At the time when the heads of state of the European Union have just opened the negotiations concerning the membership of Turkey in the EU (a process which can, however, be interrupted at any moment) and when, at the same time, the rise of Islamism in Turkey is worrying the opponents of the Turkish candidature, it is good to analyze step by step the arguments of the supporters of the membership of Ankara.
Firstly saying that Turkey is European is as much true as saying that France is African in as much as it was a former colonial power. Turkey is neither European geographically (except for Istanbul and Thrace); nor is it European in terms of its habits (Islamic endogamy, honour killings, etno-religious discrimination); nor, for that matter, in terms of its cultural consciousness. The Turks regard themselves as an Asian people whose Golden Age was the peak of the Ottoman Empire and, even if a small Kemalist minority or the inhabitants of the poshy suburbs of Istanbul feel European, the inhabitants of the favelas of Istanbul or of Ankara or Anatolia feel closer to their Iraki neighbour than to the Northern European or even the Christian Greek.
Secondly invoking the ireversibility of the Turkish membership on the pretext that Ankara signed an association agreement in 1963, is a member of NATO and of the European Council, or doing it simply in the name of earlier promise does not hold water. The NATO and the European Council are not the key locks for the entry into the Union. In reply to the official demand for entry from Ankara rejected in 1987 the European Parliament voted for a resolution overshadowed today demanding, in vain, the recognition of the Armenian genocide; the improvement of the condition of the religious minorities and the Kurdish minority; and the retreat from Cyprus. It is Ankara which has failed to fulfill its obligations and not the other way around. Far from being due, the process of the integration of Turkey can be interrupted at any moment on the decision of Brussels or through a veto power of one member state.
Thirdly saying that it is necessary to integrate Turkey so as to show that Europe is not a Christian club and does not reject an Islamic candidate is absurd. Does anyone demand from the Arab League to integrate Israel or India in order to prove that it is not a Muslim club? In this bad process the roles have really been reversed because it is up to Turkey to prove that it is not a Muslim club. There are more Muslim Turks in Paris than Christians in the whole of Turkey (100 000) which has been a 99% purified Muslim country since the genocide of 1.5 million of Armenian and Assyro-Chaldean Christians (1916), followed by the expulsion of 2 million Greeks in 1922. No attempts have ever been done to remember the infamous crimes the negation of the genocide being continuously taught at school. Moreover, Ankara continues to deny the existence of its minorities Assyro-Chaldeans, Catholics and Alevis.
Fourthly saying that Turkey remains a secular exception and is a natural ally against Islamism thanks to the legacy of Ataturk is erroneous. The new Turkey allows and claims back all that which was rejected by Kemal: the veil, the Islamic political parties, the Muslim brotherhoods, compulsory religious instruction at school. Its laws against blasphemy would codemn Ataturk himself! Kemalism came to a hault in the 50s and 60s with the governments of Menderes and Demirel and got politically dead under Turgut Ozal, that great architect of the re-Islamization which abolished the article 163 which had prohibited the Islamist parties. How can one, therefore, maintain that a country in which 70% of women are veiled; whose state supports 90 000 imams and thousands of mosques; which mentions religious affiliation on the identity cards; which prohibits high public and military functions to non-Muslims; and which is ruled by a party (AKP) stemming from an Islamist movement a movement which has been attaining victory in elections since the beginning of the 90s (the great municipalities have been almost all run by the Islamists since 1995) is still a secular country? Though absent from the texts, the Shariah is nevertheless firmly anchored in the heads of those who voted for the AKP or who read the bestseller of the manager of the campaign Dilipak, the book bearing the title: Long Live Shariah.
Fifthly we hear an a explanation that the Turkish Islamists who hold power are moderate and pro-Western, they maintain the ties with the NATO and Israel. One forgets the remarks of the Prime Minister Erdogan and of his Minister of Foreign Affairs the pro-Saudi Abdullah Gul, justifying polygamy in front of an audience of the German SPD, explaining that the democracy is not a goal but a means or congratulating himself on having received in Istanbul the Afghan terrorist cheif Gulbuddin Hekmatyar. As for the ties with Israel, Erdogan warned that he will break them off if Sharon continues to persecute the Palestinians. The American allies themselves have known since the war of Irak that re-Islamicized Turkey no longer co-operates the way it did before.
Sixthly we also hear an explanation that it is necessary to integrate Turkey in order to help it become more democratic. The European Union is indeed a space of peace and democracy but these are, however, firmly rooted in our cultural worldview and thus limited to the peoples of Judeo-Christian civilization shaped by Greco-Roman ideas rooted in Europe. This already makes many more people more fit for democracy before Turkey. Ukraine, Belarus and Russia are infinitely more European than Turkey. Every geopolitical entity must have clear limitations for otherwise we are dealing only with a neo-imperialist phenomenon intended to expand without end. The reports of the Commission (5 November 2003) or of the European Parliament (Oostlander 17 April) showed, moreover, although Turkey realized these reforms on paper, they have not been implemented in reality: the Kurds continue to be deprived of their rights and the tribunals confirmed the sentencing of Kurdish deputies to 15 years in prison; the Christian religious foundations still cannot collect donations; offences such as the expression of opinion are still more severely punished than honour killings; the Turkish military still occupies Cyprus and the Armenian genocide continues to be denied more than ever (a monument of 45 metres recently built along the Armenian border commemorates the genocide of 150 000 Muslim Turks by the Armenians). If Europe must not have any other identity but that of human rights then the recognition of the Armenian genocide and the removal of the Azero-Turkish blockade, which has been suffocating Armenia, ought to be the first issues on the list among the criteria of Copehagen.
Now let us have a look at what would be the consequences of the Turkish integration:
Do our leaders realize that Turkey inside Europe will become the major state of the Union: from the year 2020 it is likely to have 100 Turkish deputies mainly Islamists in the European Parliament (against 72 for France and 98 for Germany). Do they realize that it will be the first military and demographic power of the Union (almost 100 million of inhabitants and 850 000 soldiers)?
The entry of Turkey into Europe will open the Pandora box of the expansion. Why then should we refuse 200 million Turkish-speaking peoples of the Caucasus and Central Asia or thoses from the countries of North Africa? The EU would inherit all the contentious geopolitical issues (water, borders, minorities etc) which Turkey faces with its neighbours. We should not forget either drug trafficking, arms trafficking and smuggling of illegal immigrants of which Turkey is the major centre.
Do we realize that the Union will have for its immediate neighbours Iran of the Mullahs and Syria the sponsor of Hizbullah; and also Irak of the Jihad inspired anti-Western al-Qaida; and Azerbaidjan and Georgia areas crossed regularly by Islamo-terrorists of the Chechen Jihad? In spite of all this, the partisans of the Turkish candidature insist that this will allow us to avert the clash of civilizations and to fight the Islamist menace.
We are all told that Europe would be a chance for Turkish democracy. It will be in fact a chance for Islamist Turks, so far condemned to tone down their programme and suffer the alliance with America and Israel as long as the army controls the country.
Once booed by Erdogan, today the Christian club has become the only objective exterior ally capable of imposing the dismantling of the militarist-Kemalist power. The main goal here is to avenge, after having perfected the de-Kemalization of the country, the affront suffered in 1923 at the time of the abolition of the Caliphate and the Shariah. So, if we want to preserve the Kemailist exception so much invoked by the pro-Turkish enthusiasts then the European leaders would better think twice before they set off a process which they would not be able to control like it happened before in Iran when the West prevented the Shah from suppressing the Islamo-Khomeinist revolution.