OPINION

Europe’s fears

In a great show of strength, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan earlier this week expressed the hope that Europe «would pass the test successfully» on December 17. Meanwhile, on the subject of torture, he asked Europe not to «play» with Turkish sensitivities. But at least Erdogan says all these things in public. Because now none of Europe’s cowering leaders can get away with telling its citizens that they didn’t know what was coming. Despite the advantages offered by the size of the Turkish market, there are very few voices from within the European Union pushing for Turkey’s accession for economic or other reasons. Evidently they realize that the potential losses full Turkish membership would bring would be far more serious than the possible gains. Indeed, the policies of most European capitals toward Turkey’s EU accession are ruled by fear. There are several reasons for this. One is that the large Turkish communities in many European countries are already finding it hard to adapt to Western liberal democracies. Another is the intense pressure being exerted by the USA for Turkey to become part of Europe… Yet another fear is that of speaking the truth, in the sense of acknowledging that Europe cannot accommodate a country belonging to a different culture and religion. It is no coincidence that the founder of the European Constitution himself, Valery Giscard D’Estaing, is the most passionate opponent of Turkey’s full membership of the bloc…