General Question

oratio's avatar

Should Turkey be let into the Union?

Asked by oratio (8870 points ) April 26th, 2009

Turkey is a muslim nation, has the second biggest population of europe with it’s 71 million people, and one of the biggest and strongest military forces.

The country is a democracy and has abolished the death penalty, the economy is strong and is a european country.

Basically they are eligible to join.

But Turkey do have democratic problems and persecutes their kurdish population. They have problems with corruption, criminal organisations, trafficking of women and recently had an election that is quite questionable.

The country itself is divided into a secular side and a religious one, and has become the center and forerunner of the islamic version of intelligent design.

The development in the region somewhat worrying, and it doesn’t help that there is ottoman nationalism growing. It wasn’t long ago Turkey was a world power.

Strong voices speak of stronger ties with the islamic nation. Basically we risk losing Turkey from being a part of the european family. Not only do europe need Turkey of economic and political reasons. We also need them – not in spite – but because, they are muslims.

I am aware of that the treaties have to be rewrittten into a constitution to allow more than the current 27 member states before any other country can join.

Should we let them in the Union? Why not, or why so?
Is the Union a christian club?

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13 Answers

Mamradpivo's avatar

While I’m not a European citizen, I’ve spent a fair amount of time in Europe. It’s always seemed to me like the main engine driving anti-Turkish sentiment is simple racism. The Turks invaded the Austrian Empire in the seventeenth century, and that has a lot of people upset. I’ve always felt like one of the primary goals (even if unstated) of European Union was to help heal the past and look to the future. I don’t know how Europe can look to the future without addressing Turkey (and the Muslim states in North Africa), a net exporter of jobs and goods to the EU states.

So far as I’m concerned, if Bulgaria gets to join, Turkey should have been invited 20 years ago.

mattbrowne's avatar

Yes, because the benefits outweigh the risks. All criteria have to be met, though which could still take a while. But it’s mostly going in the right direction.

This article (even in the revised form) must be erased completely, otherwise Turkey won’t qualify:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Article_301_(Turkish_Penal_Code)

Article 301 is a controversial article of the Turkish Penal Code making it illegal to insult Turkey, the Turkish ethnicity, or Turkish government institutions. It took effect on June 1, 2005, and was introduced as part of a package of penal-law reform in the process preceding the opening of negotiations for Turkish membership of the European Union (EU), in order to bring Turkey up to the Union standards. Before the amendments made on April 30, 2008 it used to make it a crime to insult “Turkishness”. Since this Article became law, charges have been brought in more than 60 cases, some of which are high-profile.

LKidKyle1985's avatar

Here I read this interesting article a few days ago that seems to have a good argument for why turkey should not be allowed into the European union. Link

Vincentt's avatar

@Mamradpivo – haha, I know of no person who opposes Turkey joining the EU because they invaded the Austrian Empire. In fact, I think you’ll even have a hard time finding people who even know that it happened (I didn’t, sort of).

Anyway, as for my opinion: of course they should be allowed to join, as soon as they fit the requirements. And I don’t doubt that it will happen then. However, I don’t think we should let them in as long as they haven’t complied with the requirements.

Lightlyseared's avatar

Turkey is not a muslim state. Turkey is a secular state, something that it takes incredibly seriously for example banning women who work in the public sector from wearing head scarfs.

oratio's avatar

@Lightlyseared True. Still it is a muslim country, just as the US is a christian country, and even sweden can be considered a christian one. We are not talking about theocracy, but muslim in the sense of culture and major religious beliefs.

Jack79's avatar

Depends on what criteria you use, but I’d say NO (for now at least).

Turkey is in fact two countries. A lot more divided than East and West Germany ever were.

There is Western Turkey, the way Kemal dreamt it would be, a European country with people willing to move forward, co-operate with other countries in the EU, solve the issues with Cyprus and Greece and work on human rights and democracy. A lot of the younger generation is like that.

And there is Eastern Turkey, a remnant of the Ottoman Empire, with rising fundamentalism, headscarfs and militant nationalism. Right now they outnumber the modernists by far.

And on top of all that you have a military dictatorship pulling the strings. Whatever the “official version”, Turkey is a country run 100% by its army. And until that changes, it has no place in the EU.

Being an officially muslim nation has nothing to do with it, because overall it is not a theocracy such as Iran, so that’s not really a problem.

The paradox in Turkey is that the choice is between theocratic 19th century religious fanatics and a latin-america style junda. There is a significant number of secular western-minded people, but not enough to tip the balance yet. I believe that the Army/Church divide must be resolved before the country (or rather the society) can move forward.

Not to mention the ailing economy.

Yesterday was the 94th anniversary of the Armenian genocide. Imagine the reactions if Germany had never recognised the Holocaust. Yet Turkey is allowed to pretend 1 million Armenians just “disappeared” overnight.

westy81585's avatar

I have no “horse in the race” and really, I don’t care to be honest. I don’t see why they’re not allowed in, but if that’s the way the EU votes, then that’s the way they vote.

NaturalMineralWater's avatar

As long as Ham and Swiss can join.. Turkey should be able to.. just add some mustard and some sour dough bread.. mmm mm (ok ok I’m sorry… it had to be done)

oratio's avatar

@NaturalMineralWater I am not sure if Ham goes with Turkey though. I have to ask the danish.

NaturalMineralWater's avatar

@oratio Oh man.. you went pastry on me.. that’s right.. you went there. xD

oratio's avatar

@NaturalMineralWater Yes, that’s right. I let the cat out of the box.
Oh man, Schrödinger will kill me.

eponymoushipster's avatar

I’m all for it. Whatever we can do to capture that rascally Jefferson Davis.

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