And here comes the rebuttal. My reasons for opposing Turkish membership of the EU are many-some are personal, some are general. Some emotional, some completely logical.

The first issue is practical and while it may attract accusations of prejudice I urge you to think and then jump to conclusions. The European Union is an agglomeration of European States-this much we all know. Over the centuries these states have beet at war with each other and have had (and arguably still have) bitter differences over certain issues. Yet, they come together almost seamlessly as one. How is this possible? The reason lies in the fact that as different we may be from each other, we are a lot more alike in Europe than we are different. We share joined histories, culture, religion, often habits, traditions and even many of our languages have a common root. Whether the reader would like to admit it or not, Turkey shares none of these with its European neighbours. Of what history it shares, it is almost exclusively in the form of conquest or attempts at conquest.  I will not allow this to boil down to an issue of religion (even though that invariably plays its part) as what I am seeking to establish is much further reaching than that.

What makes Europe one-a coherent body  is precisely this bond of familiarity which runs through the very fiber of European culture-a thing not shared by Turkey. To be certain, Turkey has a fascinating and rich culture of its own-but it is radically different to ours. There is nothing wrong with being different, however introducing a culture so radically different into the EU will undermine the EU’s common European voice and spirit. It would be no small introduction either-with Turkey’s population they would instantly become one of the strongest voices in Parliament, while their economic and military strength would give them similar influence in the Council. This would be like no other accession-much more similar to a hostile take over. Even though I do not feel Turkey bears any current hostility to the EU, their presence itself would corrode the EU, through no fault of their own. Considering expansion has to stop somewhere, why should the EU absorb a state which is much more similar to the Middle East than it is to Europe? Because it controls a sliver of land in Europe? A lot of important things are at stake, things not to be sacrificed at the altar of Political Correctness.

The second issue is Cyprus. A brief explanation of the facts is necessary for the uninitiated. Currently Turkey occupies a part of the sovereign nation of Cyprus, which is an EU member state-the are occupied is also known as the unrecognized “Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus”. That the TRNC is not a recognized state is a fact, the reason for its illegal status being the manner of its creation. To cut a long story short, due to international law agreements between Greece, The British Empire and Turkey at the time of Cypriot independence, Turkey had the right to bring troops into Cyprus to maintain the conditions for Turkish Cypriots agreed at the time of Independence. During an incident, Turkey exercised that right. Their troops are yet to leave. To be certain, they have no right to be there, nor do they have the right to create a state within the borders of the republic of Cyprus, which is why the TRNC remains illegal and unrecognised. This much is legal fact and beyond contestation, much though the Turkish side still insists on disputing it. Therefore, the present situation is that Turkey illegally remains in military occupation of an EU member state.  To even contemplate allowing Turkish membership while this remains the case defies all common sense and logic. In fact, was the EU leadership not so spineless, they should have applied their collective political and military power to evict Turkey from Cyprus a long time ago, if nothing else as a pre-requisite for starting accession talks.

The final reason for opposing Turkish membership is tied into the previous and it is also influenced by personal emotion, though that should not detract all its worth, since I feel it raises a valid point-the emotion borne purely of Bulgaria’s historic experience with Turkey which most EU member states could not claim to have had. Throughout it’s history, Turkey has yet to show that it deserves to join the European bloc on the grounds of both foreign policy and morality. Not to say that EU member states are not responsible for horrific atrocities-they are. However in Turkey’s case, their repeated aggression and atrocities have been targeted at Europe itself and it is disingenuous to disregard this while considering the issue of accession. It is a historical fact that Turkey (as the Ottoman Empire) has spent the larger part of its history either occupying or attempting to occupy European states.  In fact it would not be wholly unfair to say that, business arrangements with France and Britain notwithstanding, the vast majority of interaction Turkey has had with Europe prior to WWI has been through the sights of a rifle or at the tip of a sword. That current financial convenience dictates it would be better for Turkey to join, does not mean that all this should be ignored. People seldom change, countries even less so. Given the warlike nature of European states, this could perhaps have been overlooked (if one was so minded) had it not been accompanied by atrocities carried out against European member states-most notably Greece and Bulgaria.

To be fair, were we considering German accession afresh, I would have sounded a similar caution after WWII-however it is worth noting that while Turkish crimes have not reached the sheer insanity of Nazi Germany, their horrors have come steadily through the centuries, showing not a moment of madness but rather a steady attitude of contempt for decency when foreign nations are concerned. What is more of a worry is that this attitude persists today, evidenced by Turkish treatment of the Kurds, the Armenian genocide ( for which in fact, the word was invented), as well as their attitude to the Cyprus situation. It is my view that Turkey is yet to show that it has truly moved on from its dark past and until it does, it does not belong inside the EU.