Thursday, 12 February 2015

‘The EU is bad for Turkey’s Health’ The UK is an example of it!

The Tulip - National Flower of Turkey

As Great Britain prepares for what is likely to be a crucial General Election on May 7th, the EU and Britain’s membership thereof is a significant aspect of the election campaign. Labour and the Liberal Democrats have effectively ruled out the referendum so long denied to the electorate by successive governments. The Conservative Party have promised one, but this is blatantly for electioneering purposes for the leadership are almost all intuitively pro-EU. Only UKIP, if elected would deliver a straight IN/OUT vote on continued EU membership. They make a compelling case too.

Pan the camera a couple of thousand miles to the east and Turkey, that nation of some 70+ million souls, have been EU aspirant members for many years yet are no closer to achieving that goal now, than they were when the current process was re-kindled in the early 2000’s. This column has long promoted the more pragmatic approach to Turkey’s relations with the European Union, that of a hybrid Trade and Movement agreement, also referred to as a Preferred Partner arrangement of the type suggested by Germany. This would obviate Full Membership and prevent the ceding of governmental sovereignty to a foreign entity, the EU. 

The latter is contrary to the Turkish Constitution anyway, but the Turkish are a proud people and that pride could well be pricked if membership is ultimately declined, a highly likely outcome given that many nations are resolved to employ their veto, namely France, Greece, Austria and (obviously) south Cyprus. The Turkish nations health would however, be greatly enhanced by swallowing the pill of pragmatism; to do otherwise is unhealthy.

Great Britain entered the Common Market in 1973 under the leadership of the then Prime Minister Edward Heath who was rabidly Europhile and utterly determined to take the UK into what became the European Union.  Such was his determination that he ‘rolled-over’ to 11th hour demands from France and Spain that we agreed to a Common Agricultural and Fisheries Policy which was to prove both costly and ultimately disastrous to both sectors, especially the latter. So controversial was his decision to unilaterally adopt this policy, it was encased in secrecy which was not made public until 2003 under the 30- year rule. Both this and numerous other EU rulings have damaged this nation’s health and the security thereof, it could be argued.

Trading relations with neighbouring countries is vital to any nation’s economic health but should not be to the detriment of such relations further a-field around the globe. Churchill suggested, in relation to Europe that if we had to choose between Europe and the open sea, then we should always choose that open sea. This column strongly endorses this wisdom and one suggests that UKIP would do likewise for Britain is not naturally European politically; we are an island-race and still one with global reach with access to many lucrative markets outside of the EU. This is healthy for the nation whereas being dictated to and governed by a foreign entity (the EU) is quite the opposite and counter-democratic.

Turkey is a country with a vast land mass of some 775,000 square kilometres and around 5,500 kilometres of coastline. The majority of her land mass is not geographically European though, it is located in Asia-Minor as is Cyprus which also should not be in the EU but that is another issue. As a trading nation, historically and in contemporary times, Turkey connected east and west; in fact, Istanbul could be described as the Capital City of the world, certainly in a trading sense.

Istanbul: Capital of the World!

 It is certainly to the benefit of the economic health of the Republic of Turkey to have close trading and commercial relations and cooperation with the EU and with the former likely to become a major energy-transfer hub within the decade, it is greatly in the interests of all parties for an agreement to be made sooner than later. Where this would go wrong, it is here argued, is where in becoming a Full EU Member state, she would lose much of the governmental powers of self-governing that she has enjoyed since 1923.

Many nations in the European Union fear that were Turkey to become Full Members, vast ‘Ottoman-esque’ hordes would pour into Europe. Furthermore, Islamaphobia has become a significant and highly-unhealthy issue in the west just as the kind of demonstrations we witnessed during the past week in London where Muslims demonstrated AGAINST Freedom of Speech, albeit gender-segregated in format, are equally unhealthy and threatening. 

The reality is that it is fairly unlikely that such a mass-movement of people from Asia Minor would so much as budge from their ancestral homes. It would purely be the educated and business-types who would make the most of their newly bestowed social-mobility which would in fact be good for all in the reciprocal sense.

Britain and the EU enjoy long-standing trade relations which favour the latter in the ratio of roughly 45-55%. Britain leaving the European Union is highly unlikely to affect that trade balance because were it to do so, it would cost the EU far more than the inverse. Trade at all costs, but not at any price: Britain’s health would be enhanced were she to leave the EU and Turkey is rendered immune if she stays out! It is healthier, after all…


Chris Green 

Beşparmak Media Services