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)