"Europe and Turkey
Thursday, December 30, 2004; Page A26
IN MILITARY TERMS, Europe's contribution to the war on terrorism has been modest. More than once its diplomats have worked at cross-purposes with those of the Bush administration. There is reason to doubt whether most Europeans really understand the threat of Islamic extremism or agree with Americans that an overarching, generational commitment must be made to defeating it. Yet this month the European Union launched an initiative that eventually may contribute as much to overcoming Muslim militants as anything the United States has done since Sept. 11, 2001. It agreed to begin formal membership negotiations with Turkey, a country of about 70 million Muslims that in more ways than one serves as a bridge between Europe and the Middle East. If the talks progress successfully, both Europe and Turkey will be positively transformed -- and the 'clash of civilizations' between the West and Islam sought by ideologues such as Osama bin Laden will be far less likely. "
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