Ariel Center for
Policy Research



NATIV   ■   Volume Fourteen   ■   Number 4-5 (81-82)  ■  September 2001   ■  Ariel Center for Policy Research





Walter A. McDougall

Turkey was a major threat to Europe for much of its history, epitomized by the siege of Vienna (1529). World War I toppled the German, Austrian, Russian, and Ottoman Empires, with catastrophic political results everywhere – except Turkey. Under Ataturk, reform and change were far-reaching, and Turkey became a responsible state in the region. Present relations between Turkey and the West should be warm, but are not: Turkey stood up to the Soviet Union (late 1940s), supported the United Nations war effort in Korea, maintained NATO’s southeastern flank throughout the Cold War, sacrificially supported the Gulf War, cracked down on political Islam inside Turkey, and now offers a rare hand of friendship to Israel.

Turkey outdoes most other non-European regimes in international standards of human rights and democracy, and aspires to European Union membership. Yet, the EU is consistently critical and negative in its responses to Turkey, scrutinizing for errors, excesses and violations to find excuses for Turkey not entering the EU.

This is partly due to an increase in racially motivated violence across Europe. EU states crack down on racists and neo-Nazis but also try to minimize the source of resentment by restricting the influx of immigrants, refugees, and guest workers, most of whom originate in Turkey. Geographical and demographic statistics show Turkey could well be important in European councils, flood the continent with workers, and become by far the largest recipient of EU subsidies.

Crucially: European failure to deal justly and fairly with a politically sound, economically adequate Turkey may cause an Iranian-style revolution, and turn Turkey militant and pan-Turkic, or become so demoralized that the nation collapses. That would create a mess and show the EU had chosen the wrong path.

ACPR Contact usNativ Index