Before departing Prague for Ankara, Obama offered the unwelcome advice for Europeans: “The United States and Europe must approach Muslims as our friends, neighbors and partners in fighting injustice, intolerance and violence,” he said. “Moving forward towards Turkish membership in the EU would be an important signal of your commitment to this agenda and ensure that we continue to anchor Turkey firmly in Europe.”
The Eurocrats were happy, but President Nikolas Sarkozy of France was not amused, and, as the AP reported, “slapped down” the presidential tyro. German Chancellor Angela Merkel agreed. In Turkey, Obama spoke again. “Let me say this as clearly as I can,” he said. “The United States is not and will never be at war with Islam. In fact, our partnership with the Muslim world is critical ... in rolling back the violent ideologies that people of all faiths reject.” As well, “we will convey our deep appreciation for the Islamic faith, which has done so much over the centuries to shape the world, including in my own country.”
Radical Islam did a lot of “shaping” in the U.S. on 9/11, when 19 Muslims flew jetliners into the World Trade Center and Pentagon. But in any event the idea is to fortify relations with Turkey because the United States may be slipping away from Europe’s ambit. A NATO member since 1952, the Islamic nation’s entrance into the EU has been a goal of the leftist elites for some time, the belief being that Turkey’s NATO membership and its “secular democracy” qualifies it as “European.”
Whatever the benefits of peaceful relations with Turkey, integrating it into the EU is not a good one. That Turkey is a democracy in the Western sense of the word, or that Islam is secondary to its political structure and only “moderate,” is false.
Indeed, Turkey's prime minister disputed the widespread belief that his country or Islam is “moderate” before Obama alighted on European soil for the G20 meeting, dismissing the idea that Islam itself can be moderated. Recep Tayyip Erdogan affirmed what Islam’s critics have said for sometime: “Moderate” Islam is a fiction. “It is unacceptable for us to agree with such a definition,” the prime minister said. “Turkey has never been a country to represent such a concept. Moreover, Islam cannot be classified as moderate or not.”
The Hurriyet Daily News Service, which reported those remarks, also added these from Erdogan: “It should be known that adopting a malicious and offending approach toward the sensitive issues of Islamic world by hiding behind some democratic freedoms like freedom of speech and right of free publication is unacceptable.” As Robert Spencer of Jihadwatch.com observed, “Well, then, freedom of speech must be deep-sixed!”
How “moderate” is Erdogan. Erdogan, who as mayor of Istanbul opposed entry in the EU and thought Turkey should withdraw from NATO, was jailed for Islamist sympathies, which included these words from a poem: “The mosques are our barracks, the domes our helmets, the minarets our bayonets and the faithful our soldiers.” In 1995, Erdogan said “you cannot be secular and a Muslim at the same time. The world’s 1.5 billion Muslims are waiting for the Turkish people to rise up. We will rise up.” As Spencer reports, citing Bloomberg News, Erdogan, who now supports EU membership for Turkey, may well implement Sharia law in the country.
As for whether the United States is at war with Islam, Obama knocked down something of a straw man. Just days after 9/11, Obama's predecessor, President Bush, proclaimed that “Islam is peace.” In other words, Bush did not launch a war against Islam, but instead against “terror.”
Anyhow, the ramifications of EU membership for Turkey are beyond imagining, at least for average Europeans. The EU permits its “citizens” to travel on EU passports and to work or live in any country they choose. Turkey’s population of 77 million is 99 percent Muslim. Given that Islam is already sweeping over Europe, with its adherents killing and terrorizing Europeans across the continent, as well as demanding speech codes that have muzzled politicians, unfettered access to Europe's major cities for Turkish Muslims would be an irreversible catastrophe.
R. Cort Kirkwood, managing editor of the Daily News-Record in Harrisonburg, Va., has been writing about American politics and culture for more than 20 years. Mr. Kirkwood has written for Chronicles, The New American, National Review, The Remnant, The Christian Science Monitor, The Wall Street Journal, The Baltimore Sun, The Orange County Register, Taki’s Top Drawer online magazine, and LewRockwell.com. For several years, he syndicated a column, “The Hard Line.” Mr. Kirkwood is the author of the nonfiction title, Real Men: Ten Courageous Americans To Know And Admire, published by Cumberland House.