October 2005


Historic Day

Today is a histoic day that is far more important that meets the eye.

Turkey and the EU have agreed to formally start accession talks. Hopefully, if all goes well, this will result in Turkey joining the EU in the future.

There is an amazing amount of reluctance on the part of people to accept Turkey as a member of the EU in Germany, France, and Austria, among others. Most of the arguements against allowing Turkey to join are either racist/phobic reasons or economic reasons.

Addressing the racist/phobic reactions first: Muslims are not bad people–if you’re against them because they aren’t Christian, I might point out that many nations in Europe are essentially secular with pragmatic lipservice to religion. Spain, one of the continent’s most religious nations, appears to be keeping religion at arms length from its government–witness the fact that same-sex marriage has been legalized, much to the angst of the Catholic Church.

The economic arguements centering on Turkey having the greatest population and the least economic development are more substantive arguements. It’s all true, and Turkey will be a drag on the EU budget for quite awhile into the future. However, the economic arguement is countered by the security arguement. The consequences of not allowing Turkey into the club are more significant: Islamic radicals will have an “us versus them” arguement to push, helping to radicalize Turkish youth. By bringing Turkey into the club, the radica “us versus them” arguement will be effectively neutralized. The EU will be spared enourmous security costs.

Ultimately the EU will benefit from having Turkey in the club–not just in terms of security, but because it will bring a significant diversity to the continent. Society has witnessed the greatest advances when and where people with diverse backgrounds are allowed to mix and mingle. Take the world’s two current greatest cities: New York City and London. New York City’s diverse citizens have created a dynamic, alive culture and environment that is only matched by the excitement of London–and both are global crossroads.

Historically we can find that these global crossroads have been the sites of unmatched innovation.

Europe has the opportunity to keep itself a beacon of hope, diversity, and innovation. Allowing Turkey into the club is a significant step in ensuring its future well-being.

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