1180) Turkey And The Hypocrisies Of Europe, Fred Halliday

16 December 2004

Fred Halliday dissects four underlying arguments against Turkey’s admission to the European Union - and finds them all wanting.

The European Union is attempting to create common European institutions and policy: a worthy and desirable project, if a pale reflection of the original, liberal-internationalist aims of the 1950s. It has agreed two momentous decisions in 2004: the inclusion of ten new member-states, and the foundation of its legal identity embodied in a new constitution. Now, at a summit in Brussels on 16-17 December 2004, it faces a third: whether to open negotiations with Turkey that will lead to that country’s membership of the European Union. . .

There are, however, few sights so undignified as that of European states in a condition of moral indignation, and the unseemly debate over this major strategic issue has not just divided but shamed many Europeans. While some states – led by the United Kingdom and Spain – wish to proceed with serious negotiations with Turkey, and others take a more ambiguous or even hostile stance, the argument reveals more about the European “community” than about the Turkey it has been preparing to judge.

A rhetorical device favoured by opponents of Turkish entry is to affirm the “Christian” (or “Judaeo-Christian”) foundations of Europe. The former French president, Giscard d’Estaing; the current Italian prime. .

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