How much Anatolia can Europe take?

December is virtually here and Turkey’s hopes are growing that it will be granted a date to begin accession talks with the European Union. And many – both Europeans and others – share Turkey’s hopes, but not Giscard Valery D’Estaing. «Turkey does not belong in the European Union,» says the former French president and founder of the European Constitution, who insists on granting Turkey a «special partnership» instead of full membership. D’Estaing’s objections are chiefly based on the great distance separating Turkey from European policies and cultural values; the catalytic argument, however, is that of its population. If Turkey does join the EU, the population of the bloc will increase by 90 million. Based on the EC’s new decision-making system, Turkey will then be entitled to the largest number of votes due to its large population. D’Estaing is reacting to the prospect of Turkey joining the EU – something that has been embraced by many Europeans due to the strategic, economic and trade benefits they envision from such a large and geographically strategic new member. But at the top of the list of objections to Turkey joining the EU is the issue of minority rights. The multiethnic communities of France, Germany, Italy and the Netherlands have worked pretty well. But, as the former German chancellor Helmut Schmidt queried: «How much more Anatolia can Europe tolerate…?»