Should Turkey be admitted to the EU? On balance, I would say yes. That is, to an EU based on a loose confederation of co-operating nations in a free trade environment. Not to a Leviathan EU super-state subject to the whims of French farmers. Or, indeed, the whims of Austria, who are the fiercest opponents of Turkish membership.
Hmmm. Austria. . .
Let’s quickly run through Austrian contributions to European prosperity shall we?
- The Austro-Hungarian Empire
- Prince Metternich
- Adolf Hitler
- "Rock Me Amadeus" by Falco*
That’s about it. Even the Swiss have given us more – and they’re not even in the EU.
More recently, Austria came first in the “Who can come closest to electing a neo-Nazi in a western European democracy?” competition. (In second place? France.) So I think we should treat the wishes of the good people of Austria with a certain amount of suspicion on this, and indeed, any subject.
It seems to me that in this age of terrifying ideological divide between Western and Eastern cultures, admitting the one predominantly Muslim nation that has a secular democracy, that could perhaps bridge the gap between Europe and the Middle East, would be a good idea. There are issues to be resolved first – Turkey has to make concessions on certain human rights clauses, for example – but nothing that cannot be bridged in the next ten years. Spain did it. So did Greece. So why not Turkey?