Britain’s ‘Brexit’ Debate Inflamed by Worries That Turkey Will Join E.U.By STEVEN ERLANGERErlanger isn’t an idiot, but his readers tend to be very touchy about what is served up to them. Reporters need to sneak in the actual news after the politically correct subscribers have stopped reading. Hence …
JUNE 13, 2016LONDON — With nine days left before Britain votes on whether to remain in the European Union, the possibility of Turkey’s becoming a member of the bloc has inflamed the debate, injecting divisive issues of race, religion and tolerance openly into the campaign.In other words, it’s racist for Brits to worry about Turkish accession to the European Union because we can always rely on Cyprus and Greece to be racist for us.
Supporters of a British exit from the European Union say allowing Turkey in would leave Britain exposed to a new wave of Muslim immigration and more vulnerable to Islamic radicals. While Turkey has been pushing for membership, it faces considerable hurdles, and its entry, if it ever happens, would be many years, if not decades, away...The emphasis on the supposedly imminent membership of Turkey, however, adds a new and darker aspect to the arguments for Britain’s leaving: Turkey would be the bloc’s second-largest country after Germany, and it is poor, is Muslim and borders Syria, where young British Muslims radicalized by the Islamic State travel to enter the netherworld of terrorism.The debate is happening when attacks like the one in Orlando, Fla., have raised concerns about both Islamic radicalism and Islamophobia. An unofficial group advocating Britain’s departure from the European Union posted a controversial message on Twitter on Monday, warning of “Islamist extremism” and urging an exit from the bloc “before we see an Orlando-style atrocity here before too long.” After immediate criticism, the message was deleted.In the Vote Leave campaign’s official leaflet, which will go to some 40 million Britons, Turkish accession is a prominent theme, and a map shows how Turkish membership would mean a European Union border with Syria and Iraq. Vote Leave has also asserted that Turkey has higher levels of criminality, gun ownership and gangsterism. …“None of this needs decoding,” Philip Stephens, a columnist for The Financial Times, wrote, arguing that the implicit calls to racism have become explicit. “The dog whistle has made way for the klaxon. E.U. membership talks with Turkey, we are to understand, will soon see Britain overrun by millions of (Muslim) Turks — most of them thugs or welfare-scroungers.”Tim Farron, the leader of the opposition Liberal Democrats, said that “coded nudges and winks like this are utterly horrific.” He added, “Vote Leave is just playing the politics of division, and it has no place in British society.”… Ms. Cooper said the discussion was “utterly shameful,” since both men know that Turkey is many years away from joining the European Union. Any member nation also could veto the country’s entry, including historical enemies like Cyprus and Greece.
In the past, Mr. Cameron, who is the leader of the Remain campaign, has said it is government policy to support Turkish membership in the bloc when the country qualifies, a position that Mr. Johnson himself, whose great-grandfather was Turkish, also embraced enthusiastically at one point.“Now,” Mr. Stephens wrote, “Mr. Johnson lets the Islamophobia hang in the air.”So, let me get this straight, we shouldn’t worry about Turkish accession even though it is Her Majesty’s Government’s policy to support Turkish accession?What could possibly go wrong?
Mr. Cameron and his deputy, George Osborne, the chancellor of the Exchequer, have pointed out that Turkey’s membership is unlikely to happen and would be decades away even if Cyprus and Greece went along. The authoritarian shift of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is driving away even Turkey’s previous allies in Europe.“I don’t think it’s going to happen in my lifetime,” said Mr. Osborne, who has just turned 45. “Is it going to be a member of the European Union? No, it’s not.”Asked about Mr. Cameron’s past support for Turkish membership, Mr. Osborne said: “Turkey has gone backwards. There are concerns about democracy and human rights there. British government policy is that it should not join the European Union today.”But it is British government policy that Turkey should join after today. And that opposition to Turkey joining is racist.
… In response, the Leave campaign denied charges of racism and said: “The government must now urgently clarify whether its policy on Turkey has changed. Is it now promising to veto Turkish membership?”So, finally we get to the news in the article:
So Erdogan is blackmailing the EU with refugees.You know, it kind of sounds like Turkey holds the whip hand here, because Europe developing some kind of perimeter self defense defense system against being inundated by refugees allowed through Turkey would be racist.
On Sunday, the visa issue surfaced again with some leaked British diplomatic cables in The Sunday Times of London discussing the debate over whether to grant Turkey European Union visa liberalization in return for its efforts to house and control Syrian refugees.One cable from a British diplomat in Ankara, Turkey’s capital, discussed whether Britain might itself grant visa-free status to 1.5 million “Turkish special passport holders,” who are mostly civil servants, as a “significant and symbolic gesture to Turkey,” in part to keep Mr. Erdogan from carrying out “his threat to ‘open the floodgates’ to Europe for migrants.”
The government responded by calling the article “selectively leaked quotes” that are “designed to give a completely false impression that the U.K. is considering granting visa liberalization to some Turkish citizens.”Both Mr. Cameron and Mr. Osborne have suggested that the Leave campaign has devolved from a more high-minded discussion of Britain’s role in the world and its sovereignty to the anti-immigration theme that has been the calling card of the U.K. Independence Party and its leader, Nigel Farage.Mr. Osborne called Mr. Farage’s vision of Britain “mean” and “divisive.”Mr. Farage, in a television debate last week, said British women could be at risk of sexual assaults from immigrants if Britain voted to remain in the European Union. Referring to reports of sexual assaults by migrants on German women in Cologne on New Year’s Eve in 2015, Mr. Farage called this “the nuclear bomb” of the referendum campaign.The real threat to British women, as we all know, is Sir Haven Monahan, Esquire.You know, one way to defend the European Union is to point out that Turkey is mostly not in Europe. But E.U. defenders can’t seem to bring themselves to do that. It’s almost as if very soon they will be denouncing anybody who objects to Turkish accession as Islamophobes.
Mr. Gove said the European Union should be protesting Turkey’s “erosion of democratic freedoms” instead of granting it concessions.The referendum on June 23, Mr. Gove said, is “the only chance” for Britons to have their say on the free movement of Turks.“With the terrorism threat we face only growing, it is hard to see how it could possibly be in our security interests to open visa-free travel to 77 million Turkish citizens and to create a border-free zone from Iraq, Iran and Syria to the English Channel,” he said.Talk about burying the lede …In very recent news, from the AP:
EU Envoy to Turkey Resigns After Less Than a YearISTANBUL — Jun 14, 2016, 5:40 AM ETThe European Union’s envoy to Turkey has resigned less than a year into the job, according to his office.The EU delegation in Ankara confirmed that Hansjoerg Haber was leaving his post, without giving any reason.… The resignation comes at a sensitive time in EU-Turkish relations as the bloc recently brokered a deal with Turkey to curb illegal migration.