Friday 30 July 2010

"No" to Turkey joining the EU

There’s  renewed push to get Turkey into the EU.  Most recently, and shockingly – well, I was shocked – by David Cameron during his visit to Turkey.
Theodore Dalrymple, commenting on another issue, noted:
“An important feature of sentimentality – one that is disastrous in deciding policy – is the mistaking of a wish for the fact. “[1]
David Cameron mistakes a wish for a fact: he wishes that Turkey can be a bridge between the Muslim world and mistakes that for a fact, or an achievable fact.  But this is the sentimental fallacy: and one which, as Dalrymple notes, is disastrous for deciding policy. In this case, disastrous for Europe as well.  Let me explain...
[2 Aug postcript: Peter Hitchens (the younger Hitchens) on Turkey's joining, here.  (hat-tip to RH)].
Cameron's wish that Turkey provide a “bridge” between Muslims and the west and assumes as “fact” that it can happen and assumes further as "fact" that there is difference between “radical Islam” and the nice peaceful Islam of conventional wisdom.  But that is just wish, a chimera, not a fact.
This wish-for-fact fallacy is ably skewered by Rod Liddle here.  Liddle could also have quoted Turkish PM Erdogan himself in regards to that alleged split between “radical/extremist” Islam and peaceable Islam:  commenting about so-called "moderate Islam" in 2007, Erdogan said:
"These descriptions are very ugly; it is offensive and an insult to our religion.  There is no moderate or immoderate [sic] Islam.  Islam is Islam and that's it." ( MilliyetTurkey).
[BTW: what kind of "Islamophobe" does that make Erdogan, one wonders?  Given that if non-Muslim critics were to make the same statement, they would be excoriated as being the worst of Islamophobic bigots]
Others, notably in the US, have blamed Turkey’s drift to the East, its cozying up to Iran, its tilt against Israel, as having been a reaction by Turkey to the delays in getting into the EU.  In other words, Turkey is offended, I guess, and once again it’s the west’s fault.  Turkey has become more Islamist, because it was rebuffed by the west; because of this, it is leaning more towards Islamist regimes such as Iran and siding more obviously with Hamas and other Palestinians against its erstwhile almost-friend Israel.  Or so goes the "thinking" in the west.
But Indonesia and Malaysia are both becoming more Islamist, and they have been rebuffed from no club. The Setara Institute reports a tripling of Islamist attacks on Christians in Indonesia in 2010, regarding them as signs of growing Islamism, unstopped by the government.[2]  In Malaysia, pro-Islamic parties are making inroads.   These Islamist drifts are the result not of being rebuffed from by the west, but of the resurgence of Islamism, which is apparent in all parts of the world and Turkey is just part of the trend.  There is nothing to suggest the trend to Islamism would be any the less if Turkey were in the EU club; while by being in the club, the baleful Islamist influence would entrap pusillanimous EU politicians, public servants and the public at large.
There many reasons why Turkey should not be allowed into the EU:
Increased pressure for Sharia law.
“With a projected population of 100 million by mid-century it would dominate the European Parliament from the moment it was admitted.”[3]
99.8% of Turks are Muslim.  There is no doubt that increasing by five-fold the number of Muslim in an enlarged Europe would lead to more calls for Sharia law to be implemented in the EU.  There cannot be any doubt about this, because there are already calls for increased Sharia in Europe, and that's with a Muslim population of 16 million.
For example see the number of Sharia courts in the UK, which hear cases for Muslims which cannot be appealed in common law and which regularly discriminate against women and children.  The pressure can only build when the EU has 100 million more Muslims, making 20% of the population.
Sharia is the draconian law of Islam: Christopher Hitchens calls it “the living death”.[4]  Read about it also in Cruel and Usual Punishment by Nonie Darwish, or the books of Ayaan Hirsi Ali, both brave apostates from Islam. For the Sharia law pure and undiluted, read the Classic manual of Islamic law, the Umdat al-Salik, called “The Reliance of the Traveller” in English, a simple and easy-to-read yet authoritative explicator of Islamic law according to the four major schools of Islamic jurisprudence.

Downward pressure on blue-collar wages: most Turks say that the reason they want Turkey to join the EU is so that they can freely travel and work there.  Turkish wages are 60-70% below average European ones.[5]  Increased immigration from Turkey can only bring about downward pressure on wages which will disproportionally affect blue-collar workers.
I guess that people can make a case that there would be some moral dimension to this: that somehow Europe “owes” it to poor Turks to allow them to have jobs in the rich EU.  But to do this with no argument, no debate?  To simply brush aside any concerns on the issue as “xenophobic”?  (I have heard commentators on BBC radio calling concern about jobs taken by immigrants “a xenophobic myth”; it is not, as evidence from the UK government’s owns Office of National Statistics shows[6]). 
At the very least there should be clear and open airing of the issue of what an extra 40 million low-wage workers will do to work prospects for those already resident in Europe.  Surely those already resident are owed at least that; or don’t they have any rights? Or is the expression of such “rights”, by definition “xenophobic” and “Islamophobic”?  It is also ironic that those pressing for Turkey to join the EU are from the Left which should show particular care for the livelyhoods of the working class.  If that was ever the case, it is clearly not any more.
Culture: Turks are culturally much more conservative than Europeans:  90% would not countenance living next to a homosexual and 62% think it perfectly acceptable to have more than one wife.[7]   Is it naturally “xeno-or-Islamo-phobic” to have concerns about such views, which the West -- and the Left --  have fought for decades to overcome?  And which we have, until now, considered to be a progressive trend?
Public opinion against:  About 67% of Europeans do NOT support Turkish accession to the EU.[8]
And yet proponents keep pushing for Turkish accession, dismissing valid and cogent concerns.  Ex UK Europe minister, Denis Macshane, for example, says “…Across Europe, politicians wave the specter of 80 million poor Muslims flooding into Europe if Turkey were to join the EU…”.
80 million Muslims coming into Europe is quite OK then?   80 million expecting one-third of local wages is nothing to be concerned about?  80 million with social and cultural values which any other group we would consider unenlightened and regressive --  and "there's nothing to see here"?  Surely the public is owed rather more respect than the arrogant dismissal that their concerns are merely a "specter".
Assimilation (or lack thereof). Friends of mine have argued that the Turks will assimilate into European society culture, just as have the Greeks, Italians, Vietnamese and Chinese in Australia.  But that’s another case of "wish" in place of reality; just a case of wishful thinking.  Of hope; and hope is not a policy.
The reality is that Turks, second and third generation on, in Germany are more conservative than their parents: over 90% of Turks, including those born in Germany, seek partners in Turkey.  This is a deliberate statement of refusal to assimilate, a choice not to assimilate.[9]  What “fact” is there to shore up the “wish” that the new immigrants will hew to enlightened European values, rather than push for Islamic and Sharia values?  Answer: none.

Then there's the experience of Greece.  There's much criticism that it was allowed to enter when it was too poor and unready for the rigours of membership.  Of course the same holds for Turkey a fortiori.
The flag above comes from this website, which covers the Greek factor in a bit more detail. [BTW: I'm not sure the flag is supposed to show what it seems to: the Islamic crescent all but dominating the rest of the EU; but it's apposite, for that's what it would do].
In sum, Turkey’s accession would increase the pressure for Sharia law, would reduce average real wages in Europe, would bring retrograde pressure on social  and minority issues, and is against the clear will of a substantial majority of Europeans.  And for what?  For the “wish” (the hope) that they may be a "bridge" to Islam and stopped from drifting into ever more Islamist arms. 

It is far more likely that those arms will drag a culturally ambivalent Europe along the Islamist path itself.

Say NO to Turkey joining the EU!
Erdogan may be knocking; don't let him in -- 
he prefers metaphors other than "bridges"
“The minarets are our bayonets,
the domes our helmets,
the mosques our barracks
and the faithful our army.”:  ref.

TEN more reasons why Turkey should not be allowed to join the EU

[1] “Prison may not work for them, but it works for us”, The Spectator, 24th July 2010, p 18
[2] “Christians in Indonesia, unable to build, exposed to growing harassment”, International Herald Tribune, 29th July 2010.  (note: as of 29th July could not find online)
[3] Reflections on the Revolution in Europe, Christopher Caldwell, Doubleday, 2009, p.307. 
Caldwell underestimates the increase.  At 1.272% population increase the 2010 Turkish population of 77.8 million (CIA World Factbook) will reach 100 million in 2030 and in mid century will be nearly 130 million.  Thus Europe would have a population in 2030 of 600 million of which 120 million, or 20% would be Muslim.
[4] Hictch-22, a Memoir, Christopher Hitchens, Atlantic, 2010, p257
[5] CIA Factbook
[6] 1997-2009: “UK-born employed fall from 18.4 million to 17.7 million, while foreign-born rise from 1.5m to 2.8m”.  at
[7] Pew Research Centre
[8] Eurobarometer poll, 2005
[9] Caldwell, op cit, p.225