Relationship of Turkey with the European civilization
|Relationship of Turkey with the European civilization 26/05/2004|
The non-existent relationship of Turkey with the European civilization
by Spyridon Vailas
Turkish soldiers exhibit "proudly" the heads of beheaded Kurdish rebels.
The latest speech by the Archbishop of Greece Christodoulos against Turkey's membership to the European Union (EU) agitated the backwater of the Greek political establishment. It is an issue which all parties in the Greek parliament agree on, while the Greek Socialist government and the Liberal Opposition promote it in the EU institutions, without ever explaining to the Greek people what are the consequences of Turkey's membership to the EU. Archbishop Christodoulos had the courage to word not only the truth, which is that Turkey has no position in the EU, but also expressed what the national interests direct.
One wonders how is it possible that the Greek government and Opposition play into Turkey's hands in relation to its EU prospect. European civilization, which is based on the values of ancient Greece, Christianism, the State of Law and civil rights, is in direct opposition to what is Turkey. Turkey is an muslim state with a military-controlled "republic" regime. Does it have any relationship with the values of the Western civilization? Does it belong geographically to Europe? Of course the occupation of Eastern Thrace does not transform a par excellence Asiatic country to a European one. Therefore Turkey does not satisfy any of the criteria which connect the EU nations. Neither political, nor religious, geographical or cultural. Turkey never belonged to the European civilization. The so-called europeanization of Turkey can only cause hilarity.
Archbishop Christodoulos said nothing more than what most Europeans argue for. Let us not forget that many Christian-Democrat MPs by different states, who participate in the European People's Party, have spoken against Turkey's membership to the EU, therefore coming to opposition with Karamanlis, the Greek Opposition leader, who calls for the acceleration of the procedures for Turkey's membership to the EU. Other European leaders suggest to give Turkey a "privileged neighbour relationship" with the EU, with a parallel resignation of Turkey's ambitions for a full membership. Recently the EU rejected Turkey's demand to start immediately membership negotiations. The former German chancellor Helmut Schmidt said that he considers the prospect of Turkey's membership to the EU from unrealistic to disastrous. In a recent poll in Germany, 42% of the Germans came out for Turkey's membership only "under conditions". What does membership under conditions really mean? The rejection of Turkey's membership by the Germans.
The tombs of the Constantinople Patriarchs, after the September 1955 pogrom against the Greeks of the City.
Last month the European Commission in Brussels stressed that the occupation of Northern Cyprus is an obstacle to the European ambitions of Turkey, while the Commissioner in charge of the EU enlargement Gunter Verheugen clarified that "it is inconceivable for a state-member of the EU to be protected by UN forces", referring to Cyprus. It is indeed an oxymoron an EU candidate state to occupy the land of an EU member state. The reactions against the entry of Turkey to the EU are many all over Europe. Turkey has not convinced the European partners that she respects human and political rights.
The bitter truth worded by Archbishop Christodoulos may disturb the political regime of the Socialist Party PASOK and the Liberal Party New Democracy, but come up to the feelings of the European nations. New Democracy maintained dead silence for the Archibishop's speech, obviously for vote-hunting reasons, while PASOK and various "progressives" attacked him because they cannot forgive him for expressing national views. Of course the "Midnight Express" culture which Turkey is well-known for, is not far from the Gulag culture which was enforced by their ideological fathers, but is poles apart from the Greek and European culture which accept freedom of speech and human rights.
The Greek government says that the EU prospect of Turkey serves our national interests. But how? If for example 200.000 Turks come and settle in Western Thrace, a feasible hypothesis, are our national interests served? Others say that Greece supports Turkey's membership to the EU to turn down the tension in our bilateral relations, throwing the ball to the other Europeans. Such a short-sighted and detrimental for our national interests policy could only be applied by PASOK and New Democracy. Hellenic Front and the European nationalist parties are against Turkey's membership to the EU. However in case Turkey joins the EU, Hellenic Front argues that Greece should immediately leave the EU, because this is the only way to safeguard our national interests and identity.