Wednesday, December 17, 2008

What Next? Turkey

For Turkey to become an EU member would change the Union, a point that we should not seek to hide from our citizens. The European demos has to be party to the deal, and it should not be impossible to convince the public of the Turkish case if we try. A Turkey with a population of rising 90 million with a vibrant economy and young workforce would help to vitalize Europe’s economy as the west-European population ages and declines. A democratic Turkey, secular and Muslim, would assist in preventing the cultural divisions and clashes that we sometimes appear intent on provoking around the world. A militarily professional Turkey would give the EU more credibility as a civilian power able to act occasionally with an effective military smack. Reject Turkey and the EU will have chosen to write a much smaller part for itself in the history of the twenty-first century, and having been so successful in promoting stability around our borders we may find ourselves doing the reverse.
That’s from Lord Patten’s ‘What Next? Surviving the Twenty-first Century’ (2008: Allen Lane, p. 419), which everyone should read, if only to get clear on what’s been happening recently.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Dear Enigman

You seem to quote Patten on Turkey approvingly, and I wonder why. Is the Turkey described here some ideal that may ensue in the future? When was Turkey last able to ‘assist in preventing the cultural divisions and clashes that we sometimes appear intent on provoking around the world’, and who are ‘we’ anyway? Turkey has certainly delivered effective military smacks to other states in the past and demands to have a right to intervene unilaterally in future too. But prevention by invasion sounds like a strange sort of prevention.

Anonymous said...

Not so fast. Turkey, under the Tansu Ciller government, did try to deliver a military smack on behalf of the Azeris against the Armenian nationalists in Nogorno Karabakh, but pulled back when it disovered a bigger beast - the Russian Bear - standing behind the Armenians.