Friday, January 13, 2006

That's Nobody's Business But The Turks'

Yet another reason that Turkey should, under no circumstances, be admitted to the EU. Here's another. While I applaud Turkish secularists' efforts to reign in Islam as a social force in their country, the lack of respect for due process and human rights shown by those same secularists is appalling. Am I off base here? Any thoughts on the carrot and the stick? Besides being just a cover for something they were happy to do anyway, I always thought the Reaganite strategy of "constructive engagement" with Apartheid South Africa completely lacked any mechanism by which such engagement could provide any source of pressure. The issue with Turkey and the EU seems similar to me.

5 Comments:

Blogger Germanicu$ said...

I saw nothing in the link posted that would indicate that the release of Mehmet Ali Agca represents a " lack of respect for due process and human rights." I don't think Turkey has less stringent sentencing guidelines for attempted papicide than the EU does. He apparently has served his time for his crime and is out on parole (if being inducted into the army for having ducked service can be called "parole").

Does the EU require its members to hold themselves to the highest possible standards of conduct? Ideally yes, but so does the UN. Preventing Turkey from joining the EU because of their laws against "insulting Turkishness" is kind of a double standard, since similar laws exist in France.

Turkey does share a cultural affinity with Europe - that, and the "economic advantages" it would reap with EU membership, are the real impetus behind them joining. The carrot of inclusion has worked, to a large extent - Turkey has dropped the death penalty and made many changes to make their legal system be more transparent.

Letting Turkey in would make the EU a less exclusive club, and I think that's the beef many critics have with the idea. But that's crap. If the idea behind the EU is to make it an economic powerhouse, the inclusion of Turkey - access to cheap labor, oil, and more consumers - is a no-brainer.

1:27 PM  
Blogger RaginCajun said...

"Preventing Turkey from joining the EU because of their laws against "insulting Turkishness" is kind of a double standard, since similar laws exist in France."

But does France actually charge and imprison writers? If they do, then, by all means, France should be given the boot.

2:20 PM  
Blogger Jeff said...

"I don't think Turkey has less stringent sentencing guidelines for attempted papicide than the EU does. He apparently has served his time for his crime and is out on parole (if being inducted into the army for having ducked service can be called "parole").

The guy killed a journalist in Turkey in the 70s, then fled Turkey and attempted to kill the Pope. He has served two years for killing the journalist, which is exactly as much time as you would expect someone in Turkey to serve for as inocuous an offense as killing a journalist--and now he gets to march around with a gun, surrounded by lots of young kids, many of whom admire him deeply. I think there's a certain cultural disconnect in that story that warrants extreme caution.

"Does the EU require its members to hold themselves to the highest possible standards of conduct? Ideally yes, but so does the UN."

No, sorry, but the UN does nothing of the sort. If it did, it would have about 1/5 of the members it currently has. As for the EU, there is a particular set of conditions member nations are supposed to fulfill, but those conditions are bent or ignored altogether based on the relative power of the nation in question, just as things have always worked. But that's not the point. The point is, in my opinion, that the civil and legal framework in Turkey has a long way to go before it can be reasonably expected to harmonize with those of the EU.

"Preventing Turkey from joining the EU because of their laws against "insulting Turkishness" is kind of a double standard, since similar laws exist in France."

What Rajincajun said. France has lots of dumb laws--particularly those abridging free speech--but do any of them have similar consequences to the ones on the books in Turkey? And how about those 1 million Armenians massacred less than a century ago? Don't you think, given Europe's recent, ahem, *unpleasantness* around issues of genocide, that new members should be required to come clean about their own acts of genocide?

Beyond all this, there are still the common, everyday violations of human rights that should be rectified before Turkey joins.

3:09 PM  
Blogger Germanicu$ said...

"I think there's a certain cultural disconnect in that story that warrants extreme caution."

There's a cultural disconnect in your double standard, if you ask me. Turkey imprisons journalists, which is wrong; but when a prisoner comes up for parole based on good behavior, he should stay in prison? I haven't heard anyone lambasting Turkey for the sentence the man received. The Pope even forgave him; why can't you?

"...just as things have always worked. But that's not the point...."

That is part of the larger point. If the standards international organizations are formed by were meant to be enforced with the stick, the US would be kicked out of several of them for our mining of Nicaragua's harbors (for starters). These orgs work to dissuade the collective membership from violating mutually agreed upon rules of conduct - in other words, the carrot. As I pointed out, the mere prospect of membership has caused unprecedented changes to happen in Turkey. They also made great strides in Cyprus.

Your point about civil and legal disconnect is tough to swallow - were those expectations in place when Czech, Poland, even Greece were admitted? The EU also has rules dictating that member states may not run budget defecits; France and Germany have flouted this, but have been shamed (there's that carrot again) into addressing this problem.

The point of EU inclusion is strength through diversity - or at least, increased economic acumen through sheer numbers. We'd all like to see a nice, pony-filled Turkey, with human rights and miniature American flags for all. It is unclear to me how blackballing their EU member application gets us closer to this ideal.

"And how about those 1 million Armenians massacred less than a century ago?"

Hey, how about those Armenians? And how about Cyprus? And how about the disturbingly frequent recurring military standoffs with Greece over tiny, uninhabited Mediterranean islands? Turkey, like most EU members, engages in all sorts of behavior that is shameful and deplorable; why it should keep them from inclusion in a glorified trade organization eludes me.

4:33 PM  
Blogger RaginCajun said...

It seems to me that if a person or country needed purity to make distinctions and reject the actions of others, then no entity could. The "tu quoque" assertion of "Let those who are without sin cast the first stone." has little value in politics or in the organization of society (I grant it may as a spiritual principle, but I can't define what "spritual" really refers to here.). Civil order, for instance, still requires judges, and judges are flawed human beings.

A common tack of liberals, that I greatly deplore since my heart is with them, is to drag up the faults of America to condemn its actions on an unrelated matter. For instance, "America fails to take care of many of its elderly (I invite all to tour some "care facilities" with me to see what I've seen over the past two years), how can it dare to intervene in countries that do a better job of caring for their elderly"?

"The Pope even forgave him; why can't you?"
On a personal basis, the Pope was free to do whatever he pleased. But, even the Pope as a matter of civil society cannot "forgive" in a legal sense. The offense against the Pope was not an offense against the Pope only. It was an offense against society. No victim of a crime should have the right to legally exculpate the offender. To do so would induce all sorts of principal-agent or moral hazzard problems. I agree to forgive someone that robbed my place of business in exchange for some favor, for instance.

"The point of EU inclusion is strength through diversity - or at least, increased economic acumen through sheer numbers. We'd all like to see a nice, pony-filled Turkey, with human rights and miniature American flags for all. It is unclear to me how blackballing their EU member application gets us closer to this ideal."
Unreflective and unrestrained praise of diversity is another unfortunate liberal shibboleth that does disservice to an otherwise sound pragmatist ideal. Diversity, whether economic or cultural, should not, in my view, be a goal in itself. The EU is struggling with the incorporation of its own member country citizens that reject the basic notions of secular democracy and rule of law. It doesn't seem wise to me to include for the sake of "diversity" a whole country that rejects many of those notions no matter what particular failings current member states have.

5:04 AM  

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