Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Sunday, December 04, 2021

One of my pet pursuits among international affairs is the proposed addition of Turkey to the European Union.

Part of my interest has to do with being a first-generation Greek-American. The politics of that part of the world hit somewhat closer to home, given that I have a lot of family in Greece (although none of them are particularly close). My overall interest in international relations explains more of my curiosity.

But probably the biggest thing that attracts me to the situation is how patently absurd it is. The hand-wringing over whether or not the Turks would make “good” EU citizens is an exercise in hypocrisy. The fact is, Europeans are overwhelmingly bigoted against Muslims, both on ethnic and religious grounds, and will never, ever let Turkey into their economic/political clubhouse.

Prime example of this: The chilly reception that Turkish guest workers have received in German society, even decades after those workers and their families became permanent residents.

Concerned that so many of its well-educated citizens were leaving, Turkey reached an agreement with the West German government that future workers come from less-developed areas. Between 1967 and 1973, migration was mainly from poor, religiously conservative eastern Turkey.

“You will meet some Turks who will say that because of people from rural areas, our image was negatively affected,” says [Safter] Cinar of the Turkish Union. “In parts of Turkey, entire villages came to Germany, rented a house and lived in some kind of feudal culture.”

In 1973, West Germany stopped recruiting workers. But instead of encouraging foreigners to go home when their contracts ended, the move prompted many to bring their families here. By the time East and West Germany reunited in 1990, the number of Turks and other immigrants had jumped to 4.5-million, more than 5 percent of the entire population.

Thirty years’ worth of opportunity to integrate, with such dismal results, doesn’t augur well for even greater numbers to enter Europe, let alone become — politically at least — an extension of Europe.

In turn, Turks and other Muslims haven’t always helped their case for European integration. Instances of honor killings and generally poor treatment of women have only confirmed the worst prejudices:

Women of Turkish origin are often called the most disadvantaged group in German society. Almost 40 percent have been victims of domestic violence, compared to 25 percent of all German women.

Within just a few months, five Muslim women in Berlin were murdered by male relatives who thought they had brought shame to the family. But such “honor killings” drew little attention until last February’s death of 23-year-old Hatun Surucu.

Surucu was only 15 when her family arranged her marriage to a cousin. Two years later, she divorced him, taking her young son with her. She shed her head scarf, studied electrical engineering and developed an active social life.

As he would later tell the court, her brother Ayhan said he tried to “talk sense” into her that bleak winter day.

“Hatun told me that she would go to bed with whoever she chose,” he said. “That was too much for me, I pulled out the pistol and shot her.”

As extreme and isolated as such situations may be, they become magnified in the larger debate. And considering that Turkey has devoted the past 80 years in becoming a secularized reflection of a western European nation-state, and that this still isn’t enough to satisfy European attitudes… you have to conclude that nothing will.

In my opinion, Turkey has a better chance of joining the U.S. as the 51st State than they do of becoming an EU member.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sun 12/04/2021 06:38:52 PM
Category: Political, Society, History | Permalink |

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    How do you keep the Mexicans from sneaking across the border? As the NAFTA nations meet to tackle the issue, some suggest economically sprucing up their home country so that its residents wouldn’t want to leave in the first place.
    Not a new con…

    Trackback by Population Statistic — 03/30/2006 @ 07:51:49 PM

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