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 Prediction 1 - Continued tension and backlash against Muslims in Europe

– Twenty-First Century Crusades?

Austria “Wants to Keep Muslim Countries Out of EU,” According to German Paper
By Lucy Jones

FOLLOWING four decades of negotiations, Turkey officially began membership talks with the European Union on Oct. 4, after Austria dropped a demand that Ankara be offered an option short of full membership. Observers said Austria changed its stance in return for the launch of EU accession discussions with Croatia.

“Austrian opposition to Turkish membership is a toxic blend of historical prejudice and contemporary fear, of Ottoman janissaries at the gates of Vienna, of Hapsburg nostalgia, and Muslim gastarbeiter [foreign workers] flooding in from deepest Anatolia,” wrote the UK’s Guardian on Sept. 30. “But Turkey’s secular Muslim democracy has demonstrated that it is ready to join a tolerant, multicultural Europe,” the newspaper added.

“Austria’s opposition to Turkey’s membership is worse than xenophobic,” opined Britain’s The Independent on Oct. 2. “To be sure, history matters, and the Ottomans at the gates of Vienna means more to Austrians than others. But there is an alternative history, in which Turkey is home to the long estranged eastern part of a common civilization,” the newspaper noted.

In Germany, Die Tageszeitung of Sept. 30 suggested Austria’s position was the result of a wish to keep Muslim countries out of the EU while lobbying for the admission of Croatia as an “outpost of the Christian West.”

But France’s Le Monde of Oct 6 wondered whether the price paid for Turkey’s accession to discussions had been too high.

Reminding readers that Brussels originally insisted on Croatia handing over its alleged war criminals to The Hague tribunal before EU membership talks could start, the newspaper argued that “by giving in to what can only be called blackmail, the EU leaders have deprived themselves of a weapon which has been used effectively so far to oblige candidate countries to conform to a number of principles.

“If... the conditions laid down for Croatia are not treated seriously,” the paper warned, “it will not be possible in the future to use the Serbs’ unwillingness to hand over their war criminals—such as the former Bosnian Serb political and military leaders, Radovan Karadzic and General Mladic—in order to keep them waiting on Europe’s doorstep.”

According to Romania’s Romania Libera of Oct. 6, Austria has shown willingness “to throw European principles overboard only to introduce a former imperial subject through the EU’s back door.”

But Austria’s Die Presse of the previous day argued that the decision to open talks with Croatia never should have depended on its cooperation with The Hague. Croatia is clearly better prepared for EU membership “than Romania or Bulgaria, let alone Turkey,” the paper editorialized.

Germany’s Die Welt of Oct. 4 agreed, saying membership for Turkey has “no democratic legitimacy and does not make economic sense.”

Writing in the Oct. 3 London Times, historian Norman Stone questioned whether Turkey in fact needs Europe. “The Europeans arrive with health-and-safety regulations and much else that could just mean the end of much of what makes Turkey tick: those small shops and artisans working until all hours, ignoring silly rules in proper Mediterranean manner and keeping families together in a way that makes for a very healthy social atmosphere.

“Can Turkey stand the unemployment, bureaucracy and taxation that the EU really portends?” Stone wondered.
 

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