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Thursday, October 14, 2004 

The "Turkish Question" in the French Parliament

As Dilnareen and Hiwa asked it, I am trying to sum up the debate on Turkey in the French Parliament.

Firstly I have to precize that it is only a debate, without vote, so it means that MP are discussing each others, without real political consequence at the end, even if it could upset Turks. The "Turkish question" seems there to be only an inner French political debate, for how France could block alone the Turkish candidature if most of its countries are in favor of it ? So the debate was quite dull, with a few participation...

Moreover, supporters or opponents are not divided by their rightist/leftist opinions. The Prime Minister has stated that he is against, the leader of Socialist MP answers that he is for a fair exam of the Turkish file, but all the positions could be found inside a same party. I am going to present the main topics on which people "in favor of" or "against" it discuss currently. Unfortunately for Kurds, they are not the main preoccupation of our politicians, as you could see :


GEOGRAPHY

- In favor : Turkey has a foot on Europe.
- Against: 95% of its territory is in Asia


My opinion : the border between Europe and Asia is not obvious if we consider only geography. No sea to separate both continents... If Ural is sometimes showed as the frontier, what is Himalaya then, and its huge stoned-wall between Middle-East and Far-East ?

But there is a historical sign, a constant factor for thousand of years : there is a historical limit where Eastern and Western empires fought each other without seizing it durably : Northern Mesopotamia (and Kurdistan now)... Greeks vs Medes and Persians, Romans vs Parthians, Byzantine vs Sassanids, and even Ottomans vs Safavids, the fracture between both territories was often situated in Eastern Anatolia/Upper-Mesopotamia... And if you watch a Euro banknote, with a map of Europe, you can see than Turley is already inside... without its Kurdish areas... Well, I think that Turkey is a part of Eastern Europe, but not Kurdistan...

HISTORY
- In favor : Turkey was a European power until the WWI, stretched on a part of Balkans
- Against: Europeans fought against the Ottoman occupation.


My comment : Not too convincing, there were wars of independance in all Europe, and Italy fought against Austrian occupation as well as Hungary, and a large part of Central Europa. In any case, from the 19th and the 20th century Europe was the champion of self-destruction.


DEMOGRAPHY
- In favor : Turkey is a young country that could make up for the ageing of the current EU members's population.
- Against: with 100 millions of inhabitants in 2020, it will become in a strong proportion the most populated country in UE.


My opinion : Well if the political weight is proportional to demography, it could mean that Turkey will become one of the leader-members...

RELIGION

- In favor : the adhesion of a mostly Muslim country could prevent an islamist raising and a "clash of civilisations", by showing the ability of Europe to assimilate Islam.
- Against : without being exactly a "Christian club, EU bases its identity on Judeo-Christian values.


My comment : The fantasist account of 99% of Muslims in Turkey, (that is a strong argument for anti-Turkish membership), might make decide Turkey to recognize the existence of many non-Muslim minorities, like Alevis, Yezidis, Nosairis, and even some Christian people who are obliged to have been written "Muslim" on their identity cards ?

I don't think moreover that islam in Turkey is a real danger. Nationalism and racism are worse. And stating that Europa is based on Christian/Jews values is to deny not only Muslim citizens, but atheists, buddhists, and so on.... Does it mean that if you are not Christian you are not an authentic European ?

And in the same way, I wish (for non-Muslim Kurds) that in the Kurdish Constitution, islam will not be the political and moral reference...

ECONOMY
- In favor : Turkey has already a custom union with EU.
- Against: its GNPper inhabitants represents only 10% of the medium level in EU.


My comment : If Turkey did not have destroyed a great part of Kurdistan, and spent so much money and energy to annihilate Kurds, things would have been different... I wonder sometimes if Turks won't be ready one day to sell their Kurdish areas to Iraqi Kurds, in the aim to get rid of their "poor relatives"...

Human's rights

- In favor : Ankara has made a lot of efforts to recognize Kurds, to abolish capital punisment or to promote equality between men/women.
- Against : there are a lot of things to improve in that sector. Turkey has still refuse to recognize the Armenian genocide of 1915.


My opinion : on that topic, EU membership is used as a carrot to make go forward a donkey, as we say in French... And it is exact that all the improvement concerning the Kurds' situation is due to the EU askings. So the more EU will be firm on that question, the more it could better for Kurds. But if EU refuse, it could be worse... In general, Kurds in Turkey hope a lot to become European citizens. And becoming a European member would prevent Turkey definitively to attack Iraqi Kurdistan.

Geostrategy

- In favor : the entering of Turkey would bind it to Europe, appease its relations with Greece and could end the question of Cyprus.
- Against: EU would have common borders with Iraq, Syria, and Iran and it could be a great danger.


My opinion : So EU would have a good reason to support a free, democratic and secure Kurdistan... :)) as a buffer-state against Islamist activism.


European institutions

- In favor : EU would be stronger with this great country.
- Against : The entering of Turkey would make the ruling of EU too difficult and prevent it to play a part in international questions.


My opinion : EU has been never able to speak with a common and united voice on international issues, as we saw about former-Yugoslavia, war in Iraq, and so on, in any case !


The same day, Leyla Zana, as Dilnareen has posted, took her Sakharov award in Brussels. She had sent before the text of her speech to the press, where she asked to Europeans "to begin immediately negociations with Ankara " reminding to Turkey its duty on the Kurdish issue, but finally she has not pronounced this sentence during her speech and was very vague on that question during her press conference, so no one can affirm exactly her position. You can read a
report of the ceremony on the EU site.

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