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Friday, December 24, 2004

The Journal of Turkish Weekly:Turkey's EU Membership's Possible Impacts on the Middle East

"Turkey's EU Membership's Possible Impacts on the Middle East
View: Dr. Sedat LACINER

One objection forwarded about Turkey�s EU membership is the prospect that the EU will border the Middle East. The implicit assumption that this objection carries is that the EU is distant to the Middle East and only through Turkey�s membership can it border the region. Nevertheless, even at the present stage, the EU is much closer to Lebanon, Israel, and Palestine with the newly joined Cyprus. Similarly, the Greek islands, Malta, Italy, and Spain, all EU territories, are closer to North Africa than Turkey. Moroccan refugees virtually swim through the Gibraltar to seek asylum in Spain. It is possible to say that Turkish borders are much better defended when considering the ease in crossing the Spain-North Africa or Italy-North Africa boundaries. In line with the terrorism of the 1980s and 1990s, Turkey�s Middle Eastern borders are highly protected and illegal trespassing is at a minimum. Even if we disregard all these facts, it is an established reality that millions of immigrants from the Middle Eastern countries live in the EU countries and that the immigration goes on with a steady increase. In other words, the Middle East is speedily and uncontrollably settling at the heart of Europe. With all these figures, is it possible to say that what protects the EU from �meddling� with the Middle East is a 1000 km-tract of land? With the current state of technology, is the EU hiding behind the pretext of Turkish lands in order to distance itself from the Middle East?"

More:The Journal of Turkish Weekly