October 01, 2005

Talking Turkey

A lot of umming and ahhing going on in Europe about the possible membership of the European Union for Turkey. The USA and Britain are in raptured favour of it (you have to ask why the US is so enthusiastic they're not inviting it to join the US proper - or a federation with their new client state in Iraq), while those pesky continentals are less enthusiastic.
It was a considerable issue when the French and Dutch voted no in the European Consitutional Treaty referendums.
Now the negotiations proper are to start, Austria, which has a long memory (1529!) of the Turks at the gates of Vienna, wants Turkey to have a "privileged partnership", i.e. cattle class stuff rather than business. I'm not sure whether that would work - no other country has been offered that arrangement. A better solution is becoming an European Economic Area member, like Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Iceland and Norway so it can benefit from free trade with the EU, and if Turkey wants to veer off again from its reforms demanded by the EU, it can do so.
In my opinion, Turkey should try and set up a EU-style arrangement with the rest of the Middle East (and even North Africa). Building democracy and enforcing human rights, as has happened in all the new EU members, is a far better policy when it has an enormous economic advantage attached to it and is a more productive route than trying to build a democracy by way of the gun, suicide bomb and torture prison. You could about imagine a Middle Eastern Union, including Israel and Palestine, Iraq and Iran, with free movement of capital and labour, and no more irrational land disputes. It could take a while, for sure.
And I'm still waiting for the New Zealand Government to apply for EU membership. We could sail right in.

Test your knowledge about the EU and Turkey here. I got 9 out of 11 correct.

No comments: