Turkey-EU to start talks on membership

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by Sayhey, Dec 19, 2004.

  1. Sayhey macrumors 68000

    Sayhey

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    #1
    If I missed a previous thread on this, please forgive me, but I thought it deserved discussion.

    BBC

    This is a very long range process (most likely 10 to 15 years), but it is a significant development for Europe and the Middle East. If the process forces Turkey toward higher standards of democratic norms and human rights, it will be great. If it brings about an integration of a new, changed Turkey into Europe it will be even better.
     
  2. Zaid macrumors 6502

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    #2
    Agreed. This is one of the major reasons why I'd support Turkish membership. It will also force resolution of the Cyprus issue.

    I do, however, sometimes wonder if the Union is becoming too big. With its current structure, I it can't expand much further without entering the relms of perpetual deadlock (though I am sure some would argue that we are already there.) If the EU is to not expand itself into complete ineffectiveness, something needs to be done about its structure.

    Of course I'd like to see the whole thing become more directly democratic. Even then it's still going to take a bit of a culture change for the solidarity of politcal comon ground to overcome the solidarity of nationality.
     
  3. Hoef macrumors 6502a

    Hoef

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    #3
    Does anyone know the strategy behind the European Union? .... Just add as many countries as possible? A common identity and value system doesn't seem to be of importance. It is amazing how many demonstrations this thing created throughout Europe.
     
  4. Zaid macrumors 6502

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    #4
    Primarily its purpose is to be an economic union, (with the aim of 'moving toward an ever closer union of the members'). It is not (yet) a real political union, much as some (myself included) would like it to be.

    IMHO

    There seem to be a few, quite distinct, arguments that people seem to have against Turkey entering the Union. These aren’t in any particular order, and are just my impressions of the arguments.

    [This post has turned out to be much longer than I intended and is mostly on-the-sleeve type rhetoric. I’m liable to change my mind if presented with another argument and after some thought ]

    The Strategic Argument
    An EU including Turkey would have Iran, Syria and Iraq on its borders. Besides the risk of entanglement (of sorts) within the region, it may open up a whole new route of easy access for illegal immigrants.

    I don’t really subscribe to this view. Turkey is very different to its neighbours, ethnically, linguistically and socially. It is a very secular society (despite being 99% Muslim) and has done a good job of not getting entangled in the ME thus far. Also a fully democratic, secular Turkey (which it will have to be in order to join the union) will be a positive force for democracy in the region.

    The Cost Argument
    Turkey will by far be the poorest country in the Union when it joins. Many worry that it would be eligible for massive amounts of development money within the EU budget and net recipients of EU money will be loathe seeing Turkey getting money while they move to a net contributor status. (I’m especially thinking of Spain here) Personally I think it’s about time that the net-recipient countries started returning the favour.

    If, however, over the next ten to fifteen years the EU helps the Turkish economy, by opening up the EU market, Turkey could be in a much better position than it is now. Bringing Turkish living standards up to the EU average (both before and after joining) would also be money well spent for two reasons.

    1. It provides a larger, wealthier market for European goods and services.
    2. It will stem the flow of cheap, unskilled Turkish labour into other EU countries
    This last point brings us onto the …

    Cheap Labour Argument
    A flood of cheap unskilled Turkish labour will cause enormous strain on employment in European economies and could put severe strain on the welfare states of Western Europe

    I can’t see Turkey joining without at least a 5 – 10 year restriction on the dropping of immigration requirements for Turks. Also the simultaneous attempts to bring up Turkish living standards to EU standards will also help reduce the number of people wanting to leave.

    While this will be an issue, I don’t think it will be as bad as people think; at least not in the long term.

    The effect on a unified Europe Argument
    Sorry don’t really have a better name for this one. There is an argument that the enlargement of the union to include so many new countries just makes the union harder to run and makes the likelihood of a closer political union less likely.

    There are still many in Europe that would like to see the EU develop into a single unified political entity that would be able to have sufficient political and economic clout to act as a counter point to the US. This constant enlargement weakens the political aspects of the Union by making it more ineffectual; even if it’s economic effects are positive.

    I would like to see a powerful unified EU, but I think that now is probably the best time to get all these countries into the union before the political union has progressed too far. Enlargement after political union has moved far along the line will be an even messier affair. In the meantime you get a larger common market, which will in the end make for a stronger EU.
    And if you’re not a fan of ‘ever closer political union’ then the enlargements are exactly what you’d want :)

    The Human Rights Argument
    No real argument here. For Turkey to join its laws will have to be brought in line with a host of European Directives and Conventions covering human rights, discrimination etc. If dangling the EU membership carrot gets Turkey to seriously come up to European standards on human rights etc, then that alone would be a convincing argument in favour of talks.

    It will also once and for all force a resolution to the Cyprus issue.

    Also a secular democratic Muslim country with EU-strength human rights protections will do more for democracy and human rights in the Middle East than just about anything I can think of. (Other than supporting and propping up those corrupt governments in the first place of course! )

    The Racist/Ethnocentric Argument
    This basically goes along the lines of: They’re different!
    An EU including Turkey will see the proportion of Muslims in the Union jump from 3% to 22%. This scares many people.

    The people worrying that this will cause a rise in extremism etc should remember that Turks are by and large secular, and probably have more in common socially with Christian Europeans than with the mainly Arab Muslims in the union now. Germany’s large Turkish population is also somewhat more religiously conservative than the average urban Turk.

    Europe also has to be careful about ostracising the Muslims in its midst. This will only drive youngsters with no economic prospects, facing racism etc right towards fundamentalists which will only exacerbate the problem. It’s a viscous feedback loop.

    Those that have objections because they want to keep the EU as a ‘Christian Only club’ should bloody grow up. Such arguments have no place in a pluralistic democratic secular society.

    This has turned into a much longer post than I intended, and I’ve only just touched on the major arguments. It’s a complex issue with no clear answers, though ultimately I think that the benefits to the Union of Turkish membership outweigh the difficulties. I think starting the talks is the rights decision.
     
  5. miloblithe macrumors 68020

    miloblithe

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    #5
    Overall, I think the EU is looking to add as many countries as makes sense and it reaches its natural conclusion, but wherever that might be is debateble. Some argue it's reached a good size already. Others probably want to see the rest of "western" Europe join. Others probably want to complete most of the Europe map going east (but how far east does Europe go? Gerogia? Kazakhstan? Russia?). Some think 50 sounds about like an ideal number. Some go much further, arguing that inlcuding the Mediteranean countries makes a great deal of economic sense if it is to be primarily a trade union.

    The overall strategy of the EU depends on who's influence is greatest. The UK, for example, has tended to want the EU to be a trade union, and that's it. They would push for expansion in the number of countries in the hopes that it would lead to _less_ 'deepending' of the EU. Some others want to concentrate on deepening and leave off expansion. Still others want both.

    However, many analysts of the EU believe that, contrary to the logic above, expansion has led to deepening. Each round of expansion was preceded (and followed) by new rounds of negotiation expanding the EU's powers and deepending the treaty. We're now talking about an EU Constitution that's followed on the heels of the latest round of expansion of 10 CEECs. The EU has taken over Balkan peacekeeping duties from NATO. It's developing its Rapid Reaction Force. And against this backdrop of increasing its military potential it negotiated a diplomatic deal with Iran on nonproliferation (that may have been entirely ineffective, but we'll see). In other words, In this last year or so, the EU grew from 15 to 25 countries AND emerged as a growing international player--and not just in trade agreements where it has been an international heavyweight for a while.

    If the Constitution is ratified (a bit of a challenge with 25 member states and unanimity required, in theory), the euro zone expands, three more countries are added in the short term (Bulgaria, Romania, Croatia), the European army becomes more of a reality, and so on, the EU will emerge as a second pole in global affairs within a decade or two. By that time, we will probably be living in a multipolar world again (with more than two poles).
     
  6. Thanatoast macrumors 6502a

    Thanatoast

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    #6
    How is the EU looking on Russia and it's increasing level of dictatorialism? Are talking heads speaking on the issue, or are other things dominating right now? Or does anyone even think it will be a problem?
     
  7. takao macrumors 68040

    takao

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    #7
    pretty much every political party is split through their lines (well except the ultra right wing ones ;) )

    i'm already wondering how they gonna change the public attitude here in austria (which is rather negativ towards a turkey eu-membership)


    personally i think turkey has still a lot more work to do
    for example: 32% of all the people work in the agrarical sector compared to the 5% of the EU-25
     
  8. Desertrat macrumors newbie

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    #8
    "32% of all the people work in the agrarical sector compared to the 5% of the EU-25"

    Whether this is good or bad depends on the degree of providing non-farm work. That is, if Turkey's economy gorws, farming will likely become more mechanized. That pushes people toward the cities, looking for work. If no work is available from Turkish manufacturing, they'll emigrate.

    For comparison, the US went from 50% on-farm in 1900 to around 25% by the Great Depression. Now, it's under 3%.

    'Rat
     
  9. Ugg macrumors 68000

    Ugg

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    #9
    I get the impression that it is part of the reason for the big push to sign up new members before they are lured eastward by Russia, Romania, Bulgaria, Albania, all come to mind. The recent problems in the Ukraine clearly show this.

    I think the EU is taking on more than it can reasonably handle but at the same time if they don't admit these marginalized European states, they'll only become breeding grounds for extremists.

    Even though ten new members recently joined only Poland has a significant population, the Czech and SLovak republics are mid-sized as is Hungary. Slovenia, Malta, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, and ? are all pretty tiny states and for these smaller states it is truly safer for them to be a part of the EU than not. In the case of Czech Rep., Slovakia, Hungary and Slovenia, it was imperative that all join at the same time to avoid any Austro-Hungarian/Habsburg bickering. I think the same is true for Romania and Bulgaria. A crucial test will be the Balkans.

    However, Turkey is unique with its ties to the Arab and Muslim world and is a highly polarized country with the majority of the wealth and industry in the western part. I read recently that if western or if I may, European Turkey were admitted on its own, its GDP would be on a par with Greece. The religious extremists are mostly in the east as well. Turkey has done a great deal in the past few years to bring its laws in line with EU expectations but it still has a long way to go. I really think it is better that Turkey join and provide a physcholocial buffer not only between the ME and the EU but also between Muslims within the EU and the EU itself.

    I honestly can't see the EU expanding into Africa or going further east or South than Turkey. Turkey is manageable given its secular government but at the moment the other ME states and all the -stans are too embroiled in their own identity problems to provide anything other than a ball and chain to the EU. The potential flood of unskilled workers from those countries sends a chill down the spines of many Europeans.
     
  10. Desertrat macrumors newbie

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    #10
    "The potential flood of unskilled workers from those countries sends a chill down the spines of many Europeans."

    Sounds like a familiar problem, doesn't it?

    'Rat
     
  11. miloblithe macrumors 68020

    miloblithe

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    #11
    The problem that economists probably see but current EU members are reluctant to is that the EU needs Turkish immigrants (among others). The population of most EU countries is shrinking, so to support their older populations in the future they'll need immigrants, or, need to change the whole system. It may as well be Turks. They've been a significant community within Germany for half a century.

    I agree North Africa is very unlikely, no matter what Morocco wants. I do think there may be an effort to make a free trade zone around the Med though, of some kind.

    In the next couple years:
    Romania, Bulgaria and soon after Croatia. That's 28

    Will they?
    Norway, Switzerland ... their populations will have to change their minds. 30

    When will the Balkans calm down:
    Bos&Herz, Albania, Macedonia, howevermanycountriesSerbiaisbythen 34+

    Does Iceland have any incentive? probably not

    Turkey. 35 (hey the Muslim Balkan countries are in, why not us?)

    Israel wants in. No thanks.

    Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan...maybe...yeah probably 38

    Moldova, Belarus, Ukraine...Russia.
    I have a hard time imagining it, but that's what generational change is for.

    Sounds like somewhere in the mid 30s within a few decades.
     
  12. miloblithe macrumors 68020

    miloblithe

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    #12
    Man. I didn't realize this. With the exchange rate where it is, the EU25 has a larger economy than the US when measured in one or the other currencies. In 2003:

    EU25: 9752242.2 million euro
    US: 9727722.8 million euro

    2004 estimates:

    EU25: 10200489.0 million euro
    US: 9606388.5 million euro

    2002 exports in millions of euro
    EU15 1632.9
    US 1312.6

    2002 imports
    EU15 1569.9
    US 1821.1

    Holy balance of payments Batman!

    http://europa.eu.int/comm/eurostat/...conomy/main/overview/yearlies/da/daa/daa10000

    http://europa.eu.int/comm/eurostat/...conomy/main/overview/yearlies/dc/dca/dca10000
     
  13. Hoef macrumors 6502a

    Hoef

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    #13
    With all these countries being added, isn't time that Brussels becomes less bureaucratic? I am sure they will be adding another couple of languages to the 10 already spoken at their meetings. DC must be a well oiled machine compared to EU parlement.... Maybe the French and the Germans can be convinced for an all English EU :cool:
     
  14. Ugg macrumors 68000

    Ugg

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    #14
    I agree that Turkey would be a great source for much needed warm, tax paying bodies. However, Germany amongst others, hasn't done a very good job at elevating the Turks beyond mere peon status. Admittedly, it isn't just the Germans who've created the problem but the Turks as well. I think there has been a shift during the last decade, Germany's overhaul of the immigration system is a sign of that but there is a lot of social reluctance to accept the sons of Mohammed as true Germans. The French, Dutch, and Italians aren't too welcoming either. I think many Europeans are reasonably afraid that their own cultures will be subsumed by those of the immigrants. It's an age old question without an easy answer.

    It seems that Morocco is beginning to replace Spain as the fresh veg capitol of Europe and it seems it would only make sense for there to be a Mediterranean Free Trade Zone since it's happening anyway. I've read that Kenya has also become an important source of fruit and veg for the UK. If you don't try to elevate people's living standards at home they'll only go looking for a better life elsewhere.

    yeah, it does! I'm sure you've had more first hand experience than I have but if you look at the progress of the EU over the last two decades, you'll notice that Ireland, Portugal, Spain and Greece have made phenomenal strides due to the infusion of EU money, ok, maybe Greece is lagging behind the others. Turkey already has fairly high standards of education and with substantial infusions of cash over a period of ten years or so, it is very likely that the immigrants from Turkey could provide valuable labor to the rest of the EU.

    The US however, isn't interested in helping our neighbors to the south outside of IMF loans for mega projects and ensuring a steady supply of oil. I think if the US and Canada took similar approach to all points south that the EU has towards its less wealthy members, we would see a huge decrease in immigration northward. But, maybe that's the whole point, cheap labor. I'm not so sure that the US is interested in stopping immigration as much as it is in slowing it down to a manageable level. It would be interesting to see just how much of our GDP is directly attributable to these illegal but necessary immigrants.
     
  15. Ugg macrumors 68000

    Ugg

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    #15
    Yeah, right! When Hades freezes over, if then :D
     
  16. takao macrumors 68040

    takao

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    #16
    exactly that was my point ... none of the countries who joined recently had over 10% in the agrar-sector (poland had 9.something...austria is below 2%)

    i hope that turkey will sort everything out first...

    and for the countries who have taken money for decades (yes italy i'm looking at you) now it's time for you to start paying like the others ....
     
  17. miloblithe macrumors 68020

    miloblithe

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    #17
    I thought that Italy and other wealthy nations may still qualify for structural funds for their poorest regions, like in Sicily and whatnot. But I wouldn't be too surprised if they didn't.

    Germans must feel like Blue states people in the US, subsidizing those poorer regions...
     
  18. takao macrumors 68040

    takao

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    #18
    yeah since decades...but we all know who filled his pockets in italy with the money ...his name starts with "B" ;)

    i find it rather ironically that slovenia will be a 'payer' in the next 5 years (and perhaps even the chez republic) and are already in better economical position as greece,portugal or southern italy....
     
  19. Desertrat macrumors newbie

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    #19
    Totally off thread:

    "Germans must feel like Blue states people in the US, subsidizing those poorer regions..."

    I thought that folks in blue states were supposed to be too stoopid to vote for Kerry over Bush. That's what was written after the election, right? If we're that stoopid, how is it we're the ones getting the money? Generally, money flows from dumbos to smart folks.

    I'd like to buy me some arrogant city folks for what they know, and sell'em for what they think they know. I'd make a killing!

    :D:D:D

    'Rat
     
  20. takao macrumors 68040

    takao

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    #20
    and with it's ~155 million more people at the moment with most of them being in emerging markets it will stay this for a long time ;)
     
  21. miloblithe macrumors 68020

    miloblithe

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    #21
    My brow has never been more furrowed in confusion. Um. Blue states did vote for Kerry over Bush. Red states are the ones getting the money because they are poor. Texas is an exception, and is a net contributor to the federal budget.

    As for buying people, I thought the South accepted that we don't do that any more.

    Back on topic. The US does seem to have higher growth rates than the EU at present. So the larger population is as much a sign of inefficiency as it is of potential.
     
  22. mactastic macrumors 68040

    mactastic

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    #22
    You know, after the election all of us liberals were warned not to continue to call red staters 'stoopid'. We were told that it 'was not the way to win votes'.

    Yet now we hear the rhetoric that 'I thought that folks in blue states were supposed to be too stoopid to vote for Kerry over Bush'. Not a good way to try and be the gracious winners. And not a good way to engender gracious behaviour from the losing side.

    And I'd like to buy me some smug country folk for what they thing their folksy wisdom is worth and sell them for what it is worth. Better ROI than California real estate over the last 5 years.

    :D :D :D
     
  23. Desertrat macrumors newbie

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    #23
    Last time I saw numbers, the U.S. GDP was roughly $10 trillion. Japan, roughly $5 trillion. World total, about $32 trillion.

    The US is the world's largest market, and its very size means that money troubles here have a harmful impact everywhere. Germany's exports are falling, for instance, and their government's hope is that their consumer spending will increase. Consumer spending hurts savings, of course, which puts them on the same downhill path the US has been following.

    As the dollar falls, the EU exports less to the US because of Asian competition. However, other than China, some--not all--Asian countries export less to the US. If you get on the email subscriber list for http://www.Everbank.com and its "Daily Pfennig", you can keep track of the major players in world currencies.

    mac, my apologies. I didn't realize you couldn't handle teasing...Or there's a double standard that it's okay to bash those states which Bush won, but wrong to say anything at all about the states Kerry won. Dangfino; you finger it out...

    :), 'Rat
     
  24. mactastic macrumors 68040

    mactastic

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    #24
    Have I been bashing red states? I don't think so. No double standard on my part. Other people? Dunno, not in my control. I don't want to see anyone called stupid. It's not productive. You should probably expect a little reaction when you call someone stupid and arrogant in the same post though. Even with the little :D :D :D attached.

    There is and was a legitimate question about the net contributions of red vs. blue states. I don't understand where stupid comes into play there, but apparently you do.

    Besides, why be sensitive about it yourself? Liberals were just teasing when they called you guys stupid after the election. Couldn't you tell?
    ;)
     
  25. takao macrumors 68040

    takao

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    #25
    hm there are no official 2004 numbers yet (at least i haven't found them)

    what i've found
    -0.3% exports
    +3,5% imports
    still exporting 10,4 billions more than importing

    USA:
    +0,8 % exports
    +3,4% imports
    but still importing 55 billions more than exporting

    (Austria
    +8,9% exports
    +3,7% imports
    exporting 340 millions more than importing ;) )
     

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