt to modernise Turkish society, he tried to bring the Kurds and other tribal people to abandon their tribal way of life.
Mostly Asian than European, only 3% of Turkey occupies the European side. But its geographic location is in close proximity with three continents–Asia, Africa and Europe, which makes it an attractive strategic point in the arena of economics and politics. The Turks are not fully European, nor are they fully Oriental.
It is now 2005, and Turkey lies at the heart of certain world issues. America tells us that Turkey is an example for other Muslim nations to emulate — but that is not sufficient reason to justify membership. What we should examine is what really lies beneath America’s motive to push for Turkey’s EU membership, and that leads us to Turkey’s strategic location.
America is interested in Turkey’s neighbours and the natural resources they hold. It is to America’s interest that Turkey allies itself with the United States. Like Great Britain, Turkey will be another American Trojan horse in the EU. And in what better way for this alliance to happen, than by helping Turkey get what it wants — membership in the European Union. Membership will bring wealth to this developing nation through EU subsidies.
But America will surely demand reciprocity, a barter trade of sorts. It is obvious that America will ask that Turkey provides for logistic and military support in America’s exploitation of its neighbours’ most important natural resource: oil. Turkey will be America’s toehold in the region.
Great Britain merely follows the bidding of the United States in pushing for Turkey’s membership. Allies would not be allies if they were not in unison in this great political dance of power.
But there is one insidious problem that Europe will face if Turkey should join the Union, and that is its borders. Bridging two continents is an advantage, but this will also allow easy access of economic migrants into Europe. There is also concern with migrants from Turkey, but there exists a language barrier for most of them. The majority of Turks only speak their native language. So if border issues are addressed in a shrewd manner, then the European Union should benefit from Turkey’s membership. Turkey is a nation with a rich cultural heritage and a nation of hard-working people.