Monday, 18 April 2011

Erdogan's Plan to Split Istanbul

The Guardian today reports that Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan is considering splitting Istanbul up into two cities, one on the European side of the Bosphorus and the other on the Asiatic. Perhaps the new city on the European side could be called Constantinople, or even Byzantium?

The news of this reminds me of an interesting proposal made by the British Conservative MEP Struan Stevenson. He was one of a few MEPs I wrote to expressing opposition to Turkish membership of the European Union. All of the others seemed clueless about the issue. He was the only one who seemed well-informed. It was clear that he had grave misgivings about admitting Turkey to the EU but, at the same time, he felt that we had an obligation to offer them something following decades of promises. His plan was to offer EU membership only to the 3% of Turkey that is in Europe, in other words the European part of Istanbul.

So perhaps Erdogan's plan to split the city will bring Struan Stevenson's plan closer to reality.

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