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Daily View: Cameron, Turkey and the EU

Clare Spencer | 09:39 UK time, Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Commentators discuss David Cameron's pitch for Turkey to become part of the EU.

The Guardian editorial supports David Cameron's efforts to keep "hammering on" at allowing Turkey into the EU:

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan [right] and British counterpart Prime Minister David Cameron

"It is not just that Turkey has a fast-growing economy or that it has a youthful workforce. It is because, with the failure or stagnation of so many key US and EU policies in the region, we could really do with the help.
"This is not to paper over the gaps that open up between civil rights in Turkey and European norms, nor the period of political turbulence that the Justice and Development party is about to enter as it approaches an election. Nor indeed do we minimise the contradictions of Mr Cameron's position: praising Turkey's candidacy, but stepping back in horror when millions of Turkish workers knock on our doors. But none of this undermines the value of building a secular, majority Muslim bridge to the Middle East, the Caucasus and central Asia."

Charlotte Bettley says in the Telegraph that Turkey's EU membership could prove invaluable to Western security:

"As a country which has good relations with both sides, Turkey could be useful in negotiations with countries such as Iran. Turkey should not be given membership purely for the sake of wanting to reward a moderate Muslim country but, with the right encouragement with regards to further reforms, its membership could prove invaluable to the security of the West."

The Economist's Bagehot blog suggests David Cameron is being disingenuous, calling his speech a "load of baloney":

"[H]e is the representative of a British electorate who are not remotely "angry" about Turkey being excluded from the EU just now. Most British voters do not know much about Turkey's membership hopes. Successive governments in Britain have been leading supporters of Turkish accession, along with places like Poland, Spain or Sweden. But when the British public are asked about the question directly they are distinctly lukewarm. The EU is wary of polling the Turkey question too often, but a 2006 Eurobarometer found only one existing member, Sweden, where more people supported Turkish entry than opposed it. In Britain, 30% said yes to Turkey, 52% said no, and 18% did not know."

In Foreign Policy Cameron Abadi wonders about why David Cameron would want to side with Turkey against France and Germany:

"France's Nicolas Sarkozy and Germany's Angela Merkel are both on the record resisting Turkish entry. Which are they: the polarized? Or is it the prejudiced? Or, perchance, might they be motivated by national interest? (Wait: Might the U.K. itself be motivated by national interest?)...
"Name-calling accomplishes little in such a fraught enterprise. And making it all seem obvious and uncomplicated is only condescending.
"The Turkish surely know this. Perhaps Cameron was calculating that earning good graces in Ankara was worth risking scorn in Berlin and Paris. But I wonder whether all he's done is lose credibility all around."

Conservative MEP Daniel Hannan argues in the Telegraph that David Cameron's move was not anti-Tory:

"Cameron's reasons for backing Ankara's bid for EU membership are solidly Tory: Turkey guarded Europe's flank against the Bolshevists for three generations, and may one day be called on to do the same against the jihadis. In the circumstances, he believes, the Turks are being treated ungratefully by their allies. "He's right. The EU's treatment of Turkey will one day be seen as an epochal error. Had the Eurocrats made clear at the beginning that there was no prospect of full membership, and instead sat down to negotiate an alternative form of partnership, Ankara would have swallowed its disappointment."

In the Sun Trevor Kavanagh says David Cameron can support Turkey without worrying about the negative consequences of them joining the EU:

"Turkey can't join until it resolves its dispute with Greece over the division of Cyprus. Greece today depends on Germany for economic survival. So long as Berlin pulls the strings, Turkey has no chance of becoming Europe's 28th member state."

Links in full

Daniel Hannan | Telegraph | The EU will regret its dishonest, humiliating treatment of Turkey
Guardian | Turkey: A vital player
Ephraim Hardcastle | Daily Mail | Cameron opts for private plane to Turkey after cost-cutting decision to fly with journalists to Washington
Charlotte Bettley | Telegraph | Turkey's EU membership could prove invaluable to Western security
Trevor Kavanagh | Sun | Why Cameron is stuffed on Turkey
Cameron Abadi | Foreign Policy | Cameron goes overboard in Turkey
Bagehot | Economist | David Cameron's disingenuous defence of Turkey

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