Turkey & the EU

Before I came to live in Turkey I was fully in support of their EU membership bid. Turkey has a strong and growing economy and it is one of the most modern secular countries with a vast majority Islamic population.

I thought that with the current economic crises facing Europe and the growing wave of Islamophobia throughout Europe that having this modern thinking and ‘successful’ country join its ranks that we in Europe would see that actually we are all the same and that their inclusion is of great benefit to us all.

Now, having lived in Turkey for just over a year I think pretty much the opposite.

Why the sudden turnaround I hear? Well…

As I briefly mentioned before in two earlier posts (1 year in Turkey & European Identity) it soon became clear that we (Europeans and Turks) are not all the same deep down and that Turkey really isn’t a modern and progressive country.

I oppose Turkey joining the European Union because of many things but ultimately it can be put down to one thing, Turkey isn’t European.

What I mean by this is not its geographical location and not its peoples’ religious views but the values they have are just so incompatible with European values. From my experiences of living here in Turkey (where I still reside) I can provide numerous examples of such differences but mostly it comes down to free will.

Before people jump the gun ‘free will’ means:

The power of acting without the constraint of necessity or fate; the ability to act at one’s own discretion.

People in Turkey have to sneak around with their partners if they’re not married for fear of reprisal. Even if you are engaged to your partner you still can’t live with them. You can’t rent an apartment as an unmarried couple. These are not actual laws enforced by the government but are unofficial rules enforced by the people themselves. If you express your views, religious, political, cultural etc you can expect anything up to being murdered (again not by the government but by normal everyday Turks). This cannot be any further from the European values of do what you like, no-one cares, no-one is staring at you, no-one will kill you for kissing the same sex in public etc.

Armenian Genocide

Speaking to people in Turkey, young and old alike there is a uniformed attitude and response to the Armenian genocide issue which is simple that there was no Armenian genocide, there was a civil war and people on both sides were killed and that the Armenian genocide issue is a conspiracy by the whole world against Turkey (paranoid!).


This one is a little more tricky, while arguably you could say the problems stem from the Greek-Cypriots coup attempt which gave Turkey no choice but to invade Cyprus to ‘protect’ the Turkish-Cypriots the fact is that the Turkish military didn’t leave the island after the coup attempt failed and normal democracy was restored. The occupied territory in the North did however vote to unify the island but the Republic South voted against it. The occupied territories of northern Cyprus are even today only recognised by Turkey leaving the situation a long way from being resolved and neither side of the issue willing to budge.

The Armenian and Cyprus issues are two of the biggest issues facing Turkey’s long standing EU negotiations.

A month ago in Berlin Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that the EU will lose Turkey if it isn’t granted EU membership by 2023.
Well Mr Erdogan, there is a reason why Turkey hasn’t been granted EU membership and will never be granted membership while Turkey’s values and attitudes remain so incompatible with ours.


2 responses to “Turkey & the EU

  1. Thanks for liking “hospital gowns,” and for your thoughts on Turkey and Europe.

  2. Hakis datvan

    To the European Commission :


    In order to create a Turkish nation from above, Turkish nationalists waged a bloody campaign against non-Turkish and non-Muslim elements of the empire.
    The First World War served as an excuse for the Young Turks, the then Turkish goverment, to exterminate Armenians. It was a deliberate and sustain war, in the course of which hundreds of thousands Armenians, Syrians and Greeks had been ruthlessly killed or forced into exile.
    The collapse of the Ottomans had left a power vacuum, filled by another section of the Turkish nationalists, called Kemalists at a later time.
    Mass extermination of the Ottoman times and also an extermination of an ethnically distinct and separate people from Turks.
    What happened back then has been handed down to the later generations by their parents and grand-parents, who witnessed the onslaught, and of whom some are still alive.
    Furthermore the sites of the mass graves all over West Armenia are well known and can easily be located if and when need be. The ruins of the country`s cultural heritage including churches belonged to the nations`s Christian section are still visible.
    The Turks are guilty of the genocide of millions. Muslims in general, are guilty of even more millions of non-muslim deaths.
    The Genocide of Armenians caused more severe damage to the Armenian nation than the Holocaust did to the Jews. While the number of Jews killed by the Germany was larger than the number of Armenians killed by Turkey, the Armenians lost most of their homeland of Cilicia and Western Armenia due to the genocide. The Holocaust also gave a huge international impetus to create Israel. the Holocaust helped create Israel; the Genocide help in the disappearance of the Armenian homeland.
    For even if the opening of Turkey’s archives conclusively show there was a deliberate policy and practice on the part of Turkish authorities in 1915-1923 to dispossess and eliminate Armenians (and Greeks) from their ancestral homeland by the use of mass murder, threats and intimidation–in short, that Turkey was guilty of genocide–what then? It is too late to put on trial any of the perpetrators of that genocide, since they have returned to the dust and mud whence they emerged.
    We think it is only fair to mention the Assyrians that were slaughtered as well with the Armenians and Greeks the total of the 3 ethnic groups were 2.8 million.
    People wish to see the justice served. A search for justice has already began. A legal action against Turkey will at long last be taken at some time in the future.

    We demand of the Turkish authorities firstly the recognition of our country, occupied west Armenia, which was autonomous under the Ottoman Empire and which lost its autonomy; secondly the recognition of the genocides or attempted genocides suffered by our people and which it witnessed in 1915.
    We demand the immediate end of the policy designated under the name ‘Plan D’ which forces the population into an exodus or forced assimilation.

    We demand demilitarisation and the banning of all the activities of military and paramilitary teams which have been exercising terror over the population since 1889.
    The language of the occupied west Armenia, is still banned today. We demand self-determination in the matter of communication, education and social organisation. The Turkish state must recognise the specific beliefs and traditions of the occupied west Armenia people. The policy of Islamisation and Turkishisation (exemplified by the precept: ‘one mosque per village, one Imam per village’) must cease.
    The military policy of the Turkish state has already destroyed a great part of our patrimony: setting fire to our forests, bombing our villages, systematic destruction of our historical monuments the sacred of our culture, and riches of humanity as well.

    We bring to your attention this dramatic reality in the context of the discussion of entering into negotiations with Turkey.

    May the threat to pour people end and may all the minorities of Anatolia live in peace.
    We, the signatures below, demand justice and support the initiatives aiming to bring Turkey to justice.


    Hakis Datvan, spokesman for the Collective Lake Van.

    Click here, if you want to sign


    “Avrupa Komisyonu: Ermeni soykiriminin kabulunde gereken adimlarin atilmasi” kampanyasını başlattım ve harekete geçirmek için senin yardımına ihtiyacım var.
    Hemen şimdi 30 saniyeni ayırarak bunu imzalar mısın? İşte linki:

    İşte bu yüzden önemli:
    Mazlum halklara karsi soykirimlarin bir daha tekrarlanmamasi icin…
    Bu linke tıklayarak kampanyamı imzalayabilirsin.
    Hakis Datvan

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