Turkey and accession to the European Union

Free Thinker

Turkey's formal application to join the European Community—the organisation that has since developed into the European Union—was made on April 14, 1987. It was officially recognised as a candidate for membership on December 10, 1999 at the Helsinki summit of the European Council, having been an Associate Member since 1963. It started negotiations on October 3, 2005, a process that is likely to take at least a decade to complete. Its possible future accession is now the central controversy of the ongoing enlargement of the European Union.

This was quite a controversial topic for quite a long time since it was recognised as a real candidate to be member of the European Union. It has now been clouded by other issues surrounding European politics and local politics in many countries. Austria is definately a country thats against the whole process and most, if not all people that I've spoken to are completely against Turkey joining the EU.

I'd really like to hear people's opinions on the joining of Turkey into what some people call the future United States of Europe.

I'm definately somebody against Turkey as part of a unified Europe.. I don't see them as European and frankly they are not at all compatible with European Christian values (yes they still exist). They are culturally somewhere inbetween middle-eastern and european, but much more of the former.

There's already a lot of Turks in the country and especially the city where I live.. and they are still outsiders after 3 generations. They don't want to be European and a lot of them hate what Europe stands for.. I still think it was way too early to have Poland and the other eastern states to join.

It is in my opinion that Turkey only wants the economic benefits of being a member. [In light of the fact that the EU's largest voting block in 2020 would be Turkey] It is also in my opinion that the EU-Sceptic member states such as the UK, Denmark and the other northern countries would grow even stronger in scepticism and eventually result in succession.. not to mention the state of affairs in the Eastern countries with their growing economies and their dislike of the idea.

So what's your opinion?
Free Thinker
Turkey should let in the European Union, this is a secular age and improving your economy is what it is all about.

Turkey is like Mexico to "North America". Not white. Religion is secondary here. Mexico is not considered part of North America like Turkey is an outsider in Europe. Different situations but similar in many ways.
Free Thinker
Quote: Originally Posted by dumpthemonarchy

Turkey should let in the European Union, this is a secular age and improving your economy is what it is all about.

I'm for preserving the culture of European countries. Look at the Netherlands: Locals are fleeing the country en mass to less economically secure countries like Poland to escape the overwhelming amount of non-European foreigners their country has absorbed. Europeans in general can integrate into other European cultures with little problems over time. It's not the same when you open the floodgates to Middle-Eastern or African cultures and peoples.

Sorry, I'm not willing to change 1000's of years of history and developing culture for economic reasons. As a citizen of the EU and a EU-resident, I'm against anymore change... Turkey can continue to develop trade relations, but nothing more.
"Small is beautiful" (Schuhmacher)

I liked the EU (EWG) at the six member stage, as a way to expand better relations and interesting products etc, but unfortunately bigger (more Members) always seem to encourage increased administration, added complications doing business and of course the Taxation (Cost) such a monster demands.

Unity under a larger Umbrella seems like a good Idea , but the squabbling and problems are not abating.(reminds me of Canada: a Country to big for its own good. Or maybe the minds running it are to small?)

The disadvantages for common peoples are mounting; the inability and unwillingness to address and correct problems as felt by the common man;
the mad dash to more "Globalization" even within EU and its Neighbours; the increased "Big Brother" syndrome for the sake of technical advance and efficiency( Europeanwide Maut (Toll) system, RFID.....); who really wants this big Multi-Kulti Soup causing upset stomachs and indigestions?

To consider Moslem Turkey at this time to add to the EU seems like a slap into the face of "real" Europeans. This ME belief and value system needs to shed some psychopath attributes first and adapt to humanity first. Middle of the road would be fine; even for us "Westerners", We gone to far too!

But in the end whatever the "Bilderberger's "of this world decide will be pushed down their throat .
Democracy is a nice word, not much more.
Hello friends

I will write my comments as frankly as possible

''Austria is definately a country thats against the whole process and most, if not all people that I've spoken to are completely against Turkey joining the EU. ''

First, I want to ask why Austria is against to Turkey? What are the reasons?

Andem I really respect your ideas but you said '' I don't see them as European and frankly they are not at all compatible with European Christian values (yes they still exist). They are culturally somewhere inbetween middle-eastern and european, but much more of the former. ''

Sorry sir but Turkish people are son of the Ottoman Empire who accepted all nations and religions with them inside its borders. For this information I suggest you to look history books and nowadays we are getting together with our friends who are christian buddist judaist to find ways to educate ignorant people. Maybe we have different view of world but we reached same idea that emphasizes '' Not to be ignorant and be a good person for the world''

That is one of our reason to be a member of EU.

I also dont want any people to change their own culture because cultures make all of us different.

I don't say that there is no bad turkish person but every country has so the point is to educate and make them good person.

And to be moslem I am proud of it because it says be tolerant to all people and I respect all religions. In addition, religions and cultures should not be concerned with politics because they are sacred for all of us.

I hope I am not caused misunderstanding.

I wrote with all my heart and we want the PEACE in the world.

Free Thinker
I wish all Moslems in Germany were like you, Turk.
Thanks my friend

I hope they will because all and all religions say that be a good person and we should set examples to the other people around us and we should warn them for peaceful world.
I think not
Muslims by far and large have never integrated into European society. This is a consequence of "multicultural" Europe. You're not going to build a United Europe when immigrants are treated as immigrants.

When Europe encourages immigrants to maintain their own culture and indentity, what do you expect will happen? Integration is one thing that doesn't happen.

Europe doesn't want Turkey to join the EU for one simple reason, they will add 70 million Muslims into Europe and they don't want that. They don't want it becuase their policies of multiculturalism have created "fractured" enclaves of people within their own borders.

They have to learn how to integrate immigrants into their societies.
Come on!

I am muslim and any society I have entered they accepted me because I never did a small bad thing to them and showed my respect. Also I live in Canada and America 9 months of the year. And every people I met never ignored me also my muslim friends. There are some rich people who own betrayers to their religions. For example some bombers show that they are muslim in their identification. However, educated muslim people never accept them as muslim because in Islam there is no way to harm any small thing. To come to the point, why EU afraids to have 70 million muslim inside it because we are not gonna change their policies and cultures. Integration is also being friend, my friend.
I havent a problem with Turkey being part of the EU, Turkey (as part of the Ottoman empire used to rule several european states), I know a few turkish people (my mate Delpi makes a very nice Humus with sallllaaad!!). I have no probs with it, the germans and austrians might get a bit touchy because a lot of turkish people already live there, sort of like poles where I am.

The only thing I am confused with is this:

Islam was born out of WAR (Jihad), I've read many accounts of non-believers being executed, and religious was forcefully put upon them.

Now I know Turkey is a democratic society, and I know Istambul was once named after the british/roman general Constantine, But I really dont understand Islam, you say it's peaceful, then you have the Sunni's and the Shia's, then you have the Taliban, then you have iran, Saudi Arabia, 9/11, the white slave trade,MY Friend was also murdered by "muslim's" in 7/7 in london, you have a problem with laws, you do not commit Jihad, is this what Islam teaches? Mohammed was a warrior who thought everywhere he went. Jesus never hurt any one.

So how is Islam peace loving I ask?..I just dont understand
I really dont.
First Islam wasn't born out of war. Islam was born then after jihad started because of pressure of non-believers.

Ok the sunni and shia subject is different than others. Sunnis believe that Mohammed is their prophet. However shias accept Ali as prophet. Sunnis also accept Ali but as caliph. Therefore shias are betraying the real rules and they have different things. Islam is a religion that there is no change in its rules.

First, Taliban is a just kurdish leader and I dont believe a person who shows wrong way people to can be a muslim.

The other thing about Iran that they wanted nuclear power in their country. This was their right because they pay lots money for electric. In Islam, if someone attacks you and your family, you are able to attack them back.

I don't know the situation of Saudi arabia but I know the city Madina is the city of peace Makka is changed a lot.

You asked me 9/11 attacks. Man, I say you did you read my post which is in middle of the page? I said that some rich people (rich media) use ignorants and shows them as muslims that they attacked to somewhere. Please please I say again this is political games of some groups who are greedy and want to own all of the world. They think the best way to make people hate from muslims is to show them as killers, bombers, suiciders ext...

Maybe you are right about white slave trade but I dont know anything about that and I say This is not allowed by Islam and I think all religions disagree with sany slave trade.

I am so sorry about your friend who died 7/7 in london but I emphasize again that those ignorant killers cannot be muslim because noone has right to kill anybody in Islam but if someone attacks us we have right to fight in war in order to have self-defence. Saying again that I am really sorry about your friend.

Jihad if there is attack on islam world you can have jihad to save your religion in Islam. And I want to give several meanings of jihad.

Jihad of the heart/soul (jihad bin nafs/qalb) is an inner struggle of good against evil in the mind, through concepts such as tawhid.
Jihad by the tongue (jihad bil lisan) is a struggle of good against evil waged by writing and speech, such as in the form of dawah (proselytizing), Khutbas (sermons), and political or military propaganda.
Jihad by the pen and knowledge (jihad bil qalam/ilm) is a struggle for good against evil through scholarly study of Islam, ijtihad (legal reasoning), and through sciences (such as military and medical sciences).
Jihad by the hand (jihad bil yad) refers to a struggle of good against evil waged by actions or with one's wealth, such as going on the Hajj pilgrimage (seen as the best jihad for women), taking care of elderly parents, providing funding for jihad, political activity for furthering the cause of Islam, stopping evil by force, or espionage.
Jihad by the sword (jihad bis saif) refers to qital fi sabilillah (armed fighting in the way of God, or holy war).

Also, I want to show this article taht I found on wikipedia.

Ramadan Buti, a contemporary Orthodox scholar from Syria, in his work on the subject Jihad in Islam says

Even before Muhammad conducted Jihad by sword against the unbelievers, there is no doubt the Prophet (s) invited these unbelievers peacefully, lodged protests against their beliefs and strove to remove their misgivings about Islam. When they refused any other solution, but rather declared a war against him and his message and initiated the fight, there was no alternative except to fight back" [5]
Imam al-Dardir in his book Aqarab al-Masalik says

Jihad is propagating the knowledge of the Divine Law commending right and forbidding wrong. He emphasized that it is not permitted to skip this category of Jihad and implement the combative form, saying, "the first [Islamic] duty is to call people to enter the fold of Islam, even if they had been preached to by the Prophet (s) beforehand." [6]
Al-Hajj Talib 'Abdur-Rashid, imam of the Mosque of Islamic Brotherhood in Harlem, NY, defines three levels of jihad -- personal, verbal and physical. Considering each in turn:

Personal Jihad: This is the most important form. This type of jihad, called the Jihadun-Nafs, is the intimate struggle to purify one's soul of evil influences -- both subtle and overt. It is the struggle to cleanse one's spirit of sin. Putting "Allah ahead of our loved ones, our wealth, our worldly ambitions and our own lives." Resisting pressure of parents, peers and society; strive against "the rejecters of faith..." (Qur'an 25:52) "...strive and struggle to live as true Muslims..." "Striving for righteous deeds."Spreading the message of Islam. "The (true) believers are only those who believe in Allah and his messenger and afterward doubt not, but strive with their wealth and their selves for the cause of Allah. Such are the truthful." (49:15)
Verbal Jihad: To strive for justice through words and non-violent actions. Muhammad encouraged Muslims to demand justice in the name of Allah. When asked: "'What kind of jihad is better?' Muhammad replied, 'A word of truth in front of an oppressive ruler(Nisai). According to M. Amir Ali, Jihad explained
The life of the Prophet Muhammad was full of striving to gain the freedom to inform and convey the message of Islam. During his stay in Makkah [Mecca] he used non-violent methods and after the establishment of his government in Madinah [Medina], by the permission of Allah, he used armed struggle against his enemies whenever he found it inevitable.
Physical Jihad: This relates to the use of physical force in defense of Muslims against oppression and transgression by the enemies of Allah, Islam and Muslims. Allah commands that Muslims lead peaceful lives and not transgress against anyone. If they are persecuted and oppressed, the Qur'an recommends that they migrate to a more peaceful and tolerant land: "Lo! Those who believe, and those who emigrate (to escape persecution) and strive (Jahadu) in the way of Allah, these have hope of Allah's mercy..." (2:21. If relocation is not possible, then Allah also requires Muslims to defend themselves against oppression by "fighting against those who fight against us." 2 The Qur'an states: "To those against whom war is made, permission is given [to defend themselves], because they are wronged - and verily, Allah is Most Powerful to give them victory." (22:39) [7]

You said Mohammed was warrior. Yes, he was and he fought in order to survive his religion. That time non-believers wanted to fight. Self defence is also jihad

Thanks for your questions my friend. I hope I answered your questions.

Welcome to Canadian Content , Turk !

If ever you need assistance, I would be happy to offer whatever help I can, or you can contact one of our Administrators or Moderators . I think it's wonderful that our membership is continuing to become more diverse, and I thank you for coming to our corner of the Universe here to share your point-of-view and your opinions.

Turk , with due respect, I would suggest to you that the jihad bis saif is no longer an appropriate course of action in the modern world. While I can recognize the cultural and historical significance that such a phenomenon may have had at some time in the past (I think most religions have some sort of conflict in their past), a more modern interpretation of the Islamic faith would rule such a jihad to be obsolete and no longer acceptable (in particular, since the Islamic faith demands adherance to the laws of one's jurisdiction, and international law would certainly condemn a violent form of jihad, as with any type of warfare).

As for your suggestion, Turk , that Islam is a religion where the rules cannot change, I would disagree. There are moderate Islamic citizens here in Canada who choose not to interpret the words of the Qur'an verbatim, and rather, choose to interpret their faith in a way which would make their religion compatible with the lawful and social norms of Canada. I would suggest to you that all religions can evolve over time, and Islam is no exception, in my opinion.

Again, welcome to CanCon, and I wish you a pleasant stay.

Yours sincerely,

Christopher Girodat
(a.k.a., FiveParadox )
You answered my questions fine, the problem as I see it is a lack of knowledge on both sides, most "westerners" don't understand Islam, as I say, I have many friends who are muslim, all great people.

Although, I think you will agree that Islam was created, in a way, by Mohammed to stop all the tribal fighting and wars that were happening, it just seems to me that these problems are still going on, some people in Europe are very skeptical because they feel many muslim's consider half of europe to be "theirs" by right (Spain, most of eastern europe for example) I think thats where the worry comes from in europe.

that's just my opinion, but thanks for the response.
Thanks FiveParadox and Daz_Hockey

I just wanted to give definitions of Jihad to Daz_Hockey. I agree that these days there is no jihad bis saif.

I think rules cannot change but they can be different in situation. Just For example we have a month ramadan which we fast from sunrise to sunset everyday. Anyways, for healty people they have to fast but for old or dor unhealty people they dont have to. It depends on situation. I think this is same as your idea that religions can envolve.

I hope not caused the misunderstanding and I respect your ideas.
It might
Quote: Originally Posted by lo2

It might

...what might?
I agree with Andem. I wish all Muslims were like Turk.

My bet is that many, if not most, are.

I do not think that Turkey should join the EU, at least not yet. There are issues regarding immigration and security that are difficult enough in Italy and Spain let alone Turkey. As well, it is best that democracy become more ingrained in the country.

However, the big issue I have with an Islamic state - even in a more secular one such as Turkey - is the relationship between religion and the state. Ataturk sought to secularize Turkey and make it more European. However, I am unsure of the academic and intellectual force of secularism within Islamic society in general. European nations, though Christian by history, and firmly secular in modern culture. It appears that large swaths of Islamic immigrants within Europe refuse to adhere to this precept, some violently so. I do not think that Islamic countries should be admitted into the EU until secularism becomes the dominant, overriding force within Islamic societies.

I do think that Turkey should have special status in relation to the EU, perhaps as a tariff-free customs union.

And I've been to Turkey and absolutely loved it. It was one of my favourite countries in Europe.
I will state my case.
Free Thinker
Admitting Turkey to the EU means of course that it must become more democratic and more tolerant of minorities like the Kurds. For this it has a ways to go. I was a tad hasty in writing that economics is everything, but it is the most these days. 70 million joining the EU is a problem and most Turks are poorer than Poles.

Europe has a genuine cultural problem to grapple with in Turkey, while we in Canada don't give Mexico a second thought. It is Europe that is close to the political hotspots of the world and the public must think about them daily to solve them.
Free Thinker
The point of political hotspots: Thats one of the reasons politicians want to go against the will of Europeans and invite Turkey to join. The wishes of politicians and corporations are purely out of greed for resources and they don't consider the wishes of normal citizens in the EU.

General consensus throughout Europe: Keep Turkey out.

Why are they even still debating this?

edit: ps. You'e gotta love Switzerland's form of democracy. Its open, people are asked, and its shut again.
Quote: Originally Posted by Andem

General consensus throughout Europe: Keep Turkey out.

Why are they even still debating this?


That's not true. The British and Irish and a few other EU nations who support free trade, democracy, have healthy economies and are outward-looking nations are FOR Turkey joining the EU.

Only those countries who are the exact opposite of all the above things - France, Germany and Old Europe - are against Turkey joining the EU.

The British want Turkey to join the EU and at the same time we ask: "Why on earth would they WANT to?"
Quote: Originally Posted by Andem

Quote: Originally Posted by dumpthemonarchy

Turkey should let in the European Union, this is a secular age and improving your economy is what it is all about.

Sorry, I'm not willing to change 1000's of years of history and developing culture for economic reasons. As a citizen of the EU and a EU-resident, I'm against anymore change... Turkey can continue to develop trade relations, but nothing more.

The EU's only been going for less than 50 years.

And the Turks consider themselves to be European and they look to the West and not the East. And rememebr that Europa, the goddess who Europe was named after, was Turkish.

For some reason, it's okay for Turkish football teams to compete in European competitions and for Turkey to compete in the European Championships and for Turkey to play in the European section of the World Cup qualifiers and for Turkey to compete in the Eurovision Song Contest (which they hosted a few years ago after they won it), but as soon as they say they want into the Eu most of the EU thent ries to insult people's intelligences by saying that it's not a part of Europe.
Quote: Originally Posted by I think not

Muslims by far and large have never integrated into European society. This is a consequence of "multicultural" Europe. You're not going to build a United Europe when immigrants are treated as immigrants.

Much of Europe was Muslim BEFORE it ebcame Christian.

Spain is a good example. Not so long ago, Spain was a Muslim country. It's only recently that it became Catholic.

Withing 50-80 years, Europe (except Britain and Ireland) will be Muslim again. France is the closest to being completely Muslim.
Quote: Originally Posted by I think not

Europe doesn't want Turkey to join the EU for one simple reason, they will add 70 million Muslims into Europe and they don't want that. They don't want it becuase their policies of multiculturalism have created "fractured" enclaves of people within their own borders.

They have to learn how to integrate immigrants into their societies.

70 million Muslims in a SECULAR Muslim nation.

And if the EU was a democracy (and we all know that it isn't) then ANYONE of ANY religion and ANY colour can be a citizen in it, just like Britain and the United States.

Not allowing people to be EU citizens just because they are Muslims shows how undemocratic and racist the EU is.
Quote: Originally Posted by dumpthemonarchy

I was a tad hasty in writing that economics is everything, but it is the most these days. 70 million joining the EU is a problem and most Turks are poorer than Poles.


So? The Romanians and Bulgarians are poorer than the Poles, and those two nations are joining the EU on January 1st. The GDP per capita of Romania is exactly the same as that of Turkey.

And I don't know if you've realised but Germany, Italy, much of France, Spain and a few other EU nations weren't democracies just a few years before they joined the EU, so Turkey's no different.

In fact, Britain, Ireland, Sweden and only one or two other nations are probably the only EU member states that have been democracies throughout all of the 20th Century.
indeed, I completely agree Blackleaf, I still think it's mainly Germany, france and Austria who dont want em in.
Free Thinker
There are many Europeans don't want Turkey to join the EU because the EU itself is not entirely open and transparent in its decisions and much of the people in the EU is against "Brussels". The experts in Brussels think they know best and the public rightly resents this.

Business itself is go go go, but the public is not like this.
70 million people in a relatively stable market, biz likes this.

Plus, most Muslims in Europe do not go to the mosque. Equating Arab unthinkingly with Muslim is like calling all Irish and Italians Roman Catholics in Canada or Europe. Not so any more. The main issue is economic and jobs.

Britain has always been in favour of Turkey joining the EU.

Turkey could be a beacon to the Islamic world: that's why it must be admitted to the EU

Liam Fox, Conservative MP for Woodspring and the shadow defence secretary

'Without Ataturk we would be just like Iran." The words of one young politician I met recently in Ankara reflect the widespread sentiment held by many Turks.

They believe that the foresight of the founding father of the modern Turkish state, Kemal Ataturk, created the conditions that allowed Turkey to develop as a democratic and secular country in stark contrast to some of its neighbours. In the areas of defence co-operation, human rights improvements and economic liberalisation, its development continues apace.

For many Turks, the logical end point to this drive to modernisation has always been membership of the European Union. Yet increasing numbers of Turkish citizens believe that key elements of the EU have no real intention of ever allowing Turkey to gain membership, and they ask themselves: "If we will never get in the club, why go through the pain of transition?" It is a question with enormous ramifications.

Last week, Turkey was back in the headlines with further terrorist crimes being carried out against a number of its tourist resorts. Like so many other countries, it is on the front line in the struggle against global terrorism. Dealing on the one hand with Kurdish separatist terrorists and on the other sharing a large land border with Iraq, it could hardly be otherwise.

How it responds to the challenges it faces politically and militarily has important implications. The questions we must ask in this country are: "How important is further development in Turkey?" And: "Does it matter to Britain?" The answer to both is a resounding "Yes".

Let us just consider the military and geopolitical importance of Turkey in the modern world. A major player in Nato, Turkey's half-million strong army is the second largest in the alliance after America's, dwarfing the forces of Britain and France.

It has twice commanded the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan and plays a large role in the country's redevelopment (recently, in fact, announcing reinforcements there). One of the main reasons for my visit was to encourage the Turkish government to see whether it would be possible to deploy further helicopters to Afghanistan to prevent further overstretch of the British lift capability there.

Politically, Turkey is a bridge to the Islamic world. It shows that prosperity, democracy and security are possible in a constructive partnership with the developed world. If Turkey were part of the EU, it would be its eighth largest economy. Its constitution and educational system ensure women's rights and that they play a full role in the economic and political life of the nation.

There are many in the fundamentalist shadows who believe such rights threaten the power and influence of the clerics and that the emancipation of women is incompatible with their interpretation of Islam. They would like nothing more than to push Turkey into reverse gear.

In terms of energy security, a subject on which I recently wrote for The Sunday Telegraph, Turkey is important for both oil pipelines and maritime transport. In 2001, 6,500 tankers carried 100 million tons of oil through the Bosphorus. By 2005, this had increased to 10,027 tankers carrying 143 million tons. As new oilfields are developed in the central Asian states, Turkey will become an ever more important transit and supply centre for our fuel needs.

A valued Nato partner, a secular state bridging Europe and the Islamic world, a developing economy, and a major player in the energy market: Ataturk would indeed have cause to be proud of his handiwork. But the smooth continuation of these trends is far from secure; it is a challenge to us all to ensure that nothing is done to hinder Turkey's progress. For the direction of the country's development is crucial to the Turks themselves, to those who seek enlightenment in the Islamic world, to the European Union… and beyond.

Those same Islamic extremists who seek to turn the clock back elsewhere — the Taliban in Afghanistan, suicide bombers in Britain — also threaten Turkey's much-cherished secularism. For those who seek freedom, democracy and open society in the Islamic world without ditching any of its religious traditions, Turkey shows that Islam can live compatibly with constitutional law determined by democratic consensus.

For Europe, the admission of Turkey to the EU is the primary test of whether the union can adapt to a changing world or whether it will become an increasingly introspective and redundant body. For European politicians, rejecting Turkey carries the risk of pushing this vitally important country into the arms of the political and religious extremists.

Of course, there would be problems associated with Turkish accession, something most Turks understand. The questions of labour mobility recently brought into sharp focus by imminent Bulgarian and Romanian membership would need to be dealt with.

But there are those who object for different reasons. A senior French official complained to me last year that Turkish membership would mean that "we could never have a political Europe, only an economic one". Stifling a "three cheers to that", I pointed out what a sadly dated view of the world this was. Even more disturbing was the deeply unpleasant undercurrent present during the French and Dutch referendums last year on the EU constitution, where anti-Turkish sentiment was never far from the surface and mixed with constitutional arguments.

What a tragedy it would be if xenophobic elements in continental Europe had the net result of producing a much more fundamentalist Islamic state on the eastern border of Greece rather than a democratic beacon shining outwards from Europe to those denied the basic freedoms and rights we take for granted. What a mistake of truly historic proportions it would be if, by placating all that is negative in European politics, those in authority delivered future generations into a much more dangerous and destabilised continent.

Turkey stands at the new military and political crossroads of the world. With Russia's expanding militarism and resource nationalism threatening Western interests to the north, with the unstable and unpredictable nations of the Caucasus to the east, and with Iraq and the Gulf to the south, most Turks look west, to Europe, for stability and security. It would be both profoundly wrong and monumentally stupid to turn our back at this most dangerous time.

Britain has a proud tradition of championing the Turkish cause, under both Conservative and Labour governments. A staunch Nato ally in the region is certainly in the security interests of this country. But the future of Turkey has much wider implications. Here is a challenge for our generation, a test for our times. The decisions that we collectively reach now will reverberate for years to come and will profoundly affect the world in which we live.

I find the concept of "muslims don't integrate" funny. While they tend not to fully integrate as a whole, neither to most groups, at least in Canada.

We still have Irish and Scottish Festivals, People still speak German in Kitchener-Waterloo after hundreds of years (the same as in Pensylvania). Ukrainian communities still exist in Saskatchewan who still speak Ukranian for day to day shopping.

No cultural group will ever fully integrate, Muslims are not special in this respect. But people find it easier to target them lately, its become acceptable where as targetting the Irish or Polish has fallen out of favour.

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