The Critical 'I'

Read. React. Repeat.

Saturday, August 31, 2002

Not one, but two items on Turkey (the republic, not the bird) on the newsfeeds today.

I suppose as an ethnic Greek, I should have an innate, even vitriolic, dislike of Turks. I don't. Maybe it's because I don't know even one person of Turkish descent. I've probably met at least a couple in my life, but no one comes to mind right now. Of course, my parents and other family members from Greece can probably say the same, but then again they're coming at it from a different angle.

In any case, it's story items like the above that make me wonder what on Earth makes the Turks believe they'll ever get into the EU. Not only do they have two automatic strikes against it ever happening (an inherent European prejudice and a Greek veto); they also have a political/social foundation that's not particular strong in democratic culture. The recent mini-crisis over forcing their prime minister to call new elections is another typical example.

Looking at it from Turkey's perspective: really a rock and a hard place. As much as they've tried to emulate the West, it's doubtful they'll ever be embraced there. And the Muslim world isn't crazy about them either (funnily enough, for as many racial/historical reasons as the Europeans do). Unless they can take some sort of vanguard position in Central Asia, I'm afraid they'll have to count on going it essentially alone in the immediate future.