Thursday, February 19, 2009

its not the turkey you cook for thanksgiving

In a few months, I'll be starting my thesis and I am pretty much mortified because I cannot do a thesis on Turkey and its accession to the EU (European Union). The issue is very controversial and it wouldn't be hard to find a problem to write a thesis about because of the many other issues surrounding it. However, I also realize that many European Studies majors (like me!) in the past have done a thesis on that. I think our professors are dead tired and possibly turned Shawarma on the number of thesis made about it. I decided on another topic that is more recent and as controversial as the Turkish accession. I just hope nobody thinks about doing a thesis about it until its too late (but what I really meant was: until its established that I'm doing a thesis about it!).

Well, enough about that. I know I promised to try and not write about academic, major-headache stuff but I just want to properly state my opinion on this because I get pissed off when people who are opposed at Turkey's accession give racial arguments about it. Before I start, I just want to clearly say that I am neither in favor nor opposed on Turkey joining the EU.

Some people say that Turkey shouldn't join the EU because it's not in Europe. I say: "Well, so is Cyprus!" Cyprus has been a member of the EU since 2004. Check the back of your map and look at the list of countries in Asia, you'll see Cyprus listed there. Moreover, Turkey has more territorial areas in Europe than Cyprus, so I think this geographical argument about Turkey not being in Europe is not valid.

Since we established that the geographical location is not the issue, there is another argument that people who oppose the accession use. They say that if Turkey joins, there is a high probability that countries in the middle-east would apply for EU membership too (like Syria and Iraq). Well, we cannot be sure about that and chances are very little if none at all. And if ever that happens, I think its unlikely that those countries will be members. Besides, Turkey and Cyprus is not only near to Europe, they also have a European heritage that other countries in the middle-east lack or does not have. So the argument may be valid but weak.

People say that Turkey is just "too poor, too big and too Muslim." It's almost like a caption applied to Turkey and used even by Europeans but I think that the "too Muslim" phrase is racist. It's not a Muslim state, its a secular state with a majority of Muslims! (like 99% lol) The Turkish state does not advocate any kind of religion - ideally, I don't know in reality, I haven't been in Turkey! Anyway, when Greece was considered for membership, its GDP that time was lower than the poorest member of the EU. In 2007, when Bulgaria and Romania joined it was the poorest as well but was still considered for a full membership in the EU. Also, Turkey has already started the accession process and has already started taking measures in improving its economy (with EU's help of course).

The seats in the European Parliament (EP) is also an issue because the number of representatives of an EU member in the Parliament is based on the population of that country. As we all know, Turkey is a big and populous country. By 2010, It is estimated that it will be more populated than Germany. Currently, Germany holds the most number of seats in the EP and might be one of the reason why Germany is so opposed of Turkey becoming a member.

Well, there is also an issue with Cyprus and Greece which has happened years ago, 1974 exactly, that makes it difficult for Turkey to acquire full membership in the EU. It's a very long story so don't make me start on it. I'll just give my shortened version.Turkey intervened in a coup in Cyprus to prevent it becoming part of Greece. Turkey ended up occupying the northern part of Cyprus and establishing a government on it that only Turkey recognizes (TRNC - Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus). The area is comprised of 37% of Cyprus and Turkey is still occupying it until now. Well, this is one of the reasons why Cyprus and Greece is so opposed of Turkey becoming a member.

Anyway, let's just see how it goes and if Turkey meets the essential criteria and I won't start on the criteria for EU membership; that would make my already-long post longer. Well, that's about it. I just get irritated when people give racial arguments on political issues. I mean if you oppose a certain political issue, and want to oppose it publicly, give a sound and valid argument so that you wouldn't be criticized as too naive and racist.

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