Bush backs Turkey for EU

In a month which has seen any number of improbable news stories, one could be forgiven for feeling slightly dizzy.

It all seems to stem from when the Pope made some fairly innocuous comments about the contents of the Koran, certainly nothing new to those who have read the thing.

From there we have had immam’s the world over queuing up to demonstrate their feeling on religion and violence. Following on from the, Cardinal Cormac questioned the multi-faith society, and, more crucially suggested Turkey should not be in admitted to the EU.

Then the EU ‘President’ jumped in and condemned the leaders and media of Europe for not backing the Pope and, for the first time, hinting that Turkey’s accession was far from a done deal.

Now, to cap it all, George Bush has come out in favour of Turkey joining.

Speaking after a two hour meeting with the Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Bush said:

“Our desire is to help people who care about a peaceful future to reject radicalism and extremism.”

“I made it very clear to the Prime Minister – I think it’s in the United States’ interests that Turkey join the European Union.”

Turkey was given the green light to begin ‘talks’ last year, and they are do to begin in the new year. The Pope, as Himself and as Cardinal Ratzinger, has regularly expressed his disapproval of the notion, pointing out that this would effectively severe what remains of Europe’s Christian roots, and also observing that Turkey was not actually in Europe.

Leaving aside the human rights record Turkey and its quasi-Muslim majority party has tallied up against its Kurdish minority and its occupation of Cyprus, it seems extraordinary that the evangelical President should be in favour of 70 million Muslims, the vast majority living in underdeveloped conditions, joining an organisation with which he has long been at loggerheads.

It hardly seems the best way of winning them over to his side…

Or is it? With Barroso expressing doubts and the tide of opinion, in Turkey and European countries, turning against membership, a ringing endorsement for GWB might just be the kiss of death for the idea.

But surely American foreign policy has not become that subtle. Has it?


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