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Letter to The Independent - 10 September 2004

Mr Adrian Hamilton, Editorial & Opinion Page, The Independent

Dear Mr Hamilton:

I refer to your article Europe must not reject Turkey now that appeared on page 41 of The Independent on 9 September 2004. Much as I appreciate the points you raise in your editorial, I fail to understand the eagerness with which you [and some other journalists] advocate Turkey's membership to the EU.

I agree that there are different [and at times embarrassingly negative or misdirected] emotions coursing through the Western world these days about Islam in general and about Turkish membership in particular. But leaving Beslan or the laws on adultery out of the frame, just as you do, I believe there are other fundamentally deeper issues.

Why Turkey, and not Russia or the Ukraine? Even if the principle of accession is acknowledged per se in a Eurocentric sense (and there is an ongoing debate about that too), the simple fact remains that Turkey has not fulfilled the five requirements of the Copenhagen criteria. Is that not the litmus test that the EU ought to apply when examining Turkey's membership? I truly hope that our propensity to show broad-mindedness and openness, especially when historical and factual realities fail to consolidate the argument in favour of accession today, will not come in the way of what is good for Europeans and for the EU vision in 2004.

Are we ready to push forward the structural (in the non-ideological sense) creation of a Soviet prototype bloc that would then either implode, burst at the seams or collapse due to inherently internal contradictions of such a motley body? Or are we perhaps trying to beef up the EU with our 'allies' as we devise the way forward?

I enclose herewith a three-page article entitled Dreaming West & Moving East? authored by Dr Harry Hagopian that focuses on those issues and then also adds an Armenian perspective to the much larger pan-European debate.

With kind regards
Raffi Sarkissian

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