Reuters photo: Recep Tayyip "Islam is Islam and that's it" Erdogan and David "There is `real Islam and the distorted version of the extremists' " Cameron, together, in Ankara
The argument over whether to admit Turkey to the European Union seems eternal, at least among EU elites. Among the peoples of of Europe, when give the rare chance to make their will known at the ballot box -- increasingly window-dressing as far as the soft totalitarians of the EU are concerned -- there is little argument. There is bona fide consensus: NO to Turkey becoming a part of Europe. Why? For one thing, because it is not.
Tell that to British Prime Minister David Cameron, currently in Ankara selling the inclusiveness-for-Turkey-line (something the US has quite meddlesomely clamored for), pushing Tukish membership in the EU as an antidote to -- updated -- as the Telegraph put it, "anti-Muslim prejudice." Such prejudice is typically portrayed as being based in a senseless bias rather than in a historically grounded, contemporarily confirmed fear for the obliteration of bedrock Western values and principles.
As I noted back in 2005, the inclusion of Turkey is a political move with more than political consequences: Demographically alone, it promises to apply, or, rather, accelerate the finishing touches on the Islamization of Europe:
If approved, Turkey, second in EU population only to Germany, would bring its tens of millions of Muslims into largely post-Christian, secular European society; with them comes a weighty Islamic influence on European affairs that would boost the transition, as [then London mayor Ken] Livingstone might say, of Europe to a multicultural, multiracial and — more pertinent — Islamized continent of Eurabia.
Not that this salient point is ever raised. "Europe can either decide to become a global actor or it can fence itself off as a Christian club," Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said, flipping the issue on its head before the EU voted to open membership talks with Turkey. In light of the EU's deliberate omission of "God" or "Christianity" in its 439-page constitution, this was a fairly obnoxious comment. Besides, Turkey has long "fenced itself off" into such Islamic "clubs" as the Organization of the Islamic Conference, and the Cairo Declaration of Human Rights in Islam. The latter is an Islamic version of the United Nations' Universal Declaration of Human Rights; it elevates sharia (Islamic law) over universal human rights, and declares the Muslim community's role is to "guide" humanity. Which is more than just clubby.
But there was another implication to the Turkish leader's words: that Western identity is merely a tribal expression of petty insularity. Free will, free conscience — the evolution of individual liberty — is the gift of Judeo-Christian civilization, and it is one that Islam has never accepted. Tragically, it is one that Westerners may be throwing away. Britain's [then-]foreign minister, Jack Straw, was equally dismissive of Europe's "so-called Christian heritage," while Britain's Lord Patten, a former EU official, pegged opposition to Turkish membership to "relics of Christianity,"a rather nasty way to belittle natural concern over a proposed event one European minister has compared to the fall of the Berlin Wall. "To define Europe today as though it were an introverted, cohesive, medieval Christian community is, I think, terrible," said Lord Patten. Maybe he means that to define Europe as European is terrible.
The trend continues.
From a report on Cameron's speech in today's Telegraph:
Addressing the EU membership which Britain has supported for years along with nations including Italy and Spain, but which has stalled amid opposition from Nicolas Sarkozy, the French President, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, he [Cameron] will tell the Turks: "I will remain your strongest possible advocate for EU membership and for greater influence at the top table of European diplomacy.
"Together, I want us to pave the road from Ankara to Brussels."
Mr Cameron will attack: "those who wilfully misunderstand Islam" and who "see no difference between real Islam and the distorted version of the extremists."
How impolitic if not downright rude of British PM Cameron! Doesn't he realize that his host Turkish PM Erdogan has specifically and repeatedly expressed his furor over those who would dare make distinctions between "moderate" and "extremist" Islam? To wit: "These descriptions are very ugly," Erdogan said in 2007. "It is offensive and an insult to our religion. There is no moderate or immoderate Islam. Islam is Islam, and that's it." Erdogan has also bluntly rejected descriptions of Turkey itself as an example of "moderate Islam," saying in April 2009: "It is unacceptable for us to agree with such a definition. Turkey has never been a country to represent such a concept. Moreover, Islam cannot be classified as moderate or not."
Blunder on. Back to today's Telegraph:
[Cameron] will also criticise those who view international relations as "polarised" or a clash between eastern and western civilisations. Nations who want to keep Turkey out of the EU for protectionist reasons will also come under attack.
Mr Cameron will say it makes him "angry that your progress towards EU membership can be frustrated in the way it has been."
"I believe it's just wrong to say Turkey can guard the camp but not be allowed to sit inside the tent," he will add, criticising those who suggest that the country should pick between the east and the west, saying Turkey was stronger because it had chosen both.
Anyone who thinks Turkey has chosen "both" is closing his eyes. Anyone who believes a country can choose "both" is blind.