Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Turkey and the EU : To admit or deny

The EU is wise not to admit Turkey yet. When Mr Obama suggested that Turkey should be admitted into the EU he was deservedly snubbed by France and Germany that the EU will decide whom to admit into the EU. The chief contention of EU is that Turkey is not a liberal democracy like the western counterparts. The EU is very duly concerned about freedom of religion and freedom of expression. The flashpoint was the Danish cartoon controversy when the Islamic world erupted in unseemly violent protests that crossed all lines of legitimate protest.

The Islamic world simply could not understand that freedom of expression involves freedom to offend, especially ethnic and religious sensibilities. New Yorkers are used to seeing art galleries show casing a portrait of a crucifix in a jar of urine or Mary splashed with dung. A telling example was the double standards of Time-Warner group. When the Pope protested against a certain depiction of the cross, Time printed it duly, no disclaimers etc. They took for granted that Time readers, especially the Christian ones, should understand that they are just showing the photo in the context of news. When the Dutch cartoon story broke and half a world burned CNN piously declared "out of respect for Islam we are not showing the cartoon". I am sure their respect was borne more out of fear than out of theology.

Turkey did not want to agree to Danish PM become chairman of the EU for what one of his citizenry did.

That apart, the issue of Turkey's intransigence on recognizing the Armenian genocide is another instance. Germany, is no saint on race relations as anybody would know. It is easier to deny Holocaust in US or Australia but in Germany its a punishable crime. That is their atonement for the horrendous crime they inflicted on man kind. In Turkey its the exact opposite, its a punishable crime to ackowledge the Armenian genocide. They do not even accept that it is "genocide". Even a much respected Nobel Laureate like Orhan Pamuk had to face a national wrath for calling the massacre of millions of Armenians as genocide.

Embracing Turkey just to set an example of the West embracing an Islamic country is nothing but appeasement. Let them earn their place at their table. If that sounds like snobbery its not bad. Better to live with a snob than a fundamentalist.

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