Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2007-02-12-Speech-1-146"

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"Mr President, this debate is not really about women in Turkey. Turkey had a female Head of Government 14 years ago. Eighteen of the 27 Members of the EU have not yet reached this landmark. Yet that does not stop this Chamber from hectoring Ankara about women’s political representation. No, this report is really about Turkey’s membership bid. It demands, for example, that Kurdish women’s groups be explicitly recognised as such: a deliberate provocation to Ankara, which has long maintained that all Turkish citizens are equal before the Constitution. Once again the bar is being set higher for Turkey than for any past applicant. We hector the Turks in the most importunate manner about Cyprus, about the status of minorities, about the Armenian massacre. We damn them either way. If they repress signs of Islamic devotion, we call them authoritarian. If they do not, we call them fundamentalists. The truth is that there are many in this House who are determined, in Gladstone’s infamous phrase, to ‘turn the Turk, bag and baggage, out of Europe’. Their real concern is not about human rights. It is that the accession of a populous, proud and assertive Muslim country would retard their dream of a federation, of a country called Europe. Although I do not share their position, I recognise that it is a legitimate point of view. But it would have been better for all concerned had Brussels been honest, had it said ‘no’ at the outset and then settled down to work out an amicable bilateral relationship. Instead we shall string Turks along for perhaps another ten or fifteen years, wring painful concessions from them on foreign and domestic policy, force them to assimilate tens of thousands of pages of the and then, only then, turn them away. This is no way to treat an allied nation, colleagues, a nation that guarded Europe’s flags for a half a century against the totalitarianism of the Soviet Union and whom we may look to one day to do the same against the totalitarianism of the religious fanatics. Turks are as entitled as any other people to their pride. By abusing them in this manner the EU risks creating the very thing it purports to fear: the rise of anti-western sentiment among a people who have long been our friends."@en1

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