Turkey, Islam & the EU

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A few years ago I pointed out to M. Yglesias that Turkey was more religious than the United States (he emailed me immediately and agreed that that characterization was about right). Less than a year ago I offered that Turkey was a nation with a greater percentage of Creationists than the United States, and so it was not culturally suitable for EU admission. Today M. Yglesias has a post where he suggests that the AKP, the current moderate Islamist party in power in Turkey is basically an analog to the Republican party. There are obviously differences (see Daniel Larison for more exposition), while the AKP has been from its inception (through itself proper or its predecessors) the vehicle for upwardly mobile religious conservatives, the Republican party has been transformed within the past few generations from a party dominated by elite affluent mainline WASPs to one where evangelicals call the shots (notionally at least). Nevertheless, along with Yglesias I tend to think that the rise of groups like the AKP is a good thing, even if they are regressive they accept the democratic principle and so are agents for long term (I mean generations, not years) cultural evolution. The EU agrees. But here is a paradox: I believe that genuine cultural democraticization makes it less plausible that Turkey could be an EU member because at the grassroots it is a far less European nation than its secular elite wants to project.1 And yet the same people who would wink at the idea of dividing North American between Jesusland and the United States of Canada tend to favor admission into the EU of a nation which is still mostly Allahland!

1 – Of course overall the EU been an elite pushed project, and democratic sentiment has tended to give a rubber stamp to something which was already fait accompli. With Turkey though I think this is problematic because the chasm between the alcohol drinking secular elite and Christian missionary throat cutting non-elites is pretty wide.

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9 Comments

  1. Hi there. Kim from Turkey here. 
     
    Interesting post. First off, I was wondering. About a million Turks protested against religiosity yesterday. Would, say, 4 million Americans do the same? Is a country which sees the need to project “In God We Trust” on its currency less religious than one who does not? No Turk – and that includes my religious brethren as well – who has been to the States comes back but to say: “They’re all *so* religious”. Never knew an American saying the reverse. 
     
    “I believe that genuine cultural democraticization makes it less plausible that Turkey could be an EU member because at the grassroots it is a far less European nation than its secular elite wants to project.” 
     
    Yawn. ‘Nuff abaout secular elites. 1 million people on the streets and you’re still stuck in 1930s political commentary. 
     
    Oh, and I don’t need you, the EU or anyone else to tell me what I am. 
     
    Ciao for now.

  2. Turkey won’t join the EU. Many govnts are dead set against it (Germany, Austria, Sarkozy) while others have stated that they would hold referendum’s on Turkish accession (France, Ireland, and I’m sure others would) The idea that a majority of the European population would vote for Turkish membership is laughable insanity (Greece & Austria!!??) The only way it’ll happen is if the Brussels elite somehow manage to weasel them in when people aren’t looking.  
     
    So the two most powerful European countries, Germany and France (pending Sarkozy) oppose membership, and referenda will be held in other countries – Turkey doesn’t have a chance.

  3. Note: there must be unanimous agreement among the member states for accession to occur. Little Ireland held up East European accession for a while because they voted against it (the govnt made them vote again until they ‘got it right’), so the mere presence of little Austria mitigates against Turkish membership.

  4. razib – what’s with ‘gay media’?

  5. You cannot belong to Europe and to the Ummah at the same time or can you?

  6. Interesting post. First off, I was wondering. About a million Turks protested against religiosity yesterday. Would, say, 4 million Americans do the same? 
     
    since few americans march against the killing of armenian journalists vs. in turkey we must be more tolerant of anti-armenian prejudice than turks, huh? 
     
    your comment is so stupid, hope you won’t speak again.

  7. Unless of course you cannot, or will not, for various reasons. 
     
    [will not respond to idiots asshole. you see, if you respond to moronic talking points you automatically validate them. but perhaps you run things differently on your blog…oh wait, you don’t have a blog, you’re just an anonymous dumbfuck! and a banned one at that. 
     
    how here is a serious response which i assume all readers of GNXP (excluding you and your middle eastern friend) are intelligent enough to figure out: people protest about things when they feel a clear and present danger. your dumb friend “kim” seems to be asserting that turks are so secular that they will protest against a marginal religious threat? yeah. turks are protesting against the throat-cutting of christian missionaries because there really isn’t a threat against christian missionaries. yeah. it took me 30 seconds to elucidate this, but this is 30 seconds wasted. are you so stupid as to not see that kim’s talking points are implicitly contradictory? (a) see how much secular turks protest religion! would that happen in the USA {implication-there is something serious to protest vis-a-vis the USA} b) religion is much bigger in the US than turkey!) 
     
    -razib]

  8. Turkey doesn’t belong in the EU for the simple reason that it is a west Asian nation and not a European one.

  9. Is Russia an european nation? Most germans and portuguese people I have talked to aren’t really into receiving any part of Russia into the EU.

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