Saturday, 1 August 2009

Grim Anniversary of Turkey's Bid to Join European Union

Yesterday marks the grim anniversary of Turkey's original request to join the European Union, or, as it then was, the European Economic Community. The request was rejected but a few years later, in 1963, the Turks were offered an association agreement which opened up the possibility of future membership.

What ought to have been nothing but a sick joke has instead turned into a horrific nightmare - a looming possibility which carries the potential to destroy the European Union altogether. How did this happen? Largely through the pusillanimity of successive generations of European politicans, who took the route of least resistance, succumbing to American pressure and deferring the day of decision till a later time, one in which they would be out of office and immune from criticism by anyone but a few switched-on historians (or bloggers). Generation after generation smiled and said, "Yes, later" to the Turks, instead of saying "Get real!". The endless deferral finally materialised into a frightening possibility in our own time, one that threatens to corrode European civilisation from within.

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