In offering to fast-track Turkey into the EU, my friend Angie displayed all sorts of admirable qualities. For one thing, she really understands the essence of the EU better than anyone else.
Never mind all that nonsense about cultural kinship, shared destiny, fused history, European identity, common home. Es ist alles Katzendreck. The EU is a purely political construct, nicht wahr?
Gut. Then any country is European if politics demands it. And European politics demands whatever Angie demands, it’s as simple as that.
Angie could paraphrase her celebrated compatriot Göring, who once said, in response to a Gestapo inquiry about Field Marshal Milch, a suspected Jew, “At my headquarters I decide who’s a Jew and who isn’t.” In Angie’s rendition, this phrase could sound as “In the EU I decide who’s European and who isn’t.”
If political expediency, as Angie sees it, demanded it, she’d invite Saudi Arabia or Nepal to join the EU, never mind Turkey.
The deal she put on Erdogan’s table is as simple as ein Strudelstück. You take in all those Syrians, we’ll take Turkey into the EU. Verstehst du?
Or let me put it to you this way mein lieber Recep Tayyip. You limit the Syrians’ freedom of movement within Europe, we’ll give 76 million Turks unlimited freedom of movement within this accursed continent.
Remember your school physics, mein lieber Recep Tayyip? It’s like two communicating vessels. Ten million Arabs flow into Turkey, 10 million Turks flow into Europe. Or it could be 20 million in, 20 million out, who’s counting among Freunde?
Well, someone should – anyone, actually, who wishes Europe to remain even vaguely European for a while longer.
The arrival of a hundred thousand Syrians here or there would damage Europe severely, but arguably not quite yet beyond recognition. The potential arrival of millions of Muslim Turks, however, would have exactly that effect.
Do you understand, Frau Merkel? What you’re proposing is that Europe should die so that the EU (and, more important, your political career) may live.
Compared to the damage done by your celebrated compatriot Hitler, it’s like a .45 dumdum bullet between the eyes compared to a slap in the face.
I’ve only had the pleasure of visiting Turkey once, some 20 years ago. Specifically, I went to the five per cent of the country’s territory that’s in Europe geographically – only to see with my own eyes that not even five per cent of it is in Europe culturally.
That was long before Turkey became ‘Islamised’, if you believe our analysts – or accept their premise that there exists a tangible difference between ‘Islamised’ and ‘Islamic’.
I was walking through Istanbul’s business district, jam-packed with young, Armani-suited executives on the rise. Slightly swarthier than the chaps one sees in the City of London, the suits a bit too, shall we say, Italian, but other than that you could have fooled me.
Suddenly a muezzin began to sing off a minaret (I hope it’s not the other way around, I can never get those Muslim terms right), and what do you know. All those patrons of Italian designers dropped on the ground where they stood and began to pray, dirtying their overlong trousers.
Within a minute the Turkish answer to Bishopsgate was turned into a sea of heaving backs, with attached heads rising and falling metronomically. A useful ethnographic experience and all, but, call me a Little Englander and report me to the Equalities Commission, I’d hate to see a repeat performance at Bishopsgate.
At that time, Turkey’s record on human rights wasn’t seen as good enough to warrant her admission into the EU. Now that the country has been ‘Islamised’, her record must have improved sufficiently for Angie to welcome millions of Turks with open arms (I mean this figuratively, as I hope you realise).
This at a time when the Turks are strafing the Kurds who are fighting Isis on our side. That sort of thing is hard to understand without using the dialectics developed by Angie’s celebrated compatriot Hegel and further refined by her equally celebrated compatriot Marx.
What we should do is as clear as those fake diamonds being sold at Istanbul’s Grand Bazaar. The only possible action can again be illustrated by the metaphor of communicating vessels: Turkey comes in, Britain goes out.
Or, if you prefer a more human analogy, Turkey is a woman standing on a crowded bus, while Britain is a man sitting in front of her. The only gentlemanly thing to do would be for the man to get up and offer the woman his seat – especially if he’s getting off at the next stop anyway.