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Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Turkey joining the EU would be a disaster

The British government's Home Affairs Select Committee has expressed concerns about extending EU membership to Turkey.

Turkey has a population of 75 million and a per capita GDP of £7,500.  With EU membership comes the right to live and work in any EU member state.  When Poland joined the EU in 2004 they had a per capita GDP of almost £8,000 and around 455,000 Poles came to the UK and registered for National Insurance numbers in the first three years of EU membership according to a joint report by the Home Office, DWP, HMRC and DCLG which has mysteriously disappeared from the Home Office website but lives on at Scribd.

That figure doesn't include those who came to work here "under the radar" (ie. not registering for tax) or the spouses, children and other dependants of those that did register.  The real figure is almost certainly in excess of half a million, or around 1% of the UK's population at the time.  Of those 455,000 Polish immigrants, 7,680 claimed benefits in the first three years despite having contributed nothing or next to nothing to the social security system.

And that's just Polish immigrants, there were 9 other poor eastern European countries who joined in 2004 and the figures for Poland are less than 70% of the total number of immigrants from the 2004 ascension countries.  It was unsustainable mass immigration which we have yet to recover from but it will pale in comparison to Turkey.  Poland had a population of 38m in 2004, Turkey has a population of 75m and it's growing at about 1.16m per year whilst the entire EU is only seeing around 1.3m growth per year.  You don't have to be Carol Vorderman to work out that Turkey would have the fastest growing population in the EU and in a few decades would be outbreeding the non-Turkish population of the EU.

Now let's talk about the elephants in the room: Islam and the Kurds.  Turkey is a secular country (it has no state religion) and it jealously guards that status.  The burka is banned in public places and religious political parties are banned.  But 96% of the population are practising muslims and there is a lot more freedom for pro-Sharia muslims to preach their medieval ways in the EU than there is in Turkey.  Logistically we can't cope with an influx of Turkish migrants because we don't have enough money, jobs or houses for them.  Socially we can't cope with an influx of Turkish migrants because 96% of them are muslims.

Before you start righteously hammering away on your keyboard, I will openly admit to being an Islamophobe ...
A persistent, irrational fear of a specific object, activity, or situation (from the Greek Φόβος/Phóbos, the personification of terror in Greek mythology).
Actually, I'm not a true Islamophobe because it's not an irrational fear, it's entirely rational. My grandchildren will see an Islamic caliphate in Europe unless something changes drastically.  The persistent use of Islamophobia as a derogatory term for anyone even vaguely critical of Islam is incorrect. What the intolerant anti-anti-Islamists mean when they call someone an Islamophobe is that they are a Misislamist which is the correct term for someone with a hatred of Islam.

Enough of the lesson in linguistics (actually, isn't there a certain irony in debating the use of Greek words when talking about Turkey? Sorry, my inner geek is taking over again).  What about the Kurds?  The big black mark on Turkey's human rights and democracy record is their treatment of Turkish Kurds.  Yes, I know the PKK is listed as a terrorist organisation but the response to the PKK's fight for Kurdish independence in Turkey has been a collective punishment against all Kurds by way of ethnically cleansing some areas of Kurds and the persecution of public figures who speak Kurdish or promote Kurdish culture.

So where will Turkish Kurds go if they want to escape oppression in Turkey?  Iraq has an even worse reputation when it comes to Kurds and half the country is still a war zone.  Syria is on the brink of civil war and Iran is run by Islamic fundamentalists.  They won't get a very warm reception in Armenia because they're Turkish and Georgia is under constant threat of attack by Russia.  So where are they going to go when Turkey joins the EU?  Straight over Turkey's western frontier and on to countries with an existing Turkish population and a social security system to support them.  Countries such as the UK, the Netherlands and Germany.

It doesn't take a genius to know that Turkey joining the EU while we are still members would be an absolute disaster which is presumably why the Home Affairs Select Committee has decided that on balance it would be a good thing if Turkey joined, a view shared by Cast Iron Dave.