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Is Turkey European? Is Spain? Brazil? The US?

Reader comment on item: Turkey's Erdo─čan Gambles and Loses
in response to reader comment: TURKEY SHOULD NOT BELONG TO EU

Submitted by Michael S (United States), Apr 16, 2016 at 16:30

Hello, TNb.

You are talking about whether or not Turkey is "European" enough to be part of the EU. As a Brazilian, you may be particularly interested in this because Brazil also, along with all MERCOSUR, would like to be part of the EU.

You cite human rights, Turkey's treatment of minority groups and its aggression upon neighboring states as disqualifying Turkey from being "European". If Turkey is "non-European" because of its occupation of northern Cyprus, though, how about British occupation of its sovereign bases there? And what abourt Gibralter? Should the UK also be considered "Non-European" because of these? Concerning minorities, how about the Basques and Catalonians in Spain? Is Spain "Non-European"? And concerning human rights, I see that Romania is part of the EU, and Ukraine and Moldova are being courted.

Up until the end of World War II, Europeans did not consider themselves to be of a common nationality: Germans were German, whether they lived in Germany, Czechoslovakia or Brazil; the British were British, whether they were in the UK, India or Australia, etc. Their identity had little or nothing to do with geography. Even in the US, where I grew up AFTER WWII, our primary identity had to do with our ancestry: We were Americans; but we were German-Americans, Polish-Americans, etc. That sort of thing seemed to fall apart after around 1970.

It was during the post-war years, that the Common Market formed, from which came the European Union. Then the UK joined it, and Spain and Portugal, and eventually 28 countries in all. That isn't the end of it all; because MERCOSUR, of course wants in, along with Georgia, Turkey, Azerbaijan... even South Korea wants closer and closer integration with the group. Where does it stop?

As I said, I grew up among Polish-Americans and German-Americans. I was neither, so I had something of an identity problem; but I could get along with most of my neighbors by being a Roman Catholic; because Polish-Americans, Italian-Americans, Irish-Americans, etc., were not stopped at the door from attending church together (though they largely kept to their own churches). The Lutherans had even more division among themselves: Norwegian-American Lutherans had little to do with German-American Lutherans, etc. Young Americans, for the most part, know little of these distinctions; and "mixed-marriages" between Swedish-Americans and Norwegian-Americans" are no longer considered "mixed", except in a comical sense. Even Jews (God forbid!) have been marrying non-Jewish Americans; and this is still of great concern to Jews as a whole.

If you want a definition of what it means to be "European", that is spelled out on the back of the US Dollar Bill: "NOVUS ORDO SECLORUM", "A new secular order":

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/1/1d/United_States_one_dollar_bill,_reverse.jpg

The "values" of being "European" are essentially the same as the values of being "American"; and the unifying essence of both is "secularism" -- which Daniel Pipes refers to as "Western values". Like it or not, being "European" and "Western" is strongly linked to being like AMERICANS (who, I will note, come from all over the world; but especially from Europe). How do the Brazilians sit with that? The Turks seem to be having trouble, fitting in to that mould. That is the standard, though; and McDonalds restaurants seem to be the cathedrals of this new "secular" religion.

In a few years, the "West" will be clearly identified, by membership in various groups: NATO, NAFTA, the TPP, TTIP, etc. Brazil is reluctantly part of the Rio Pact; and when it finally does broker a deal between MERCOSUR and the EU, it will do so with an EU that is also intimately connected to the US through the TTIP (as well as through NATO). Donald Trump would like to re-negotiate the terms of these agreements, to make them even more pro-American than they already are; but this is the Empire of the future.

Does an Islamist Turkey fit into this mould? Not well, and there will be trouble in the coming months and years; but until they make a gross over-reach, such as attacking Israel (Ezekiel 38-39), the rest of us in "Tarshish" (qv) will put up with them.

Submitting....

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Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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