Putting in a good word for Turkey and the Turks

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I couldn’t believe the UKIP Party Political Broadcast (PPB) earlier this week. It really is a new low for a PPB to comprehensively denigrate an entire country and its people.

Turkey first applied to join the EU 29 years ago. They are going through a process, which is subject to ebb and flow, to become an EU member country. Of 35 “chapters” which are needed to be prepared for entry to the EU, Turkey are currently red on four and amber on a large number. There are concerns over Cyprus and human rights, particularly in relation to the Kurds.

Surely, this long deliberative process is a good sign that the EU has robust procedures for entry? That the process itself is encouraging and has encouraged welcome change in Turkey?

Turkey is not about to imminently join the EU, as suggested by the UKIP PPB. It could be decades before they join. Several of the elements highlighted by the PPB are part of the improvement programme needed for the country to move closer to EU membership.

Some of Turkey’s foreign policy and elements of its domestic policy should rightly be criticized.

But could the PPB not at least mention that Turkey has been a loyal and crucial member of NATO since 1952?

Perhaps mention that the Turks are warm and generous hosts to millions of UK tourists who enjoy holidays there?

That they are already members of a series of organisations and initiatives with EU countries?

That if Turkey can achieve reforms to attain EU membership it would be a fantastic bridge between Europe and Asia? – Between the different cultures of west and east? A chance for reconciliation and stretching out, further, the hand of friendship and mutual co-operation?

No – all that gets ignore in a grubby exercise to get people up in arms about another “bogeycountry”.

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