Portugal’s Futile Fight for Turkey
Portugal, now holding the European Union’s rotating presidency for the remainder of 2007, faces an uphill battle in its goal to admit Turkey into the EU.
Portuguese Prime Minister José Sócrates faces stiff resistance to Turkey’s membership from different EU states. France’s new president, Nicolas Sarkozy, has shown his opposition by blocking vital entrance negotiations concerning Turkish-EU economic and monetary policy—a move that throws Turkish entry talks into doubt.
Sarkozy, who made it a part of his presidential campaign to oppose the Muslim state’s membership bid, says Turkey should join a Mediterranean union rather than a European Union.
Sócrates argues that halting membership talks with Turkey would damage EU credibility, particularly in the Muslim world.
For years, the EU has dangled membership status in front of Turkey but has never followed through. If history is a guide, the more influential members of the largely Christian union, such as France and Germany, will impose their will on Europe and block Turkey’s accession. Clearly, adding the majority-Muslim Turkish nation to the EU would significantly alter the religious and cultural composition of the Union, something these states are loath to allow.
In the time ahead, we expect the European Union to grow more Roman Catholic in its composition, not less.