Looking Eastward: Turkey’s Bluffing Game

On January 25, Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced that he thought Turkey should consider looking east for allies instead of to the Western European powers. Europe has been stringing Turkey along with the carrot of EU member status since Oct. 3, 2005, when, alongside Croatia, Turkey began accession talks.

“We are not the ones that are undecided; the European Union is. Whereas if they would just reveal their true intentions to us, we would be at ease. … The European Union needs to stop stalling us. … We told [Russia], if you say come, we will come,” said Erdogan in an interview printed in the Turkish newspaper Sabah (translation from Pravda).

Why doesn’t the European Union want to bring Turkey into the fold? It is stronger economically than Croatia. Its GDP of over $783 billion grew at a real rate of 3 percent last year, 2012 unemployment was 9 percent and its budget deficit was only 2.6 percent, a little more than half of Croatia’s. And with a labor force some 25 times the size of Croatia’s, there is a greater potential for industrial capacity and productivity.

“Still, for every obstacle Turkey hurdles, the EU throws up another. Since 1987, when Turkey applied for full membership, 15 other states have cut to the front of the line and been accepted: Austria, Finland, Sweden, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia, Bulgaria and Romania,” Joel Hilliker wrote in the November/December 2007 Philadelphia Trumpet. “The Turks have watched the Union swell from 12 states to 27, while they remain peering through the window from the outside.”

As bad as Turkey has wanted in, why has it been blocked at every turn by the EU? The answer is simple: religion.

The fundamentally Roman Catholic continent simply has no intention of incorporating 70 million Muslims in one swoop. And Turkey—with its Ottoman history, which at one time threatened Catholicism’s very existence—has particularly negative associations in European minds. As Bernard Lewis expresses it, ‘[T]here is still a reserve of mistrust, and even at times of hostility [toward Turks], with roots deep in the European Christian past’ (From Babel to Dragomans)” (ibid). Compare Turkey to Croatia—where Croatia is majority Catholic, Turkey is 99.8 percent Muslim.

Simply put, Turkey is too Muslim to ever integrate into the EU. Christianity [read Catholicism] and Islam just don’t mix. You only need to read a history book to prove that fact.

Full article: Looking Eastward: Turkey’s Bluffing Game (The Trumpet)

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