Today’s news from Turkey (reported here from the Turkish media and here from the UK media) is about comments Egemen Bağış has made. Mr Bağış is the Turkish minister for EU Affairs and chief negotiator of Turkey’s accession talks with the European Union.
Mr Bağış is currently under investigation by Swiss authorities for genocide denial with comments he made in 2012 in Switzerland in reference to the Armenian genocide carried out by the Ottomans in 1915.
Mr Bağış has said that he believes that Turkey will never become a full member of the European Union , citing ‘stiff opposition’ and ‘European prejudices’. There is certainly strong opposition to Turkey’s application to join the EU but it’s not prejudice.
As I have written about before and has been well documented the opposition to Turkey’s application is mainly due to several specific issues such as:
The Cyprus issue
The Armenian genocide
Freedom of speech
Freedom of the press
However some of the opposition is more general, the European Union is a union of countries that share the same or similar values. Yes the union is an economic union, a financial union, a political union but it is also a social union, a union of shared culture and values.
Any European who has lived in Turkey or spent a reasonable amount of time in Turkey will know that Turkey isn’t a European country. This is not about geography, this is about culture, values and attitudes.
I want to focus on the general attitude of the Turkish people and their government (as I have already covered in part about the other aspects)…
The attitude is one of irresponsibility and denial, one of misplaced arrogance. This can be seen both past and present but we cannot change the past so let’s think about the present.
This can be seen by their words and actions in relation to the listed above issues but also from a personal perspective I have seen this when working with Turkish people and living in Turkey (mentioned in previous blog posts).
They have the attitude of male superiority over women, that their influence and history is greater than that of other nations and the complete failure to recognise their own failings at both the individual and national level. The Turkish people fail to accept any global reports that reflect badly on Turkey (such as HDI, freedom of the press etc) saying that they are a conspiracy. It’s hard to provide examples with evidence as these are from conversations I have had personally but here are a few just from the last couple of days (in the news)…
Turkey sets up ‘Turkvision’ because it keeps losing the EuroVision song contest.
Turkey gets humiliated at the EuroBasket (European basketball competition) after it’s best player is sent home for exercising free speech.
Mr Bağış blames Europe for Turkey not recognising and dealing with its own problem (Armenia, freedom, Cyprus etc) because they are ‘prejudice’.
Recep Tayyip Erdogan blames foreigners for the Gezi Park protests.
Recep Tayyip Erdogan blames prejudice for not winning the right to hold the Olympic games
Recep Tayyip Erdogan blames anyone and everyone for anything and everything (except himself or his party)
Something the Turkish people should learn is what ‘prejudice’ means:
Prejudice – Preconceived opinion not based on reason or experience.
Europe is NOT prejudice because its reasons ARE based on reason and experience.