Turkey is currently negotiating to join the European Union, with the full support of the British government and of U.S. President George W. Bush.  If she does join, it will be a disaster for Europe and for Britain.  Turkey has 70 million people, nearly all of whom are Muslims and, by European standards, poor.  She has a young population and a higher birthrate than any European country.  If admitted, Turkey will soon have a larger population than any other country in the European Union.

To put it bluntly, we do not want a Muslim country in Europe, one that cannot share in the common Christian history, traditions, and culture that created Europe and still, to some extent, distinguish her.  Muslim countries have not experienced the Enlightenment, that other shaping force of a distinctive European culture.  Currently, European countries tolerate the beliefs of individual Muslims who are their citizens.  Would such toleration survive a large new influx of several million Muslim Turks at a time of enhanced, aggressive bigotry on the part of Muslims?  The Danish-cartoons episode shows that Muslims already living in Europe are prepared to call in assistance from outside to undermine European freedom of speech.  Furthermore, fearful and politically correct European governments and courts are willing to suppress criticism of Islam and Muslim communities.  In Belgium, such criticism can lead to criminal charges, and proving that what you have said is true is no defense.  In February 2006, similar legislation supported by the Labour government designed to curry favor in Muslim-dominated constituencies was rejected by the British House of Commons by a mere ten votes.

Muslims hardly need new legal protection in European societies, given the present level of Islamic aggression.  A British theater producer was forced to cut a production of Christopher Marlowe’s play Tamburlane; it is impossible to put on Mozart’s Idomeneo in Germany for fear of Muslim violence.  We Europeans are no longer free to enjoy our own cultural traditions on our own Continent.

Worst of all, the radicalization of Muslim populations in Europe has led to terrorist murders in Britain and Spain and to the plotting of violence in Germany and Denmark.  Simply stated, the more Muslims there are, the more violence there will be, for, even though most of them want to lead a quiet life built around work, family, and private piety, the number of Muslims committed to jihad will grow faster, and they will find it easier to operate if the overall Muslim populations are larger.  Islamic terrorists can move among these people as a fish swims in the sea.  If Turkey joins the European Union and there is a substantial movement of poor Muslims into Western Europe from Anatolia, it will cause a disastrous rise in the Muslim population of every major city, including cities already overcrowded with Muslims.  After Poland joined the European Union, half-a-million to a million Poles emigrated to Britain and the Republic of Ireland.  We may assume that, upon Turkey’s accession, Turks would arrive in even greater numbers in Britain and Ireland.  Should Turkey join the European Union, it is not the children of secular, educated, middle-class Turks with small families who will flood into Europe but those of fast-breeding peasants trapped in an alien Muslim cast of mind.  We do not want them under any circumstances.

The party line is either the big lie that the Muslims already here do not constitute a problem or the medium-sized lie that the Turks are different from other Muslims.  This latter lie stems from the claim that the great Turkish statesman, Kemal Atatürk, the father of modern Turkey, completely emancipated his country from Muslim backwardness and created a secular and national republic in place of the old Ottoman caliphate, which claimed lordship over the entire Muslim world.  Atatürk did not succeed in the end, however, as, in the last half of the 20th century, the old Muslim ways came creeping back.  Today, Islamic sentiment in Turkey is advancing fiercely.  Consider the angry hysteria in Turkey from all her political parties following Pope Benedict’s quotation of the 14th-century Byzantine emperor Manuel II during his wide-ranging academic lecture about religion, reason, and violence at the University of Regensburg in September.  Salih Kapusuz, deputy leader of Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party, declared that “Benedict is going down in history in the same category as leaders such as Hitler and Mussolini.”  Before opening his mouth to insult the Holy Father in this way, Kapusuz should have reflected that the mass murder of the Christian Armenians in Muslim Ottoman Turkey had its own impact on Hitler; but, of course, it is a criminal offense to mention the Armenian holocaust in Turkey.  At least the European Union and Turkey are moving in the same direction when it comes to censorship, though it might be added in passing that the new Turkish translation of Mein Kampf is a best-seller.

A colleague of mine in Stuttgart, a man of markedly internationalist and pacifist views, told me recently that the only group that is failing to integrate in his city is the Turks.  The descendants of immigrants from Italy and from the former Yugoslavia had become part of the city, but the Turks segregate themselves—to such an extent, in fact, that they are creating a new dialect of German.  What happens if these Turkish communities in Germany become radicalized?  It has already happened to many South Asian Muslims in Britain as a result of a perverse self-segregation and their exchange of their older attachments to their place of origin for an Islamic identity.  Will the Turks be next?

Why are Tony Blair and his Labour government, with the support of many Conservatives, trying to inflict this disaster on the British people?  Simply stated, George W. Bush wants it, and Mr. Blair does what he is told.  Blair is what British Indians call a chumcha (a spoon), a mere instrument used to scoop up whatever its holder wants.  President Bush is rightly fearful that Turkey could be absorbed into the general Islamic militancy of the Middle East, but his delusion is that, if Turkey joins Europe, she will be detached from the Middle East and suddenly become Western.  She will not; she will merely bring the turmoil and bigotry of the Middle East into the heart of Europe.  In any case, why should Europeans sacrifice their societies and identities to President Bush’s foreign policy?  Even more absurd is Bush’s naive belief in democracy and his attempt to use the European Union as a way of shoring it up in Turkey.  Democracy, in Turkey as in many other Muslim countries, is going to be the route by which the more fervent Muslims will take over completely.  It is through democratically elected governments that Atatürk’s republican legacy has been, is being, and will continue to be undermined.

In addition to his desire to please President Bush, Blair wants an ever bigger, ever more diverse Europe.  Practically speaking, this would thwart French plans for E.U. centralization by making them impossible to implement, which is a much easier route for Blair, who lacks the courage to oppose further losses in national sovereignty to the European Commission directly and flatly.  Moreover, Blair, like most European leaders, is afraid of giving the impression that he is xenophobic or that he sees himself as a member of an exclusive club.  Those countries who opposed allowing Turkey even to apply for E.U. membership—Austria, Greece, and Cyprus—have been firmly told to shut up and fall in line.  This must be particularly galling for the Greeks and the Cypriots, as it will be for the next new E.U. members, Rumania and Bulgaria, who retain a postcolonial resentment of an imperial rule that they still call the “Turkish yoke.”

Turkey cannot be left out in the cold.  It is time to start thinking about how to deal kindly with the Turks after their application has been rejected.  In particular, it will be necessary for both Europeans and Americans to invest in manufacturing and tourism in Turkey and to give Turkish goods, including agricultural produce, full access to the European and American markets.  Yet Turkey will still have to face the creeping Islamicization that is undermining Atatürk’s achievement.  A secular and nationalistic Turkish army may well decide to take control of the country in order to reverse this.  What will the European Commission and George W. Bush do then?