Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Europe from Right to Left (Part 3)

The Turkish PM was at the IFRI, explaining to the French élite the case for his country's entry. Turkey is no longer either a sub-marine or a Trojan Horse for the US. (Who was the last country to be accused of that ? ) By refusing to allow the Americans to use its territory for the invasion of Iraq, remember, it showed that it shared the French an German lucidity on the matter. There is another part of Bernard Guetta's commentary that I would like to quote (and translate) at some length.
those in favour of the entry of Turkey into the [European] Union also had to gauge for their part how much the geo-political vision on which is based their 'yes' comes up against unavoidable realities. ... [mention of the genocide of the Armenians]... And to the question as to why his daughters go to university in the United States, he repeats calmly what we know, that they can study veiled in America whereas they cannot in Turkey. What are we to understand by that ?

That secularism is strong in Turkey or that its Prime Minister prefers his daughters to go abroad rather than do their studies without a veil ? It's as you wish, but the certainty is that, if  Europe's interest  is to integrate Turkey and to prove that there is no incompatibility between it and Islam, Turkey still has some big steps to make. (21 Oct)

Like Iraq, the issue of 'the veil' is a great barrier to clear thinking in France.

Some words of Paul Wolfowitz :

We may someday look back on this moment in history as the time when the West defined itself for the 21st Century—not in terms of geography or race or religion or culture or language, but in terms of values—the values of freedom and democracy. It was... Winston Churchill who once said, "Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all of the other systems of government which have been tried."
The French, German and Turkish leaders met in Berlin yesterday. (26 Oct)

As another example of European 'solidarity', there were demonstrations in 6 countries (including the UK) in support of General Motors workers (20 Oct). However, as was pointed out in the FT (15 Oct), German labour costs are 30-35% higher than those in the French car industry.

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