Fear keeps Turkey out of the EU

“When on his recent visit to Turkey President Obama called for Turkish entry into the European Union, he put his finger on a strategic and cultural sore spot. The French president, Nicolas Sarkozy, speaking for the majority position in Europe, was quick to respond: Turkey may one day enjoy a privileged relationship with the EU, but full membership is out of the question. Turkey is not European – geographically or culturally….

“Political parties that call for an increasingly narrow view of Europe are gaining ground. These parties promote a strictly Judeo-Christian perspective of European history, mistrust of Islam, repressive hardline immigration policies and reject a Turkey they claim is overpopulated and excessively Muslim. Europeans have become fearful. Economic crisis has brought with it calls for greater security and for protection of purchasing power, and from ‘foreigners’ and ‘immigrants’, who are seen as threatening financial stability and cultural homogeneity.”

Tariq Ramadan in the Guardian, 7 August 2009