10 February 2010


We’re all desperate to get Turkey into the European Union – aren’t we? The Americans are particularly keen as they have quite a few military bases in the east of the country and it would make things a whole lot easier if they were part of the ‘European group’. On the other hand, the French are not at all keen. Well anything the Americans want to do whilst Sarkozy is still in a huff at being frequently ‘snubbed’ by Obama is anathema to them, and there’s also the fact that the French don’t particularly want any more Muslims in Europe, thank you. With 5 million of their own, they think that’s quite enough! They’ve even gone as far as to change the French constitution so that they’ll have to have a referendum if Turkey gets close to membership.

Then there’s Austria who are recalling some old skirmishes when the Ottomans laid siege to Vienna, to block their route to full membership (Turkey is an associate member of the EU). And there’s the Cyprus issue of course.

And finally, it’s the wider EU membership who are worried about Turkey’s admittance into the world’s biggest ‘club’. With 71 million of a population, accession into the EU would give Turkey the largest number of delegates and therefore the biggest voice in the Parliament. Not quite fair if you’ve been in the ‘club’ for the last 20 years or so and suddenly this upstart comes along and starts hijacking the political and financial agenda.

However, despite all these little difficulties, formal negotiations with Turkey are continuing with the earliest date of membership being set at 2013. There are 33 areas, ranging from Transport to Freedom of Movement, Transport to Taxation being discussed, but one negotiation area stands out for me – Justice, Freedom and Security.

And they’ve some way to go in this area if the following extract from an article is anything to go by……

Turkish police have recovered the body of a 16-year-old girl they say was buried alive by relatives in an "honour" killing carried out as punishment for talking to boys.

The girl, who has been identified only by the initials MM, was found in a sitting position with her hands tied, in a two-metre hole dug under a chicken pen outside her home in Kahta, in the south-eastern province of Adiyaman.

An informant told the police she had been killed following a family "council" meeting.

A post mortem examination revealed large amounts of soil in her lungs and stomach, indicating that she had been alive and conscious while being buried. Her body showed no signs of bruising.

I know that there are all sorts of strange ‘customs’ across the world but thankfully, these places don’t want to join the EU. Turkey still has some way to go.

The picture at the start is of Istanbul at night.

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