Thursday 9 July 2009

Turkey in Europe: A Bridge Too Far

A review of A Bridge Too Far by Philip Claeys & Koen Dillen, 2008.

This review first appeared in the Summer 2009 print edition of The Quarterly Review

In 1963 a promise was given to Turkey that one day they might, eventually, subject to a great many caveats and in the fullness of time, gain membership of what was then the European Economic Community. In October 2004 this intentionally vague promise was unexpectedly called in - dependant only on a little legal tinkering here and there - when the European Commission advised the European Council (rather as Herr Hitler once “advised” his Generals) to start accession negotiations with Turkey.

That this may not be terribly beneficial for mainstream Europe seems lost on a good number of European politicians, including David Cameron who should really know better having had the advantage of an Eton and Oxford education. But sadly, Dave, as he likes to be known in order to get down with the workingman, has backed Turkey’s accession and will probably be the British Prime Minister when Turkey finally fulfils its entry requirements. Such political naiveté is not restricted to European politicians alone. President Obama, the most powerful man on the planet now joins Cameron in this clarion call of Western lunacy. One can only hope Mr Barack Hussein Obama has Christian Europe’s best interests at heart.

After all, the history of Europe and Turkey has consisted of unremitting violence in the main, carried out between disparate civilisations and religions over many centuries. The failed siege of Vienna in 1529 by Suleiman the Magnificent. The Venetians’ loss of Cyprus in 1573 to Suleiman’s son Selim, despite the destruction of his fleet by Pope Pius the Fifth’s Crusaders at the battle of Lepanto in 1571. The defeat by Jan Sobieski of the Ottoman army under Kara Mustafa Pasha at the gates of Vienna in 1683 and the final dismantling of the Ottoman Empire after backing the wrong horse in World War One. All have been documented in great detail, yet there is a dearth of information on modern day Turkey.

But that has now changed. Philip Claeys and Koen Dillen of Belgium’s Vlaams Belang Party have produced a devastating book that puts forward a variety of arguments regarding the unsuitability of Turkish entry to the EU. Written in 2008 and cleverly titled A Bridge Too Far it associates Asian Turkey’s link to European Turkey by bridge alone, with the 1974 book by Cornelius Ryan of the same title describing the overstretch of allied forces and their subsequent failure in capturing an all important bridge over the lower Rhine in Arnhem. The analogy of course, is the political overstretch and potential for catastrophe should the EU allow the admission of Turkey as a member state.

With quite magnificent chutzpah, or an equally magnificent lack of self-awareness, Taki Theodoracopulos’s opening paragraph in the foreword of Claeys and Dillen’s book sets the tone in his typically succinct manner: “Lets not mince words. Inviting Turkey to become part of the European Union is the equivalent of a man recently married to a beautiful young bride inviting Don Giovanni to be his houseguest during the honeymoon. The concept is more than stupid – it is suicidal.”

Claeys and Dillen flesh out this simplistic yet all too accurate description of a European death wish with basic reasoning and detailed analysis. First and foremost of the basics is that Turkey is not a European country. An obvious statement, but the EU does not always deal in the obvious. Four percent of Turkey’s total area is situated on the European continent; ninety-six percent is part of Asia. It shares some of its border with Iraq, Iran and Syria, hardly European buffer zones, one country with which the West has had two wars in fifteen years, another we may yet have to go with war with, and another which allegedly finances and arms movements deployed against Western interests today. In addition, the potentially explosive Kurdish question ceases to be a Middle Eastern problem and becomes a European dilemma instead, as does the Turkish army’s occupation of northern Cyprus.

Turkey is not a Christian country, as war historians will note. Admittedly, not many European countries can be labelled with such a moniker today, but Turkey is not even post-Christian. It is emphatically and undeniably Islamic, and whilst the Lisbon Treaty shamefully contains no reference to Europe’s Christian heritage in its founding documents, it does at least have the decency to mention shared values in article 1a:

“Drawing inspiration from the cultural, religious and humanist inheritance of Europe, from which have developed the universal values of the inviolable and inalienable rights of the human person, freedom, democracy, equality and the rule of law.”

If there is any religious inheritance in Europe today it is Judeo/Christian, and primarily Christian. It matters not that Christianity is declining. It has shaped our culture, our morality, our economy, our history and our very people. On this issue alone Turkey fails the criteria necessary for accession. On further issues of democracy and equality, particularly female equality, it fails again, which I shall come back to later.

The sheer size of Turkey brings another negative issue to the EU table. At almost 800,000 square kilometres she dwarfs Germany, the EU’s present largest country by over twice the area and almost matches her population numbers as well. Turkey currently has 71 million inhabitants compared to Germany’s 82 million, but Turkey is expected to expand to 100 million by 2050, whilst Germany, although not actually shrinking, will only grow courtesy of non-indigenous immigrants, the majority of whom just happen to Turkish.

This is of particular importance apropos the number of delegates any European country can send to the European parliament. The larger one’s population, the larger the number of delegates, thus the Europe of 2025 could find itself in the curious situation where an Islamic country is allowed to wield the most powerful bloc vote in Brussels’ European parliament, which itself sits in a city with a majority Islamic population.

Apologists for Turkey point out it is not a hard-line Islamic state such as Saudi Arabia, which is true, but it is not a democracy in the European sense of the word. Established after the end of the First World War under the leadership of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, Turkey was catapulted into near modernity as that all too rare an entity in the Islamic world – a secular state.

But it is an increasingly uneasy secular state, with constant friction between religion and politics. There are two powers in Turkey, the secular army and the Islamist government. The current Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan is all too aware of the fate of former Prime Minister Nezmettin Erbakan who was removed from power in 1997 and his Islamist Refah party outlawed by the Turkish army.

But Prime Minister Erdogan still pushes his luck. He has “form” as they say around the Old Bailey. He was jailed briefly in 1998 for quoting an Islamic “poem” at a public event, which included the words: “The mosques are our barracks, the domes our helmets, the minarets our bayonets and the faithful our soldiers.”

Although promoting himself to the West as a voice of secular reason, Erdogan is also on record as stating there is no such thing as moderate Islam. Worse still, it was the description of Islam as moderate, the term so over-utilised by the BBC as a projection of what they deeply, deeply desire Islam to be, which so enraged him. Speaking on Kanal D TV’s Arena program on August 21, 2007, Erdogan said: ‘these descriptions are very ugly; it is offensive and an insult to our religion. There is no moderate or immoderate Islam. Islam is Islam and that’s it.”

In 2008 Erdogan’s AKP (Justice and Development Party) was found guilty of promoting pro-Islamic anti-secularist ideology. Had seven of the eleven justices concurred, the AKP would have been disbanded and Erdogan removed from power, but as only six found against the AKP, they were allowed to remain in-situ, albeit with their state funding halved.

Claeys and Dillen outline in disturbing detail the gradual hardening of Islamism into a Turkey never envisaged by Ataturk, and raise the decidedly important question of Turkish immigration into borderless EU countries should Turkey gain accession. They quote EU officials who believe only 2.7 million Turks will move to Europe, the same EU officials no doubt who thought only 17 thousand Poles would come to England, rather than the 2 million who of course did just that.

Former Dutch Minister, Rita Verdonk, stated that two thirds of young Turkish men in Holland look for marriage partners in their country of origin, a figure replicated by young Pakistanis in Britain and presumably therefore by Muslims in Germany as well, which is home to almost 3 million Turks.

The EU officials’ figure of a mere 2.7 million immigrants is laughable. Germany alone may take that number in a matter of months, the rest of Europe possibly ten times that. And regardless of whether they actually move to traditional European countries, the 71 million new EU Turks would transform the Muslim population of the EU from 25 million to almost 100 million overnight, and with higher numbers comes lower assimilation into the host countries culture, helped along by the Turkish Prime Minister’s speech to 16,000 cheering Turks in Cologne, Germany, in February 2008, when he told them “assimilation is a crime against humanity.”

This has serious implications not just for social cohesion, but also for the economy. Claeys and Dillen point toward a 2006 poverty study by Turkstat (The Turkish Statistics Institute) which revealed 13 million Turks living below the poverty line in a country whose idea of poverty is markedly different to ours, and where over half a million people are close to starvation. GDP per head is only seventeen percent of the EU average, with almost half of that measly percentage made up by what Claeys and Dillen politely refer to as the “informal sector” - or the black market to you and me.

Their chapter entitled “Social and Economic Integration is Impossible” crunches a lot of numbers and statistics. The essence being the economic foolishness in believing an enormous, backward, poor, corrupt, agricultural society could be absorbed into the bosom of the EU without incurring crippling costs in EU subsidies should Turks decide to stay in Turkey, or massive welfare payments should they decide the grass is greener in say, for example, the valleys of Wales.

Claeys and Dillen, not surprisingly, devote a detailed study of human rights abuse under the heading “Genocide, Ethnic Cleansing, Oppression and State Denial” which deals with a variety of unpleasantness. The ethnic cleansing of the Armenians as a historical fact, the ongoing oppression of women and potential virginity tests prior to marriage, the thousands of honour killings and the 35% of males who believe the killing of adulterous women to be acceptable, police brutality, torture and the imprisonment of journalists who contravene Turkish penal code 301 which laid down jail terms of six months to three years for “anyone who openly denigrates the government, judicial institutions or military or police structures.”

The result of all the above makes for a scenario where, unlike bogus asylum seekers seeking economic sanctuary in England, genuine Turkish refugees attempt to seek genuine asylum in any EU country which will take them, leading Claeys and Dillen to note Europe cannot recognise political or sexual refugees from Turkey whilst simultaneously accepting that country as a member state.

Given the various failings of Turkey as a potential 28th member state of the EU, would it be cynical to think “if Turkey, then why not Algeria, Morocco or Tunisia?” Well, cynical or not, it has already been thought of. In late 2007, banana toting British Foreign Secretary, David Milliband, floated the idea that the EU should expand to include North African and Middle Eastern countries, thereby extending his penchant for bent exotic fruit beyond mere foodstuffs to entire republics. That Angela Merkel and Nicolas Sarkozy did not immediately deride such a perverse viewpoint - as one might have expected - speaks volumes, as does the bickering between Europe’s two most powerful politicians who argue the merits and debits of a “Mediterranean Union” between themselves.

President Muammar Gaddafi of Libya has slightly more sinister thoughts than David Milliband, if not equally as unhinged. On April 10th, 2006, Gaddafi made a speech broadcast by Al Jazeera TV in which he put forward a vision of Europe made to the Colonel’s not so secret recipe:

“There are signs that Allah will grant Islam victory in Europe. Without swords, without guns, without conquests, the fifty million Muslims of Europe will turn it into a Muslim continent within a few decades. Allah mobilises the Muslim nation of Turkey and adds it to the European Union. That’s another fifty million Muslims. There will be 100 million Muslims in Europe. Europe is in a predicament, and so is America. They should agree to become Islamic in the course of time, or else declare war on the Muslims.”

War is one issue that Claeys and Dillen neglect to cover. Young Turkish males mired in grinding poverty would no doubt be attracted to the EU wages paid by the barely disguised future European army. Indeed, as the ratio of military age Turks is almost double that of the EU population, Europe could find itself with an army whose ranks contain a significant minority of Muslim soldiers. What would be the situation if the EU felt compelled to attack Iran, or the army was called in to put down Allahu-Akbaring adolescents in Andalucia, mutinous Muslims in Malmo or insurrectionary Islamists in Istanbul? The potential for inciting World War Three hardly bears thinking about.

But such an omission takes nothing away from Claeys and Dillen’s painstaking analysis as to why Turkey should never, ever, be accepted into the Europe Union. Justice cannot be done to “A Bridge Too Far” in the few words this review allows, but to finish what Taki and his reference to European suicide started, it is surely no less improvident for European Christians to promote the accession of Turkey, than for Turkeys to promote the celebration of Christmas.


  1. Yes, Turkey should not be allowed into the European Union; but all the signs are that it will be.

    All the British mainstream political parties are supporters of Turkey's entry, although they are reluctant to put this in their election manifestos, given that a majority of British (and E.U. people) oppose Turkish entry.

    Turkish entry is key to the E.U. project of the Islamization of Europe, which Bat Ye'or has perceptively written about for years in books like 'Eurabia'.

  2. I have just discovered you via a link from another site. Your piece on multiculturalism (2007) is outstanding, the 'saddest' paragraph being the last one which says it all! Will work my way through your others. Please keep posting.

  3. There are clearly economic risks in Turkey joining the EU, as indeed there were with the eastern block countries that have recently become member states. I think the risk of an Islamic take over from within is somewhat overstated. Possibly the greater risk is to deliberately isolate millions of Muslims from western influence (and vice versa). The Turkish Cypriots in Northern Cyprus are a prime example of very moderate, very secular islam. Turkey's invasion of Cyprus in 1974 was a defensive action precipitated by the Greek lead coup that threatened the security of the minority Turkish Cypriot population.

  4. The political threat to Europe from any future entry of Turkey intgo the European Union is generally grossly underestimated.

    The political Islamic forces in Turkey are strong, and are keen to Islamise Europe; Obama, putting what he (wrongly)thinks are American interests, above those of the European people, presses for the entry of Turkey's 75 million Muslims.

    The majority of European people brought up in a European Judeo-Christian civilisation do not want to concede this to the threat of Islamic imperialism.

  5. Although there is no doubt a contingent in Turkey who would want to spread the influence of islam in Europe there are equally those who would want Turkey to harmonise with the European way of life. Europe heavily outweighs Turkey in all respects so in reality it is more likely that Turkish people will be influenced by European ways than the other way around. Historically of course Europeans have been very active in promoting their Christian based culture to the East. All cultures are inherently suspicious of other cultures and seek security in maintaining and promoting their own. Thus (as is already evident) Europeans and islamic cultures are equally as retiscent to adopt each other's ways when living side by side. In 1945 the majority of Europe would have been very fearful of Germany having another go at taking them over. Prior to Hitler's influence Germany was essentially a Christian influenced culture. It just takes 1 man with a set of borders around him in economic and political isolation to create a catastrophe. Could this happen again in Germany? Anything of course is possible but I would suggest that the open borders, multi national corporate presence and economic harmonisation in Germany and all other EU states is a significant dilutant force against such extremism. When the Berlin Wall came down the rest of Europe was not swamped by communism. We are all concerned by Islamic extremism but this clearly won't go away purely by hiding behind borders. The only way Turkey could enforce Islamic imperialism on Europe against the wishes of the majority would be by force... if that is their intent then why would they wait to join the EU?

  6. Of course, the political lobby for Islamic Turkey is very strong, not least from the EU bureaucracy, and from Islamic states.

    What a prize the Islamic take-over of Europe will be. There may be little need for much outright Islamic jihad against the Christians and Jews. The widespread dhimmitude among Western 'leaders' is making a take-over easy. Who says that Islam is imperialist? Read the Koran. It is a duty of Muslims to make the world Muslim. There are the methods of Al Qaeda, and there are the methods of the Muslim Brotherhood.

    The impact of Turkey's entry will speed up the Islamization of Europe in all the ways which Paul Weston indicates in his review here.

    Islam does not change. In 1,400 years it is the exception to the historical experience of religion assimilating to local society. Islam is a dogma. Islam is not about mutuality. Turkey's Islamic leaders do not want its 75 million Muslims to assimilate inside the E.U.

    For some dangerous notion of 'diversity', the E.U is turning European civilization into a threatening Islamification project, via Turkey.

    Comments effectively saying, 'Oh, Turkey's entry may not be so bad' are likely to be surrogate Turkey advocates, or people unfamiliar with Islamic history, as outlined in this book:

    "The Legacy of Jihad: Islamic Holy War and thew Fate of Non-Muslims" by Andrew Bostom Ed., 2005.

  7. Thanks to Jack R

    You said all that I was thinking of saying myself in reply to the anonymous commenter before you.

    As you say, many people are unfamiliar with Islamic history.

    Andrew Bostom is one of only a few reputable scources of information on this subject. I am glad you are aware of him.

  8. And thank you Pat, for your encouraging comment.

  9. Don't know what they're doing in the European Football Cahmpionship

  10. See also the additional anti-Turkey in EU arguments at:

    'Jihadwatch' (24 July 09) -

    "Why doesn't anyone talk about the Turkish occupation of northern Cyprus?"

    An excerpt:

    "This week marks thirty-five years of the Turkish occupation and ethnic cleansing of northern Cyprus. People have been driven out of their homes, churches have been converted into mosques, and the thriving resort of Famagusta transformed into a ghost town. Nobody cares. Instead, the trumped-up plight of the 'Palestinians,' an invented nationality committed to the eradication of a sovereign state in the name of Islamic jihad, occupies the world's attention."

    "'Turkish Invasion and Cyprus Occupation,' from CyprusNet:

    'On 15 July 1974 the ruling military junta of Greece staged a coup to overthrow the democratically elected Government of Cyprus.
    'On 20 July Turkey, using the coup as a pretext, invaded Cyprus, purportedly to restore constitutional order. Instead, it seized 35% of the territory of Cyprus in the north, an act universally condemned as a gross infringement of international law and the UN Charter.'

    (Links to full article at 'Jihadwatch'.)

  11. For lengthy VIDEO historical reference on Turkey, and the Armenian genocide:

    "The Armenian Genocide"

    (at 'new english')

  12. Of course, 'The Guardian' is keen to print a Muslim Brotherhood type case for Turkey's entry into the E.U. The case is put (with chutzpah) by none other than Tariq Ramadan. (See 'Guardian' -Comment is free.)

    Significantly, most commenters there disagree with Ramadan.

    Perhaps 'The Guardian', in the cause of real debate, will invite Paul to put the opposite case. Then again...

  13. Thanks for posting this review and drawing attention to the book. Do you have any idea where it can actually be purchased, though? It doesn't seem to be available from Amazon.

  14. @ Stop Turkey

    The book is not yet available at Amazon, which will be the sole point of sale.

    If you click on the link to the book at the beginning of the article you will be able to sign up for notification from Amazon as soon as it is in print.


  15. There is a useful addition to the opposition to Turkey's entry to EU, at: 'gates of vienna.':

    "The EU, Islam and Turkey"

    (10 Aug. 2009).

  16. You guys are sick. Get a life instead of living in fear! Turkey is here to stay and would probably outlive EU. Its people work hard (much harder than Europeans actually) and Istanbul has already one of the most vibrant cultural scenes of Europe now (It was the Europe's largest city for a millennium, when London was a hamlet). I went to Athens for two years. There was nothing left from 400 years of Turkish presence, not even tombstone. The same story in the rest of the Balkans. I once went to Toledo and the way old Mosque treated was a shame.

    Get off your high horses and grab the opportunity. Probably you will not get it again for a long time.

  17. > [Istanbul] was the Europe's largest city for a millennium.

    It was also Greek apart from the last 500 years, since you are talking in terms of millenia.

    > I went to Athens for two years. There was nothing left from 400 years of Turkish presence, not even tombstone.

    Athens had a population of 30,000 with a large Greek majority at the point of the Greek independence and was nothing more than a small village; it now has about 5 million people, so don't expect to find much. Besides the mosque that was there was a conversion from a christian church, and neither should be on the Acropolis anyway... If you want to see remnants of the Turkish **occupation**, go to the north.

    Besides, pre-Turkish Constantinople was the largest and almost fully Christian city for more than 1200 years, where are all the churches?

    However, I don't consider this argument valid . It's similar to lamenting that the Parisians took down the Swastikas from their buildings and 5 years of German occupation during WWII have been erradicated. Yeah, right...

    > The same story in the rest of the Balkans. I once went to Toledo and the way old Mosque treated was a shame.

    And the St Sophia in Instanbul was converted to a mosque and now to a museum which is absolutely shameful.

    > Probably you will not get it again for a long time.

    So now Turkey is doing *us* a favour?

  18. The problem for Turkey is that to join the EU, it has to send the army to the barracks for good. If they do though, secular Turkey will be destroyed as the Islamists rapidly take power, which puts paid to EU membership. Catch 22.

    The EU is thus safe in playing "Turkey".

  19. Turkey has no place in Europe because it has never repented for the genocide of her Armenian population. Unlike Germany that has gone out of her way to make up for Hitler's crimes against Jews and other victims of Nazi racism, Turkey denies her own Holocaust.

    And it was not only Armenians who were exterminated. Christian Assyrians also were most cruelly persecuted and killed en masse. Many Greeks were killed. All these facts of history are obstinately denied by practically all Turkish politicians and general public as well.

    How can such a country be admitted into modern Europe whose motto is 'Humanity and Tolerance'? There is nothing humane or tolerant about Turkey.

    Let us not forget that Turkey de facto occupies half of Cyprus, maintaining there a puppet government and sending there numerous Turks from the mainland.

    Western politicians who promote Turkey's integration into Europe cannot be that stupid - after all, they are not clinical idiots. They are traitors, they are criminals, they are covering up Turkey's genocide, racism and religious intolerance.