Thursday, December 16, 2004

Turkish Threats

Ahead of an EU summit this week, Mr Erdogan said there were "some reasons" to believe a conflict is looming but added: "Turkey is a catalyst to make sure we have harmony of civilisations. It is a bridge between the Islamic world and the rest of the world."

Describing Turkey as a "guarantee of an entente between the civilisations", Mr Erdogan said the country's integration into the EU is "the project of the century".

Asked what would happen if Turkey's bid for membership talks collapsed, he replied: "If Turkey is not taken in then everyone will have to continue with the status quo. This is a danger we have right now."
If the Turks plan to negotiate their way into the E.U. by threats, one can only imagine what they'll do once inside it. The U.S. has been cajoling Brussels for years to admit Turkey, a key U.S. ally, into the E.U.; but the Europeans have steadfastly resisted, pointedly dragging their heels. As well they should - whatever progress Turkey has made in regard to democracy and human rights, it remains a fully Muslim nation with a core culture radically different from the post-Christian, quasi-socialist liberal culture of most of Europe. With more than 70 million people, demographically skewed toward the very young, Turkey will likely act less as an agency of healing and more as hypodermic needle, infusing the rest of Europe with even more Islamic immigrants, who will be able to move freely across the rest of the E.U., settling where opportunity seems best. This will provoke even more clashes (as in Holland and Denmark).

Many Europeans themselves realize this. In September 2004, French Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin, while affirming France's (read: Jacque Chirac's) support for Turkey's ultimate admission to the E.U., sounded a note of warning: "We don't think we should tell Turkey that the doors of Europe are forever closed to it," Mr. Raffarin said, adding, "Do we want the river of Islam to enter the riverbed of secularism?" The Netherlands has already provided a sad and sobering example of the results of mixing Muslims with liberal European social values.

Worse, while secular democracy has been the mainstay of most of Europe for a century or more, it is maintained in Turkey only though the constant vigilence and threat of action from the Turkish military, which ever so often takes over the government to purge Islamist elements and repress the extremists. Once under the E.U. umbrella, however, military coups will not be acceptable and the Turkish military will have to stay in their barracks no matter which extremist Islamist political party gets voted into office. And what will the E.U. do when the Turks vote into power their very own version of the Taliban or ayatollahs? What will the E.U. do when that government decides that women shouldn't vote, or drive, or be educated, or that homosexuals should be executed, or that heretics should be burned? Economic sanctions? Enforced how? And what if the Turks refuse to back down? Throwing Turkey out of the E.U. would likely prove even more difficult than admitting it.

But the longer Turkey would remain in the E.U. the more impossible expulsion would become. Almost every E.U. member state is grappling with dwindling birth rates. For all the hopes and dreams of Jacque Chirac, the E.U. will never become a military counterweight to the U.S. simply because there aren't sufficient numbers of European young men to comprise a rival military (nor will there be sufficient money, given the precarious nature of most European economies - given their expensive, comfortable welfare states, the Europeans are unlikely to endure the required benefit reductions to fund military expenditures many times greater than current outlays). Turkey might solve this problem, some backers of Turkish E.U. admission argue. In the long term, of course, reliance on Turkish youth for Europe's defense represents an even worse dependency, since it would defer the need for Europe to address the fact that its people no longer produce enough children to maintain its population. It would also mean that Europeans, relying on an E.U. armed forces manned disproportionately by Turks, would be hard pressed to resist any demand Turkey might imposed in the future on the E.U. If in ten or fifteen years, for instance, if Turkey pressed for even greated immigration from other Muslim nations, could the E.U. say no?

Steve Sailer summarizes the problem well enough:
Turkey's population within a couple of decades will be larger than Germany, currently the largest E.U. state. Turkish Muslims would be the single largest voting bloc within the E.U. And it would be difficult to deny Turks for long the right possessed by other E.U. members to migrate anywhere within the E.U.

How many Turks would move to Europe if given the chance? Well, about 1/6th of all people of Mexican descent in the world live in the United States. But the more realistic comparison would be Puerto Rico, which has unlimited legal migration rights with its rich neighbor, the U.S.
According to George Borjas, about 1/4th of Puerto Rico moved to the U.S. mainland in a couple of decades, until the federal government started bribing Puerto Ricans to stay at home with food stamps and the like. That would mean clsoe to 20 million additional Muslims moving into Europe proper - on top of the 15 to 20 million already causing so much trouble.
That would be a cultural, political and security disaster - not just for Europe, but also for the U.S.
Think about it this way: Admitting Turkey into the European Union would be very like admitting Mexico to the United States.
As Mr. Sailer observes, the U.S. faces a similar problem. The overall U.S. birth rate has declined markedly from its post-war high. This deficit of young people - at its worst in the 1970's - will shortly wreck havoc on the U.S. Social Security system. The U.S. has been bolstering its otherwise dwindling birth rate by importing young workers from other countries, most notably Mexico. That one-way relationship had made the U.S. heavily dependent on Mexico (and by extension all of Latin America) for cheap labor. That dependency spawned an business lobby in Washington D.C., motivated soley by economic considerations, who have fought tooth and nail to increase the numbers of Mexicans (and others) flowing across the southern border. Every measure to secure the border or curtail illegal immigration (such as prosecuting businesses that knowingly hire illegals) has been effectively thwarted or rendered ineffective, and the U.S. is now dangerously dependent on the massive influx of illegal aliens who keep wages (and therefore prices) low in certain sectors of the economy.

According to Professors Refik Erzan and Kemal Kirisci of Bogaziçi University (Istanbul, Turkey), in 1972 there were 600,000 Turks living in European countries; by 2004 that number had grown to 3.2 million. Professors Erzan and Kirisci dismiss estimates in European media that 25 percent of Turks might move to European countries if Turkey were admitted to the E.U. but concede that "more serious studies" suggest that 1.3 to 2.7 million more Turks might flow into Europe by 2030 regardless of Turkey's status. The professors - who adamantly support Turkey's admittance into the E.U. - reject complaints that Turkish immigrants are not assimilating into their host countries societies, but then admit almost matter-of-factly that some don't.
The answer to the question of whether large numbers of Turkish nationals would actually flood the EU in case of accession needs to be taken out of populist rhetoric. There certainly will be a movement of people from Turkey to the EU. However, we need to understand much better the demographic and economic dynamics behind it as well as what the composition of that movement would be. Given the importance of the EU as an anchor in Turkish politics and for the economy, it is quite likely that migration might be greater and of a more difficult sort if the prospects of membership is lost.
It would be wrong to make sweeping observations that Turkish immigrants fail to integrate across the board. Some do and some do not. It is much more important to understand the dynamics that bring about these outcomes rather than make simplistic observations attributing the problem to religion or “genetics.”
Unfortunately for the moderate language offered by the professors, it is the Islamists who have proclaimed religion as their motivation for jihad against the liberal West, not merely "racist" Western commentators. And the question of Turkish migration is too important for Europe to be written off with vacillating non-commital language. Europe needs to place the integrity of its culture and population at the forefront of its policy considerations. Anything the facilitates the mass migration of people from an alien culture into Europe - particularly if those people have a track record of violently rebelling against European culture - is contrary to Europe's long term interests.


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