Breaking News Stories
These are news stories breaking after the publishing of this Word
Prediction 1 -
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
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
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.