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Eurosceptic Bloggers

Friday, December 16, 2005

Turkey and the European Union

This is a copy of a comment I made on Samizdata:

Since the coming to power of the AK Party Government, there has been a struggle going on, mostly away from the eyes of the public. This has over recent months become a lot more overt.

The alcohol issues is the latest in a long line of arguments, where the government has tried to pull the country back to islamic ways and the secular establishment has fought back. The secular side has won more battles than it lost and many began to believe that the battles were all show on the part of the government. Recently they seem to be making more headway.

There are five very big problems though.

1) The business elite are prostitutes. They are by and large not natural supporters of the islamists but they know where their monetary interests lie. Therefore potentially the biggest voice against islamisation is largely quiet.

2) The army has been at least partially made impotent by legislation made at the behest of the EU. At the end of the day they have the guns, but as the last post modern military coup shows, they didn't actually have to use them before. Now interim options are lost. (By the way military coups are easy when there is no plurality of media, now they would need to take over 100 or so TV stations.)

3) Press laws make in depth discussion difficult. I don't know if these things are ever reported but the Prime Minister sues anyone who ever dares to "insult" him. As most of his mistakes come from the fact he is ignorant and uneducated, this makes political discourse difficult. These laws are actually far more important for press freedom than anything the EU gets worked up about. They have always existed but noone has used them to this extent before.

4) The west worries mostly about the Kurds. In my humble opinion that problem is secondary to other issues of freedom. (After all 20% or so of the population is Kurdish, 50% is female and for the most part second class).

5) The ruling elite are actually nearly all graduates of Imam training schools. They do not understand the concepts of freedom and democracy in the least. It is obvious from their statements that they lack the philosophical foundations to discuss any of the issues that we see talked about on Samizdata every day.

Where does the EU fit into all this?

1) They have ruined the one, albiet not very liberal, insurance against creeping islamisation. 2) They are falling for Mr Erdogans talk of freedom over issues like head scarfs. (The girls are not free to make their own choices in many cases) 3) They are pushing Turkey to spend too much energy on issues that are not important for Turkey's development. 4) They give many Turks, who are sensitive about these things, the idea that they are enemies, always focusing on the Kurdish issue. 5) They ignore the fact that the government is trying to push religion into daily life.

If Turkey actually joins the EU its economy wil be ruined by the EU's regulations and the fight will become even more precarious.

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