Since 1991, the U.S. has enthusiastically supported Turkey joining the European Union. The moment of decision is fast approaching, with a report from the European Commission due on October 6th on whether or not to invite Turkey to begin "accession" negotiations.
If negotiations begin, EU membership is widely viewed as inevitable.
Yet extending all the rights and privileges of EU membership to Turkey would be disastrous for Europe—which, despite all the fashionable sniping heard in the U.S. these days, remains the heart of western civilization.
And it would be bad for America, Turkey, and the Muslim world as a whole.
The U.S. doesn't have any direct influence on the issue. But we do wield a lot of politically correct suasion o f the kind that elite European opinion is unfortunately susceptible to:
"You aren't going to—horrors!—DISCRIMINATE against Turkey just because 95% of its territory isn't in Europe and it's populated by 69 million largely undereducated Muslims, are you? C'mon, prove how unbiased and multicultural you are by letting in Turkey."
Alec Russell reported in the Daily Telegraph:
"President George W Bush yesterday called on the European Union to accept Turkey as a member and so expose the myth of the 'clash of civilizations' between Christianity and Islam. … 'Including Turkey in the EU would prove that Europe is not the exclusive club of a single religion, and it would expose the 'clash of civilizations' as a passing myth of history,' Mr Bush said." Bush says Turkey must be allowed its place in EU June 30, 2004)
That's more than Mexico, or some other of America's self-proclaimed "allies" have done.
But both wars, Korean and Cold, are over.
It's simply not in America's economic interest to encourage Turkey to submerge into a trading bloc designed to maximize trade within the EU while penalizing imports from America.
Nor is it in America's strategic interest to make more feasible Brussels' dream of a European military force separate from NATO. So far, such plans have largely foundered on the anti-martial feelings of Europeans unwilling to sacrifice their precious 1.3 children. But Turkey would make a separate EU strike force much more feasible by providing cheap, brave cannon fodder.
Whether it is in Turkey's interest to join the EU is doubtful, too. Corruption is a huge problem in Turkey—revealed whenever one of the frequent earthquakes flattens hundreds of the shoddy buildings whose developers bribed safety inspectors. Massive subsidies from the EU in the hopes of bringing up Turkish wage levels to European levels would likely exacerbate the problem.
Nor is it clear that Turkey will be better off adopting post-modern European laws, as the EU insists. For example, the EU demands the abolition of the death penalty, yet the threat of execution encouraged captured Kurdish rebel leader Abdullah Ocalan to call for peace, thus ending the 15-year-long rebellion in which 37,000 died.
More importantly, the EU wants Turkey's military to get out of politics. But it has only been the threat of a coup by the resolutely secular army that has kept Islamic fundamentalism in check in Turkey.
For all its problems, Turkey is, by Muslim standards, a successful nation-state. And that's another argument against Turkey submerging itself in the transnationalist European Union: Turkish nationalism provides a role model that should not be extinguished.
As a political, rather than economic, unit, the EU supposedly exists to solve the problem plaguing Europe in 1914: aggressive, expansive nationalism. Ninety years later, this concern seems laughably out of date.
Yet in the Muslim world, especially among Arabs, nationalism is not the problem, it's the solution. Transnationalism may or may not be the wave of the future in the postmodern West. But much of the Islamic world has yet to fully extricate itself from the medieval dream of a universal theocracy. Its evolution to nationalism would be progress.
Within the Muslim world, it has basically been the nationalists who have been forces for international stability—for example, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, founder of the secular Republic of Turkey in 1923; Anwar Sadat, the Egyptian president who made peace with Israel at Camp David in 1978.
In contrast, the men who have spread anarchy abroad—such as terrorist supremo Osama bin Laden, Egypt's Gamal Abdul Nasser, Libya's Moammar Gadhafi, Iraq's Saddam Hussein—have tended to believe, as ex-President Bill Clinton is reported to have said on Sept. 10, 2001, that "the world will be a better place if all borders are eliminated."
Ataturk's Turkish nationalism set the template that has kept Turkey (a Muslim but not Arabic-speaking nation) out of the international trouble that otherwise seems endemic to the Middle East.
Of course, Turkey recently won a long, brutal internal war with its Kurds. (The unlucky Kurds are one of the larger nations without a state.). But Western governments, before the issue of EU accession arose, largely chose to ignore what Turkey does within its borders, so long as it remains a good neighbor.
The EU is designed to smother nationalist feelings. For Turks, however, the alternative to healthy nationalism would be Islamism, which is much more dangerous.
Finally, Turkish accession would be very bad for Europe.
Turkey's population within a couple of decades will be larger than Germany, currently the largest EU state. Turkish Muslims would be the single largest voting bloc within the EU. And it would be difficult to deny Turks for long the right possessed by other EU members to migrate anywhere within the EU.
How many Turks would move to Europe if given the chance? Well, about 1/6th of all people of Mexican descent in the world live in the United States. But the more realistic comparison would be Puerto Rico, which has unlimited legal migration rights with its rich neighbor, the U.S.
According to George Borjas, about 1/4th of Puerto Rico moved to the US mainland in a couple of decades, until the federal government started bribing Puerto Ricans to stay home with food stamps and the like. That would mean close to 20 million additional Muslims moving into Europe proper—on top of the 15 to 20 million already causing so much trouble.
That would be a cultural, political, and security disaster—not just for Europe, but also for the U.S.
Think about it this way: Admitting Turkey to the European Union would be very like admitting Mexico to the United States.
Indeed, Mexican President Vicente Fox explicitly wants an EU-like relationship with the U.S. and Canada. His former foreign minister Jorge Castaneda told the L.A. Times in 2001:
"That's what Fox essentially wants, the type of resource transfers that occurred in Spain and, before Spain, in Ireland, and, after Spain, in Portugal and Greece. The Germans were willing to build highways in Spain. Somebody else has to build our highways. We don't have the money." [Jorge Castaneda: Mexico's Man Abroad, LA Times, August 12, 2001, By Sergio Munoz]
Turkey's IQ structure appears to be fairly similar to Mexico's. Richard Lynn and Tatu Vanhanen in IQ and the Wealth of Nations do report one solid study of Turkey: the Raven's Standard Progressive Matrices was standardized on a representative sample of 2,277 Turkish children in 1992. The Turkish children averaged 90 on a scale in which the British average 100. Two studies of Turkish immigrants in the Netherlands reported averages of 88 and 85.
Lynn and Vanhanen's database contains only one study for Mexico, and that from the less developed Southern Highlands, where the average was 87. They also report three studies of Mexican immigrants in America, with averages of 84, 95, and 84. The authors of The Bell Curve, Richard J. Herrnstein and Charles Murray, gave 91 as their best guess for the average IQ of Latinos.
All is not lost in Europe. Some Europeans have got the message. As Ambrose Evans-Pritchard recently reported in the Daily Telegraph:
"A European commissioner set off a furious row yesterday after warning that Europe's Christian civilization risked being overrun by Islam. Fritz Bolkestein, the single market commissioner and a former leader of the Dutch liberals, said the European Union would 'implode' in its current form if 70 million Turkish Muslims were allowed to join. "
"He predicted that Turkish accession would overwhelm the fragile system and finish off any lingering dreams of a fully-integrated European superstate. In a speech at Leiden University, he compared the EU to the late Austrian-Hungarian empire, which took so many different peoples on board in such a haphazard fashion that it eventually became ungovernable."
[Muslim millions threaten EU values, says commissioner September 8, 2004]
Valery Giscard-D'Estaing, who was so weaselly about the Soviet threat when he was President of France, has surprisingly emerged as the Defender of Christendom by publicly expressing strong opposition to admitting Turkey. He says it would be "the end of Europe."
And he's right.
So why is the Bush Administration pushing this dangerous step?
Haven't we learned lately that we don't know enough about foreigners in general—and Muslims in particular?