ANALYSIS – When the Czar of Russia came to England in the 1850s he talked of putting an end to the ‘sick man of Europe.’ He was of course talking about the Muslim Ottoman Empire and assumed that the fellow Christian nations of Great Britain and France would join Russia in this enterprise. They did not. And the resulting Crimean War put into place the pattern of international relations that remains to this day – that Russia will always remain outside Europe. So given this, it is astonishing that the Turkish ‘Republic’ with its vast Muslim population should ever have thought they would be part of Europe. British PM David Cameron’s comments that it would take Ankara to the year 3000 at the current rate of progress to get there should have hammered home the message.
Turkey applied in 1981 and it’s application to realise the dream of their founder Mustafa Kemal ‘Ataturk’ has remained in limbo ever since whilst a host of eastern European countries have been embraced within the union.
Of course France and Germany will talk at length at the cultural differences between the Turks and Europeans – but they fear much more. The migrant/refugee crisis that hit the European mainland has highlighted the ‘danger’ of opening the borders to 64 million Turks. But this is much much more – and the Turkish elite only need to look at the 1890s to see how France and England’s bankers and politicians treated the ‘Sick man of Europe’ to understand this.