European Union expansion to Turkey

Free Thinker
I realise that a lot of members of this forum might not know much about the politics of the EU, but I wanted to ask this question to anybody who might be involved or affected by the expansion.

My question is: How do you feel about Turkey joining the European Union?
Free Thinker
Here's what I think:


Turkey should not be added to the EU. There are many reasons why it will not, and here it goes:

- Turkey is a largely Muslim country, and given the current world politics, it might stir up some extra problems brewing in that region.

- Turkey is a poor country. The EU is still taking care of Poland and some other eastern countries which puts a strain on other countries in the union which are very economically healthy like Germany, France, UK, Netherlands, etc. (Western Europe).

- An expansion of the EU into Turkey would give Turks the ability to live and work anywhere in Europe. I don't know about some other countries, but Germany is one that has had a problem with a huge wave of Turks coming in and taking jobs from Germans. A country which still has not recovered (especially in the East) from large unemployment rates.

The only advantage ( is it? ) that I can see is it's proximity to Iraq, Saudi Arabia and other countries with large reserves of oil.

There are some Europeans on this board, so how do you feel?
Rick van Opbergen
Normally I have a strong opinion on certain matters, but I'm "lacking" such an opinion when it comes to this. However, I do not agree with your third point Andem: the fear that a lot of Turks will go searching for a better future in the richer EU-countries. A lot of Europeans - including me to be honest - thought that after May 2004, tens of thousands of Eastern Europeans would be rushing to the rich EU-countries. It didn't happen. What I know is that the total number of Eastern Europeans who came to the Netherlands after May 2004 was only a couple of thousands (there are more than 16 million people in the Netherlands). Now, on the one hand, Turkey is a relatively poor country, poorer than a lot of new Eastern European memberstates, which makes emigrating much more attractive; on the other hand, however, I don't think we can make any pre-conclusions about possible emigrationfloods, as after May 2004 - as I explained - it didn't happen either, even with high EU diplomats predicting a big flood of fresh immigrants.

I do agree with your second point. It is expected that if Turkey enters the EU, the EU will have to invest up to 32 billion dollars in Turkey for the first years, which is relatively much, considering that the 10 new EU countries from Eastern Europe are already putting a heavy strain on the EU budget.

Now, two-thirds of the Europeans don't want Turkey to join the EU (yet) (CNN, October 6th 2004 - just saw a report on Turkey). However, I do think a lot of them use false arguments: Turkey is not European enough; Turkey is a Muslim country, while the EU is predominantely Christian; etc. However, Turkey IS a secular country. Moreover, taking a look at the EU makes me - and a lot of antropologists too - come to the conclusion that our Greek, Cypriote and Southern-Italian "EU-brothers" share a mentality which resembles more that of Turkey than lets say Finland, or Sweden.
Rick van Opbergen
Do you think that one of conditions of Turkey joining the EU should be the recognition of the Armenian genocide?
Turkey has had nuclear reactors on the table for quite a while now (I know cause a company I worked for has bid on them). Could power be a reason?
Rick van Opbergen
Ehh a reason for what?
If Turkey was part of the EU they could possibly commit electricity to other countries who are in need of it. Heck I don't even know if other countries in the EU are in need of it.

Just a thought.
Rick van Opbergen
oh sorry I was a bit confused, I thought you were reacting to my post, and that you were somehow giving an explanation why Turkey has not yet recognized the Armenian genocide ... I'm not aware of any real electricity problems in the EU by the way...
Free Thinker
Quote: Originally Posted by Rick van Opbergen

Do you think that one of conditions of Turkey joining the EU should be the recognition of the Armenian genocide?

That would be a start.. But I don't believe in accession to the European Union for many reasons.

It's not a final word yet whether Turkey will have anything special to do with the EU, but they are saying if it goes ahead, they may join in the year 2025 at the earliest. That shows me that even the people who want Turkey in don't want them in yet, it says a lot.
Rick van Opbergen
Now I didn't ask this in my first post, but don't you think that Turkey joining the EU can actually mean a better relationship with the muslim world, and a greater understanding of Turkey and Turks in Western Europe?
Reverend Blair
I think that it could do just that, Rick. I don't think the EU should let Turkey in yet, but I do think that they need to set out a clear set of issues that need to be addressed and standards that need to be met so that Turkey can join.

The Armenian genocide is one. Human rights issues are another. Environmental issues are the third. The EU should help Turkey meet those standards, but it has to happen as a condition of joining.
Rick van Opbergen
But one of the things Turkey annoys is the fact that the ten Eastern European countries who joined the EU in May 2004 didn't meet all the standards either ... but still they were let in ... not that that would be a good reason to let other countries in though.

What a lot of supporters of the joining of Turkey also say is the fact that Turkey joining the EU can actually improve their human rights issue, along with for example environmental issues, in a faster rate than when Turkey first has to meet these standards. Do you think that is a correct way to think?
Free Thinker
Rick, I definately believe that if Turkey joined the EU that their human rights issues might be abolished, but that takes time... Problem like this don't just disappear overnight and it would put that strain of human rights issues on the EU. The prospect of joining the EU should be enough reason to abolish abuse in not just the political opposition, but also in prisons and general polizei abuse.

Environment issues, as you know, are also a big part of what the EU stands for. Most of the EU is in support (like Canada) of the Kyoto protocols.

Now a connection to the muslim world: This is a very complex issue. Turkey is technically a secular country, but there is definately a large muslim population which makes it part of the muslim world as we know it. Unfortunately, I don't believe that they are "the connection", especially when we see what Israel is doing to the situation in the middle east. The real connection, I believe, is Palestine. I think that a union with Turkey would not make much difference, the key is the terror and pain that Palestine has gone through in the past 60 years.

Ok, a little off topic.. But I was acting as a translator for most of the night tonight with a friend from Switzerland (Swiss German to English [I can somehow understand it every now and then, kannst du hochedeutsch sprechen.... bitte]), and it makes me curious as to the prospect of Switzerland join the EU. The fact is, is that a small percentage really want to join the EU and a small percentage are really against it. The rest are "swayable." What do you think? (Sorry I've gone off topic a tad)
Rick van Opbergen
I already thought you had spoken German (...general polizei abuse ...) ... concerning Switzerland joining the EU ... I don't think it will happen. Switzerland gets a lot of its GDP from their banking system. Not so long ago, the EU has ruled that countries with a large banking system should be open about the people and institutions who have an account in those countries, to search for people like dictators, terrorists or other criminals who might have their bankaccount in countries who have a so-called "banking secrecy" (you understand what I mean right?) ... Especially Luxembourg and Austria protested against this ruling (for a part of their banking practices depend on this "banking secrecy") ... That would be one reason for Switzerland not to join the EU.

Besides that, I understand that Switzerland has a VERY strict policy on letting immigrants in - even the grandchildren of immigrants have to apply for the Swiss nationality, even when they themselves were born in Switzerland and have lived there all their life and their parents were born in Switzerland too and have lived there all their life too. Under EU policy that would definitely change.

I even honestly think that Switzerland joining the EU can have more negative than positive consequences. As Switzerland being a wealthy country, they will probably have to pay a lot of money to the EU, without receiving anything back (especially with the ten new EU countries, where a large percentage of the EU money now goes to).

So I think it's unlikely - and "unhealthy" for the country - that Switzerland will ever join the EU.
Free Thinker
Rick, I can speak German fluently.. It's just the Swiss German which is somewhat difficult to understand (especially when you've had a few).

Read the rest of your post..

Definately the Swiss banking system would be the biggest loss in a join to the European Union. I also agree that there are just too many disadvantages in accession. Can't disagree. The situation might change in the next 20 years, though.
Rick van Opbergen
Haha ... I understand what you mean ... when we were in Switzerland, the German was really though, unlike the German of my "Nachbarn" (Germany) ... Viennese German is also though ... I have family in Vienna and when they speak their dialect ... I just can't understand a word of it!
Free Thinker
Yeah, I've dated Austrians in the past, their dialect isn't really difficult to understand, it's just getting used to it for me.

I edited my previous post, btw.. just my additions to the idea of die schweiz/"schwiez"
Rick van Opbergen
Well as a native Dutch-speaker, and someone who is not visiting Vienna, or Austria, very often, and doesn't hear the dialect very often (they tend to speak Dutch when they visit us), it's a sort of "languageshock" to hear the Viennese dialect I guess that's also because of the fact they first tended to speak what we call "normal" German, but now we are "old" enough especially my uncle speaks the Viennese dialect.

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