Mohammad Ahmad" />
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Tuesday, September 26, 2023


Why isn’t Turkey included?

A lot of ruckus is being raised about Turkey’s application to the European Union. On the one hand, some attribute Turkey’s exclusion from the union as bigotry. Others see it as a confirmation of Samuel P. Huntington’s theory of the Clash of Civilizations. The controversy revolves around the fact that Turkey, an overwhelmingly Muslim state, applied for membership in 1987, and which has yet to be granted. States like the Czech Republic and Slovenia that applied in 1996 have since been admitted.

As is typical of human society, some find this as an opportunity to vent their personal feelings by alleging religious and cultural intolerance. Interestingly enough, some Europeans do argue for Turkey’s exclusion on these grounds. The heart of this cultural and religious tension is that they don’t want to see a so-called Islamist takeover of Europe. So which is it – Europe’s intolerance, an Islamist threat or a clash of civilizations?

Each member state of the EU is represented in a parliamentary democracy, in which political parties can run for election across all states. This means they can potentially form the entire EU government. The Christian Democrats, a center-right party, has been the dominant force, holding on to power since 1999. As with any party, it is in their interest to expand their power or at least maintain it. Obviously they would not accept Muslim Turkey’s ascension in to the EU, as that would dilute their power.

Furthermore, Turkey is ruled by the Justice and Development Party, known as the AKP, which labels itself as the "Muslim Democrats" and has recently shunned the Islamist label. At the risk of sounding facetious, it is hard to imagine Christian Democrats enthusiastically reducing their political power by adding Muslim Democrats to the EU. Therefore, common politics of power cause Turkey’s indefinite delay instead of European intolerance or even the so-called clash of civilizations.

The doomsayers who see an Islamist takeover of the EU are also incorrect. According to the CIA World Fact Book, Turkey’s population is 71.1 million, and not all citizens are Muslims. Adding this figure to Europe’s estimated 63.7 million Muslims shows the mathematical impossibility of a Muslim takeover. A combined total of about 135 million Muslims will not overwhelm 426 million non-Muslims in the EU.

Others argue that the growth rate of the Muslim population combined with immigration presents a scenario where an Islamist takeover is possible. This argument is also weak because it presumes all Muslims are Islamists; that is, all Muslims share the same political ideology, completely devoid of secular economic and social concerns such as lower taxes or universal healthcare. Furthermore, it presumes that the current fertility rate of Muslims is higher than of non-Muslims in Europe, although no such survey has been conducted in the EU. In fact, such surveys are illegal in many European states. Higher fertility rates of immigrants may probably be true, however the absence of actual survey data means the argument is based on speculation instead of empirical evidence. Finally, the argument assumes that the EU’s immigration policy will remain static for the next century, but that is unlikely since the issue will not go unnoticed by parties like the Christian Democrats.

On the flip side, the EU’s domestic policies are socialist leaning. This puts enormous pressure on the state to provide services that are expected by its constituents, yet it is cash strapped to pay its workers. This is why Europe heavily depends on cheap labor that comes in the form of immigrants – most of whom are Muslim.

The result is that these very immigrants are easy victims to policies of inequity. They are not provided equal access to social services because they are not citizens, and it is particularly difficult to become a citizen in countries such as France, where birth does not guarantee citizenship. Even 4th generation Europeans of foreign descent are automatically considered immigrants. Their exclusion from the state’s social services naturally increases ethnic tension.

The folly of disenfranchising minorities in our country led to economic inefficiency, social embarrassment and ethnic conflict. Clearly the Europeans have not learned from our example.

The story so far: the EU is unable to pay for its social policies so it invites immigrant workers and then disenfranchises them, which leads to social tension. The problem is that Europeans cherish their socialized health and unemployment insurance, fewer working hours and longer holidays. They are unwilling to give up this lifestyle, yet also want to get rid of immigrants upon whom their economy depends.

This explains the sudden surge of right-wing politicians, such as French Prime Minister Nicolas Sarkozy, who ran on the neo-liberal agenda which includes immigration policy reforms.

Furthermore, the European love affair with social services precludes those policies from being blamed, so the economic anxiety and anger of society is instead redirected to the most easily targetable group: the immigrants – most of who just happen to be Muslim.

This is why the myth of an Islamist takeover has become widespread in Europe.

As for the actual Islamists, they benefit from the continued disenfranchisement of their constituency, and their anti-Western agenda grows more appealing to the excluded Muslim. This is why more and more Muslim youths in Europe are radically protesting.

The bottom line is that Turkey will be refused EU membership because of domestic politics and economic reasons and not because of a so-called clash of civilizations, European fascism or a vague Islamist threat.

The latter two are reactionary retorts – products of personal bias that serve as self-fulfilling prophecies, rather than as sound political analysis.

As for the EU, a CIA report stated that "the current EU welfare state is unsustainable and the lack of any economic revitalization could lead to the splintering or, at worst, disintegration of the EU, undermining its ambitions to play a heavyweight international role." If the ultimate socialist state, the Soviet Union, spectacularly imploded, so might the EU – but perhaps in slow motion.

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