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Wednesday March 9th 2011
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Newsbook
Turkey and Europe
Mr Erdoğan goes to Germany
Mar 1st 2011, 22:01 by A.Z. | ISTANBUL
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IT IS no secret that Turkey's efforts to join the European Union have not been going well. But a bout of Europe-bashing this week by Turkey’s mildly Islamist prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, has exposed just how rotten relations have become since the EU formally began membership talks with Turkey in 2004. All the more so because Mr Erdoğan made his comments in Germany, where he was meant to be shoring up Turkey’s case. If anything his visit has had the opposite effect.

Mr Erdoğan's German hosts were outraged by a speech he delivered in Dusseldorf on Sunday before a huge crowd of Turkish immigrants. He accused Germany of seeking to forcibly assimilate its estimated 3m-strong Turkish community. "Nobody will be able to tear us away from our culture…our children must learn German, but they must learn Turkish first," he thundered. Not so, riposted Guido Westerwelle, who said German had to come first.

Mr Erdoğan was taking aim at Germany’s chancellor, Angela Merkel, who drew Turkey’s ire last year when she declared that multiculturalism in Germany had “utterly failed.” She appeared to be echoing the views of Thilo Sarrazin, a German central banker, who last year argued, in a bestselling book, that German culture was at risk from “parallel” Muslim societies.
What about Turkey’s estimated 14m Kurds, Mr Erdoğan's hosts may well have asked. Although Turkey's ruling Justice and Development (AK) party has eased restrictions on the Kurdish language, thousands of Kurdish activists are on trial for advocating greater rights for their people and are barred from speaking Kurdish in court.

Mr Erdoğan’s invective was not reserved for Germany. A day later he told a group of Turkish and German businessmen in Hanover that the idea of NATO intervention in Libya was “absurd”; the alliance had no business meddling in non-member states, he said. Mr Erdoğan suggested that Western interest in Libya and in the Middle East in general was driven by "calculations centred on oil wells" rather than democracy and human rights.

Mr Erdoğan’s fury will have been fed by a visit to Ankara on February 25th by Nicolas Sarkozy. Much like Ms Merkel, France's president advocates a so-called “privileged partnership” for Turkey with the EU instead of full membership, a view he repeated during last week's visit—which was restricted to five hours, against Turkish wishes.

Mr Erdoğan declared that the Franco-German stance proves that the EU is a “Christian club.” In an interview with a German television channel he called on the EU to reveal its “true intentions... If you do not want to take Turkey into the European Union then say it clearly and openly,” he huffed.

Turkey has good reasons for being aggrieved. The EU has failed to deliver on promises to ease a trade embargo on Turks in Cyprus mainly because of protests from the Greek Cypriots, who joined the EU in 2004. Turkey believes, probably rightly, that its other detractors, notably France, Austria and Germany, are using Cyprus as an excuse to torpedo Turkish accession.

Membership talks have all but ground to a halt. Of the 35 “chapters” into which the negotiations are divided, as many as 18 have been blocked by the EU as a whole, by Cyprus or by France.  Only one chapter, on science, has been concluded. And none has been opened under the current Hungarian presidency. Egemen Bağış, Turkey’s chief EU negotiator, is said to have asked Mr Erdoğan to scrap his job.

In private, many AK leaders sniff that Turkey can do perfectly well without the EU. Their confidence has been compounded by Turkey’s growing regional clout, especially in the Arab world, where Mr Erdoğan is hailed as a hero thanks to his repeated salvoes against Israel.  There is more and more talk of a "Turkish model" for the rebellion-wracked Middle East.
Moreover, Turkey’s economy has weathered the global financial crisis relatively unscathed. Growth this year is predicted to average 5%, not far behind India and China. Opinion polls suggest AK will win a third single-rule term in elections due on June 12th.

What a third term of AK rule bodes for Turkish-EU relations remains unclear. AK leaders, notably the foreign minister, Ahmet Davutoğlu, insist that EU membership remains a strategic goal. But so long as Turkey believes that the EU needs Turkey more than it needs the EU, it is unlikely to make the kind of radical concessions—such as opening its ports to Greek Cypriot vessels—that would unblock the talks.
In the meantime, Mr Erdoğan’s tirades may win him votes at home, but they will only provide further fodder for Mr Sarkozy and Mrs Merkel.
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So... wrote:
Mar 1st 2011 10:28 GMT
That's so mildly Islamic.
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forsize wrote:
Mar 1st 2011 10:48 GMT
I think we should develop color codes for how islamist someone is. mildly doesn't tell me anything, but what if he was orange? or saffron?
here's some quotes from our mild(saffron) islamist:
"We will turn all our schools into İmam Hatips [religious schools]"
"Thank God Almighty, I am a servant of the Shari'a."
"Swimsuit commercials are lustful exploitations."
"Assimilation is a crime against humanity"
"Islamophobia is a crime against humanity, adding that no one can attack things that are sacred to Muslims using freedom of expression as an excuse."
"The mosques are our barracks, the domes our helmets, the minarets our bayonets and the faithful our soldiers..."
well I'm relieved already, that sounds really saffrony.
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SAS wrote:
Mar 1st 2011 11:41 GMT
Europe's chickens have finally come to roost. For years Europe has treated its immigrants with contempt and disdain, insisted newcomers fully assimilate with refusing to respect their right to be who they really are. This is in addition to the overt discrimination Turkey has faced over its EU bid simply for being Muslim.
Mr Erdogan, after having reformed his country's economy and political system in order to meet rules, could and should have been the most pro Western leader of any Muslim nation. That he has today become such an brave and articulate critic of Western policies is something the intolerant likes of Merkel and Sarkozy can be given full blame for.
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shaun39 wrote:
Mar 2nd 2011 12:51 GMT
Mass migration; cultural subjugation. These are among the greatest fears in Germany, France and Austria.
I'm confident that most citizens would accept a 25% pay cut rather than opening borders to a massive, poor and culturally distinct country like Turkey.
Any arguments based on perceived economic interest carry no weight.
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PL123 wrote:
Mar 2nd 2011 7:59 GMT
forsize wrote: Mar 1st 2011 10:48 GMT I think we should develop color codes for how islamist someone is. mildly doesn't tell me anything, but what if he was orange? or saffron?here's some quotes from our mild(saffron) islamist:"We will turn all our schools into İmam Hatips [religious schools]""Thank God Almighty, I am a servant of the Shari'a.""Swimsuit commercials are lustful exploitations.""Assimilation is a crime against humanity""Islamophobia is a crime against humanity, adding that no one can attack things that are sacred to Muslims using freedom of expression as an excuse.""The mosques are our barracks, the domes our helmets, the minarets our bayonets and the faithful our soldiers..."well I'm relieved already, that sounds really saffrony.
------------------------------
@ forsize
This is not more arrogant than the western politicians, like Sarkozy and Merkel. Turkey don't need EU, may be EU will bet Turkey to join in 10 years. How about that !!
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Anjin-San wrote:
Mar 2nd 2011 8:01 GMT
@shaun39
"I'm confident that most citizens would accept a 25% pay cut rather than opening borders to a massive, poor and culturally distinct country like Turkey."
We've been doing that for 20 years now in Japan....
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FelAmsterdam wrote:
Mar 2nd 2011 8:38 GMT
No one should brand Merkel and Sarko ignorrant. i ve been many times to Germany and quit frankly we have the same issues in Netherlands. Some turkish speak very bad in the language they live in (which usually is not the language they grow up in as thats mostly turkish) why is it always the turks which are badly integrated and non of the italian or croatian emigrants?
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A_Campbell wrote:
Mar 2nd 2011 9:13 GMT
The unfortunate truth is that the modern Turkish state has a deplorable record as regards its minorities. Armenians, Greeks, Kurds, Arameans, and a host of other minorities have been persecuted, their places of worship destroyed, Christians are forbidden from building new churches, schools and cultural institutions. Erdogan's rhetoric is little more than racist populism - Turks ought to have their culture promoted abroad whereas peoples indiginous to Anatolia are discriminated against by the Turkish state.
Modern Turkey's behaviour frankly is anathema to Western values of tolerance and plurality. Turkey is generations away from approaching the levels of sophistication necessary to join Western nations and political leaders ought to be honest in acknowleging that fact.
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PL123 wrote:
Mar 2nd 2011 9:13 GMT
It was because Germany had long ignore the intergration of Turkish second generation immigrant. Just over 10 years ago, CSU Stoiber was still talking about "Leitkultur" to force other culture into German culture. Germen has never interested in other cultures, besides visiting the coastal resort of Turkey, buy some carpet. They have everything, from good Auto to gutes Essen. Now the second generation are up and Turkey economy is doing well. They have a paraell society for themself.
Don't label Turkish as lazy and not willing to intergrate, the society is not accepting them. They label them as Islamic threat, backward. Lot of German-Turkish professionals can`t find jobs in German society cause they are not German. How you want them to intergrate. Germany is not like USA has a clear discrimination law, so is the reality.
And one must blamed the German-Turkish men married to low-educated Native Turkish women, cause they can´t handle the German-Turkish young women's literal mind (like German).
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Tom_May wrote:
Mar 2nd 2011 9:16 GMT
Erdogan had a lot of nerve making that speech. He's doing himself and the Turks in Germany a massive disservice.
If the German Turks want to be more accepted then they have to become more German. If 3rd generation Turks in Germany still hardly speak the German language, you know that something can't be right.
After the fall of Communism, Germany also had a large influx of people from the East, mostly Russia and Poland. The difference is that these people actually wanted to integrate, they wanted to achieve something. And while there are also problems with Russian communities in Germany, after two generations you can't distinguish them anymore. They speak the language perfectly, they accept Western values and they consider themselves German.
Similarly with Vietnamese immigrants who are a remnant of communist ties between East Germany and Vietnam. They wanted to adapt, they speak the language, they live a western life.
The Turks (and other muslim immigrants) on the other hand never wanted to integrate, they rather want to live just like they did back home. They fly in wives from the Anatolian hinterland to marry their sons in Germany who then get locked away and who never learn the German language or have any contacts outside the Turkish community. They grow up with a sense of entitlement but never actually want to earn any respect. This just doesn't jive well with the indigenous population and that shouldn't come as a surprise.
Of course I'm painting this with a very broad brush here. There are of course exceptions and especially among muslim nations of origin, Turkey does have a secular history which also means that among Turkish immigrants there are many who in fact share the values of the Enlightenment. Unfortunately, they're a small minority and ever since Erdogan's islamic party took control, Turkey has taken a turn for the worse. The country gets ever more islamic, ever more hostile to freedom and speeches like this are meant to intensify that shift. I don't believe for a second that Erdogan wants to join the EU after a this speech or the one last year. These speeches are meant to drive a wedge between Turks and the West and thereby to create a feeling of unity. It's classical in-group vs. out-group rhetoric. By victimizing themselves and projecting all their problems on the "Christian" out-group, they further move away from successful integration.
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dog007 wrote:
Mar 2nd 2011 9:19 GMT
Mr Erdoğan ask Turkish residence of Germany who mostly immigrated in 1990s to preserve their Turkishness and asks german government for Turkish education.
While his government denies the same right to native Kurds who lived in Anatolia for over 5000 years and spoke Kurdish long before arrival of Turks to Anatolia with brutal Gengis khan’s invasion campaign some 900 yars ago.
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KoolTurk wrote:
Mar 2nd 2011 9:27 GMT
@Tom_May,
You must have a lot of nerves to write:
"If the German Turks want to be more accepted then they have to become more German. If 3rd generation Turks in Germany still hardly speak the German language, you know that something can't be right."
That is a clear sign of discrimination, why would anyone wanna be more German? Besides you blame the 3rd generation Turks not speaking German, have you talked to any one of them?
Get it?
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KoolTurk wrote:
Mar 2nd 2011 9:31 GMT
@dog007
Genghis Khan has nothing to do with the Turkish arrival in Anatolia in 1071, it was Alp Arslan who conquered Anatolia, with the help of Armenians who were discriminated long time by the ruling Byzantine Greeks/Romans.
Read some history and educate yourself before you write anything as hate speech here.
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KoolTurk wrote:
Mar 2nd 2011 9:39 GMT
@A_Campbel
"Modern Turkey's behaviour frankly is anathema to Western values of tolerance and plurality. Turkey is generations away from approaching the levels of sophistication necessary to join Western nations and political leaders ought to be honest in acknowleging that fact."
I am sure your real name is David Angelo Merkel Cameron Sarkozy. You contradict your very own Western multicultural rhetoric with what you wrote above and what the actual situation is.
Did you actually listen to Erdogan's speech?
I condone what Turkey in the early and mid 20th century did to minorities, nevertheless, you are trying to implement the very same thing in Europe today.
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Tom_May wrote:
Mar 2nd 2011 9:39 GMT
@Kool_Turk
"That is a clear sign of discrimination, why would anyone wanna be more German? "
See, this is exactly the problem. First of all, it's not discrimination. That claim is simply you victimizing the Turkish community once more. It's not discrimination to demand from people who permanently want to live in Germany to speak the German language, it's not discrimination to demand from them to respect and live by German values, it's not discrimination to expect them to become more German.
On the other hand, why would anyone want to live in Germany if he despises Germans and their culture. Quite frankly, if you don't want to become more German, you shouldn't be living there.
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hpetre wrote:
Mar 2nd 2011 9:48 GMT
Turkey still has issues, but there is no question that the current "islamist" government is handling minority questions and civil liberties infinitely better than its "secular" predecessors. Moreover, although Erdogan is wrong to insist on the turkishness of emigrants in Germany, it's probably unavoidable that he should react to the torrents of abuse directed against them, not only by that idiot Sarazin, but also by Merkel, Sarkozy and other would-be Huntingtons.
The Arab awakening is probably at least as significant for Europe as 1989 was. Instead of grabbing the opportunity, we are obsessed with an islamist threat which is largely imaginary and with illegal immigration. The EU's attitude towards Turkey, which will probably be the model of all those new democracies, is a prime example of the decline of Europe into geriatric self-centeredness and parochialism.
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EROGLU wrote:
Mar 2nd 2011 10:05 GMT
Mr.Erdogan is completely right about EU's double standard. EU is a christian clup more than an economic and political union.
Actually Sarkozy's and Merkel's most influantial fair is of Turkey's huge Muslim population and losing majority in EC in case of Turkey's membership.
The only advantage of being EU member is political stability for Turkey, nothing more. But Turkey has getting more and more stable policy and economy in recent years. Further, Turkey's economy growing faster than all EU countries.
EU is becoming old and sick of the region and loosing it's power and effectivness in the global area vice versa Turkey.
Turkey does not need EU anymore but EU.
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Swedane wrote:
Mar 2nd 2011 10:08 GMT
Erdogan is right when he says:
".......If you do not want to take Turkey into the European Union then say it clearly and openly,” he huffed."
If our European politicians do not have the guts to tell Turkey this simple truth I suggest we have a quick Europe-wide referendum which our timorous and politically correct cowards of politicians can hide behind. It seems obvious to me that Turkey shall not become an EU member quite simply because it is not European, neither culturally nor geographically, nor in any other way. And since the Turkish economy is doing so well wouldn't it be an idea to start a phased out and generous repatriation of those Turks in Europe who are not integrated in our societies? They could then become an additional asset for Turkey.
Remember: multiculturalism has officially been declared dead now.
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irmdn wrote:
Mar 2nd 2011 10:16 GMT
Turkey needs EU? It should be a kind of joke, Turkey is a sleeping giant also in some decades we should expect new unions which will be established in east part of globe..
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PL123 wrote:
Mar 2nd 2011 10:18 GMT
"Remember: multiculturalism has officially been declared dead now."
------------------
@ Swedane
One question is: when did multi-culti start in Germany? Not very long and Merkel declared it is dead. England is a Multi-Culti, but not Germany.
I am not protecting Turkish, they should responsible for their intergration too, but the European wind is blowing against them all.
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