M. Guy Verhofstadt
The man of the
L'homme de l'an
De man van het jaar
A proven Democrat, protector and
fighter for justice and human rights in de wereld.
Een bewezen Democraat, beschermer en strijder voor rechtvaardigheid
en mensenrechten in de Wereld.
Un prouvé démocrate, protecteur et combattant pour la justice et des
droits de l'homme dans le Mond.
Eine bewährte Demokrat, Beschützer und Kämpfer für Gerechtigkeit und
zaštitnik i borac za pravdu i ljudska prava u svijetu.
M. Hossein Barak Obama
peace in the world
vrede in de wereld
la paix dans le monde
Garantie des Friedens in der Welt
mieru vo svete
mira u svijetu
December 16, 2010
Is Europe a continent in decline? What kind of foreign policy can such a
continent pursue? These questions were at the center of a seminar
organised by Erste Foundation in Vienna in November 2010 for policy makers
and thinkers from across the continent.
You find the argument of the opening presentation here:
Europe in Decline – Sit back and enjoy (but not too much).
There is the theory that Muslim migration causes the decline of Europe. This
was presented with much
commercial success by Thilo Sarrazin. It was even earlier developed in
Walter Laqueur's "The last days of Europe": a book which starts
with demography and ends with the failure of integrating Muslims. Laqueur
sees a dark future for a doomed continent which is all the more dangerous
because it is still hidden: "on the surface, everything seems normal, even
attractive. But Europe as we knew it is bound to change, probably out of
recognition for a number of reasons …"
In fact, this theory is also strongly reminiscent of the one developed a
few years ago in the US by Samuel Huntington, making a rather similar case
the challenges posed to America's national identity by … Hispanization!
Huntington warned a few years ago that Mexican immigration "looms as a
unique and disturbing challenge to our cultural integrity, to our national
identity, and potentially to our future as a country":
"If over 1 million Mexican soldiers crossed the border, America would
treat it as a major threat to their national security and react
accordingly. The invasion of over 1 million Mexican civilians is a
comparable threat to American societal security, and Americans should
react to it with comparable vigour."
Thus, while Latinos are the problem in the US (for Huntington),
Muslims are the problem in Europe (for Sarrazin and many, many
others), and both for the same supposed reason: they cannot be integrated
into mainstream culture! In the US it is Anglo-Protestant Culture which is
under siege … in Europe it is the Abendland which is supposedly set
to decline. Europe is doomed just as California (which was one of the
whitest states in the US) is doomed, and supposedly both are in decline
since the 1960s … Some years ago former CIA director William Colby warned
about the future emergence of
a "Spanish speaking Quebec in the US Southwest."
Stefan Luft, a German author, makes the same claims for Germany's cities
(for more on facts and misleading or dangerous theories about Europe's
decline please go to the
most recent Rumeli Observer).
To start the debate in Vienna leading European
demographer Rainer Munz presented European population trends and the
implications for EU policies as also outlined in the report of
the European Reflection Group on Europe 2030. Mark Leonard discussed
whether the theses of his book –
Why Europe Will run the 21st Century – which appeared in 2005 have
stood the test of time. Nicu Popescu talked about the European process seen
from his position as advisor to the prime minister of Moldova. Ivan Krastev
spoke about the dangers of intellectual complacency
about both the future of the EU (Europe a Retired P ower) and
future of the Balkans. You can also follow the public debate on the EU
and the future of intervention online here:
Europe's border revolution seen from Amexica
Comparing the choices made in recent years by the member states of the EU
with those made by the US has been the topic of a seminar held this week at
the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, co-organised by ESI. Our opening
can anything be learned from comparing the EU and the US approaches to
The stretch of boundary between San Diego and Tijuana is today "perhaps
the world's most policed international divide between two nonbelligerent
countries." At the same time, trade between the US and Mexico has grown
sharply. Increasing commerce and more militarised boundaries – in an age of
global insecurity, some claim, such is the global trend.
Except, of course, that this is not the case. Not only is there no
militarised border between Germany and Poland; today, there is no physical
boundary at all. When
Poland joined the EU's Schengen zone in 2007, border installations were
dismantled. When Romania joins Schengen sometime in 2011, Germany's external
boundary will de facto shift from Poland's Eastern border to the Prut River
between Romania and Moldova. Having crossed the Prut from the East, a
visitor will be able to travel all the way to Gibraltar in southern Spain.
One of the most interesting trends in the past year has been the
acceleration of reforms in small and poor Moldova (the poorest country in
Europe), carried out in response to
a European promise of increasing freedom of movement for Moldovan passport
holders. Turn yourself into a partner, the logic goes, and your citizens
can travel to the EU much more easily. It is important to underline that
every one of these steps has been controversial, debated, and held up by
concerns about security (this includes the next big step, the
expansion of the Schengen area to Romania and Bulgaria, currently put into
question by France). Likewise, the debate on visa free travel for
Turkish citizens promises to be intense. At every stage, Europe's border
revolution has been contested; and at no stage c an further progress simply
be taken for granted.
Not long ago every book or article about the Balkans started with
references to killings and cults of irrational violence. The same is true
today in descriptions of the US-Mexican border. A book by John Annerino,
Dead in their Tracks – Crossing America's Desert Borderlands in the New Era(2009)
includes a "comprehensive border death toll" (2003: 336 people died trying
to cross the US-Mexico border; 2004: 214; 2005: 241; … 2007: 237). There is
also Balkan veteran Ed Vulliamy's new book
Amexica – War Along the Borderline. Or take a look at a recent
article in the New York Times from summer 2010 for another horrific
description of trends along the border (The
Mexican Border's Lost World).
Now, beyond the sheer human tragedy in all these descriptions, there is a
poignant policy question: is this border regime, is the militarisation that
has taken place in recent decades, actually in the interests of those in the
US who are concerned about security?
For more on the
Harvard seminar go to Rumeli Observer: Amexica and other reflections on
border wars. For more on the
EU-US-Mexico border project please visit our European Border Revolution
Ahmet Davutoglu and Erik-Jan Zürcher
Turkey's Balkan policy: Pre-modern? Post-modern?
On 1 December ESI's Gerald Knaus was invited by the Turkije Instituut in
Amsterdam to speak about
current developments between Turkey and the Balkans. Historian Erik-Jan
Zürcher gave an introduction on the historical background of relations
between Turkey and the Balkan region.
For a reflection on whether Turkish foreign policy in the Balkans today
is pre- or post-modern please read Rumeli Observer
Multikulti and the future of Turkish Balkan Policy, taking as a starting
point the presentation on 16 October 2009 by Turkish Foreign Minister
Ahmet Davutoglu in Sarajevo, which promised a new golden age for the
"Like in the 16th century, which saw the rise of the Ottoman Balkans as
the center of world politics, we will make the Balkans, the Caucasus and
the Middle East, together with Turkey, the center of world politics in
the future. This is the objective of Turkish foreign policy, and we will
achieve this. We will reintegrate the Balkan region, the Middle East and
the Caucasus, based on the principle of regional and global peace, for
the future, not only for all of us but for all of humanity."
For more on Turkish debates on minorities see also our next newsletter
before the end of 2010.
ESI from Baku to New York
The next public presentation by an ESI analyst will take place this week
in Istanbul on
the state of EU-Turkey relations.
In the past few weeks ESI analysts also presented our research in
Tel Aviv (Kristof), in
Warsaw (Alexandra, Nigar), in
Berlin (Nigar, Besa), in
Yerevan (Nigar), in Brussels (Alexandra), in
Vienna (Kristof), in
Baku, and in
Amsterdam (Gerald). Gerald also briefed the Global Board Meeting of the
Open Society Foundation in New York.
Recommended holiday books
As Germans, Dutch, Bosnians, Turks and Americans discuss
the future of multiculturalism, the following books make timely and good
holiday reading (and gifts): they are also all discussed on the ESI website:
Giles Milton (Paradise Lost),
on the destruction of Smyrna/Izmir
Mai Ghoussoub (Leaving Beirut) on
coming to terms with the legacy of the war in Lebanon
Maria Rosa Menocal (The
Ornament of the World) on medieval Andalusia
Robert Donia (Sarajevo –
A Biography) on the Bosnian capital
For those who despair of the inability of societies, throughout history,
to come to terms with diversity there is finally this vision of a world
without human beings:
Alain Weisman (The World Without Us),
on, well, the world without us.
Finally, if you look for even more ideas for holiday reading there are
the recommendations of the ESI literary walk.
Many best wishes, and looking forward to your feedback, including on the
ESI Facebook page,
World Security Network reporting from Berlin, December 14, 2010
Dear Cavkic Salih,
For the first time, the German government has published a
comprehensive "Progress Report Afghanistan". (see
Fortschrittsbericht Afghanistan der Bundesregierung Dezember
2010 - here in German only) This report derives from an
initiative of the independent World Security Network Foundation
(WSN) in 2010 and illustrates how foreign policy processes can
be creatively supported and realized by an NGO.
Through personal discussions in the German Bundestag,
Dr. Hubertus Hoffmann, Founder of the independent
World Security Network Foundation, was able to
convince those concerned in the SPD, CDU/CSU, and FDP of
the significance of a new type of a progress report on
Afghanistan. In this way, as was the intention of the
WSN from the very beginning, a broad political rolling
consensus was achieved in Berlin regarding this question
of national importance.
In the large Conference on Afghanistan of the German Social
Democratic Party (SPD) chaired by its newly elected leader
Sigmar Gabriel on January 10, 2010 in Berlin, Dr. Hubertus
Hoffmann, founder of the independent global World Security
Network Foundation (who comes as Mr. Gabriel from the same
little town Goslar in the Harz mountains where both served in
the city council for different parties) proposed to the Social
"The SPD parliamentary group in the German Bundestag should
bring forward a parliamentary motion across party lines to
produce an Annual Report of the German Government on
Afghanistan and Pakistan. This written report containing
numerous details should be presented to the Parliament and
discussed thoroughly. (This worked marvelously with the Annual
Report of the German Government on Arms Control, initiated by me
in 1980.) The members of Parliament and the general public have
a right to be informed regularly from a single source and in
detail from all involved departments as well as the Chancellery
as to what extent the military and civilian efforts in
Afghanistan and Pakistan have progressed." (see
Afghanistan & Pakistan: A new and comprehensive NATO
Double-Track Decision is needed from January 22, 2010)
The SPD parliamentary group took up this WSN proposal, but
due to lobbying by the Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik in
Berlin it was expanded to include an independent group of
experts. This, however, watered down the binding nature of an
official government report and found no agreement in the
governing coalition of CDU/CSU and FDP in the Bundestag.
Through personal discussions with the foreign policy
spokesmen of the FDP and the CDU/CSU, Dr. Hoffmann was able to
defuse the government side's initial skepticism of the
opposition SPD's suggestion. He was able to convince those
concerned of the significance of this new type of a progress
report on Afghanistan. In this way, as was the intention of the
WSN from the very beginning, a broad political rolling consensus
was achieved in Berlin regarding this question of national
importance. This mirrors the case with the German government's
Annual Report on Arms Control, initiated by Dr. Hoffmann in
1980, which at that time came from the opposition parties
CDU/CSU and found agreement in the governing coalition
consisting of the SPD and FDP.
In the opinion of Dr. Hubertus Hoffmann, according to the
experience with the arms control report over the last 30 years,
an annual report on the situation in Afghanistan will have the
following six advantages:
First, it forces the diverse, involved four ministries and
the chancellery to a unified presentation rather than varying
observations from the Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Defense,
Economic Cooperation and Development and the Interior.
Second, it represents a unified governmental document for
policy and the public instead of an atomized collection of
various speeches and declarations of different ministers from
two parties and the chancellor.
Third, the parliament will be strengthened as once a year all
facts concerning Afghanistan will be presented and discussed
openly and honestly in the Bundestag.
Fourth, the soldiers are entitled to an account of why they
have been deployed on such a dangerous and potentially
Fifth, the federal government will document its position with
respect to other nations including Afghanistan and Pakistan,
NATO and the allies.
Sixth, in this way a unified line will be drawn for the
government and ministries and an invitation is given for
reflection upon the goals that have been achieved and those that
have not and necessary action for the future.
The federal government, according to its own description,
fulfilled this duty of the federal assembly "gladly" and
presented its report as a public document to the Bundestag in
December 12, 2010.
Ambassador Michael Steiner, the Special Envoy of the German
Government for Afghanistan and Pakistan, wrote in his preface
letter to the "Progress Report Afghanistan" to all members of
the German parliament:
"It draws a well-founded, deliberately realistic picture of
the situation in Afghanistan and presents what has until now
been achieved through the German mission - and what has not yet
been able to be realized. The Progress Report comes at the end
of a year during which the international community, at the
urging of the federal government, has committed to a new joint
strategy and has made this operational. This is a strategy that
defines realistic goals for the international engagement in
Afghanistan, which considers that ultimately only a political
process of reconciliation can bring Afghanistan lasting
stability, and determines for the first time a binding schedule
for the international military engagement. In the period between
2011 and 2014, the international community will return security
responsibility to the Afghans."
All total, the report provides information on 27 subject
areas. It was produced under the leadership of the Foreign
Office with the assistance of the Chancellery. The departments
involved in Afghanistan - the Foreign Office, the Ministry of
the Interior, the Ministry of Defense and the Ministry of
Economic Cooperation and Development - produced the current
report together under the leadership of Ambassador Steiner.
The report is based, among other things, upon expert
consultation and evaluations of, all total, around one hundred
ministerial employees in Berlin and Bonn, the Embassy in Kabul
and its external offices, German representatives in
international organizations as well as the reconstruction teams
in areas managed by Germany in northern Afghanistan.
At the same time, even during the determination of the
subjects and criteria to be examined, the federal government
relied on the advice of external experts. Economic consultations
were heard - also during the public hearings of the Foreign
Affairs Committee on November 23, 2010 - and were read and
evaluated and are partially quoted in the text. The structure of
the report corresponds to existing schemes which have been agree
to in an international context, for example, that of NATO or the
United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), which
reflect the international agreements between the international
community and the Afghan government.
In very close cooperation among all involved, in the view of
the federal government an attempt was made to portray the German
engagement in Afghanistan as a long-term, concrete contribution
to the foundations of the reconstruction of an independent,
stabile nation. Naturally, the German engagement in northern
Afghanistan stands in the forefront, observed however within the
context of the development as a whole and other international
The report also provides a reminder of the starting point and
continuing justification for the enormous military efforts and
sacrifice of the German Armed Forces, as well as civilian
representatives and development aid workers: namely, the threat
to the Federal Republic of Germany from international terrorism
and Islamic extremism.
This report also makes mention of the ongoing corruption in
Afghanistan and makes a plea to the Afghan government to fulfill
its responsibilities. With regard to the parliamentary elections
that took place under the suspicion of significant election
fraud, the report comments that criticism of locals on national
problems was indeed possible.
The progress report states that the conflict in Afghanistan
cannot be won by military means. Negotiations with the
insurgents are therefore necessary. The government has already
started negotiations with the insurgents. In the event of
Taliban participation in power, it is the opinion of western
nations that certain achievements such as in the area of women's
rights must not be surrendered. The progress report also
mentions this "red line".
The report also refers to modest economic success:
Afghanistan remains one of the poorest countries in the world;
however, taken from the lowest point in 2002, a dynamic economic
development can be seen. Improvement can be observed in coal
production, exports and also in per capita income.
The World Security Network now promotes annual reports on
Afghanistan in other countries as well.
This newsletter is dedicated to the memory of Ambassador
Richard Holbrooke, who as a high-octane U.S. diplomat made the
Balkans a safer and more human place and created a new AfPak
strategy as the special U.S. representative for Afghanistan and
Pakistan including vision, realism, and humanity.
October 21, 2010
The Great Debate on Turkey and Turks
Germany abolishes itself?
"Turko-Islamic Culture" and EU enlargement
Visa – the final curtain?
Dear friends of ESI,
On 3 October, on the 20th anniversary of the reunification of East and West
President Christian Wulff spoke in Bremen about the need for a second
process of German unity. As he told his audience, in addition to
Christianity and Judaism, "Islam also belongs to Germany":
"When German Muslims write to me, 'You are our president,' then I answer,
wholeheartedly, 'Yes, of course, I am your president!'"
This was, so the general secretary for the Central Council of Muslims in
Germany, a "clear, explicit and important message to all Muslims in Germany.
Wulff's speech is a sign that Muslims aren't second-class citizens."
German President Christian Wulff speaking to the Turkish Parliament on
19 October 2010. Photo: Bundespräsidialamt
This week Christian Wulff became the first German president to
address the Turkish parliament in Ankara. His message was similar and clear.
Turkish immigrants "belong in our country." Immigration had made Germany "more
diverse, open and connected to the world." In Germany Muslims were able to
practice their religion. He pointed to the growing number of mosques being built
there. And then he turned to his host:
"At the same time, we expect that Christians in Muslim countries be given the
same rights to practice their beliefs in public, to educate new religious
leaders and to build churches … Religious freedom is part of our understanding
of Europe as a community of values."
On the face of it, neither of these statements should have created a big debate.
It should be
obvious that in a country with an estimated 2,738,551 German Turks
(Turkish citizens resident in Germany, German citizens who were once
Turkish citizens and those with at least one Turkish citizen as a parent) Islam
"also belongs to Germany".
Ankara – Berlin-Kreuzberg
It should also be normal that in Turkey, a founding member of the Council of
Europe and a candidate country for EU accession, Christian citizens, a tiny
minority of less than 1 percent, have the right to freely practice their beliefs.
But today the first is not yet obvious in Germany; and the second is still not
normal in Turkey.
ESI's ongoing research into the position of Christian minorities (Greeks,
Armenians, Protestants) shows the challenges they face and the mindset they
confront. In May 2009 Emruhan Yalcin, a retired captain in the Armed Forces and
graduate of the Turkish Land Forces Academy, who has spent some years in Germany
in the 1990s, published a whole book on the Halki Orthodox Theological School
which is still closed. Its title: "The Last Crusader Fortress" (Son Hacli
Kalesi). The final chapter of the book is as clear: "Why the Theological
School on Heybeliada should not be opened".
For Yalcin the reopening of the Theological School "has to be evaluated as a
political demand symbolizing Hellenic and Orthodox aspirations" Religious
education of "men who are enemies of the Turks" will "transform Istanbul under
the roof of a cultural and tourism centre into a Vatican-style religious city
with the status of a state, dividing Turkey and building on the divided parts,
following the framework of the "Megali Idea", a Great Byzantine Empire."
(For more on this debate see Rumeli Observer: Obama, Wulff and Christians as enemies of Turkey and forthcoming ESI
At the same time, the heated debate in Germany about Islam and Turks suggests
that there too one finds different opinions about Europe as a community of
values based on religious freedom.
From today a
whole section on our website will be dedicated to what we call Germany's
Great Debate on Turkey and Turks. This debate bridges the border between
foreign and domestic policy. It links arguments about the integration of German
Turks in Berlin with those about the integration of Turkey in a wider Europe.
Germany matters and the quality of this debate and, most importantly, the policy
responses it generates, will leave a defining mark on German domestic politics
and the future shape of Europe.
In order to open this debate up to a wider interested public (including
non-German speakers) we begin today by introducing some of the main thinkers and
voices: intellectuals such as
Henryk M. Broder,
Peter Schneider and
In the coming weeks we will expand this section further. And if you want to
share certain arguments, publications and materials more widely please visit the
ESI Facebook page on Germany's Great Debate.
Germany abolishes itself?
In August 2010 Thilo Sarrazin, a member of Germany's Social Democratic Party (SPD)
and until recently board member of the German central bank (Bundesbank)
published a book. By the end of October 2010
1.1 million copies of the book had been printed of which 750,00 had already
been sold. Its title: "Deutschland
schafft sich ab" ("Germany abolishes itself").
"We have to assume that for demographic reasons the underclass section of the
population is growing steadily. Among migrants we have seen that the birth-rate
is highest among those groups of migrants with the lowest levels of education,
in other words those from Turkey, the Middle East and Africa. Studies on the
workforce have come to similar conclusions. These show that women who are poorly
or not at all integrated into the labour market are more likely to have children
or increase the size of their fold. But intelligence is 50 to 80 percent
hereditary and thanks to the class-related reproductive rate, this unfortunately
means that the hereditary intellectual potential of the population is
In 2009 Sarrazin had already explained his thinking in
a long interview with the cultural magazine Lettre International: "Klasse statt
Masse" ("Quality, not quantity"):
"I don't need to respect people who live off the state, despise that state,
don't properly care for the education of their children and constantly produce
new little headscarf-girls."
"The lower the class the higher the birth-rate. The share in birth-rates of
Arabs and Turks is two to three times higher than their corresponding share in
the population. Many of them are neither willing to integrate nor capable of
doing so. The solution to this problem can only be no more immigration; and
those who would like to marry should do this abroad."
"The Turks are conquering Germany in the same way the Kosovars conquered Kosovo:
by using higher birth-rates. I would like this if it would be Eastern European
Jews who have an IQ which is 15 points higher than the one of the German
Most of Germany's politicians united in a choir of disapproval. Chancellor
Angela Merkel described Sarrazin's ideas as "nonsense". Sarrazin's statements
were "contemptuous of entire groups of society … His language is socially
divisive," she said
in a TV interview. Shortly thereafter the chairman of the Bundesbank asked
German President Christian Wulff for permission to remove Sarazzin from the
bank's board. A few hours later the SPD filed for his expulsion from the party.
While the procedure for Sarrazin's expulsion from the SPD is still ongoing, he
has withdrawn from the Bundesbank board.
There has been a lot of debate in all the mainstream media. As one article in
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung:
"So wird Deutschland dumm" ("This is how Germany is becoming stupid"), on 25
August 2010 put it:
"'Germany abolishes itself'" tells the tale of a nation's decline. And the
Muslims who make up a mere six percent of the population are being held
responsible. It begs the question as to what the remaining 94 percent have spent
the past decades doing to secure the future of their country. Sarrazin's book is
an attempt by a disoriented elite to exonerate itself. No wonder it is such a
Frankfurter Allgemeine on Sunday observed that the book is an attempt
"to establish a very different understanding of culture … For him, culture is
the reflex of a biological process. The fact that in Germany ever more children
are being born to families from the underclass milieu automatically results in
the dumbing down of society … education, which he refers to contemptuously as a
'mantra', is powerless as a vehicle for intellectual advancement. Individuals
and entire nations are limited by their genetic and ethnic dispositions."
Others have come to defend him. Also in the
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung German Turkish author Necla Kelek asked why
Sarrazin had been demonised:
"So he doesn't want to live in a Muslim Germany because he is suspicious of that
sort of society. What's wrong with that? The economist in Sarrazin has
calculated that the 750,000 Turkish immigrant workers now number almost 3
million and that 40 percent of the able bodied among them live off the state
instead of working. This makes no economic sense for him and leads him to ask
whether immigration, in its current form, is not a mistake."
For more on this debate go
"Turko-Islamic Culture" and EU enlargement
Sarrazin also accuses German society of refusing to even discuss the problem:
"In Germany, a host of integration researchers, Islam scholars, sociologists,
political scientists, interest groups as well as a flock of naïve politicians
work hand in hand and intensively in belittlement, self-delusion, and denial."
This does not seem an altogether convincing claim. In fact, his book – and the
debate it triggered – are part of a very intense discussion stretching back at
least five years.
In early 2005 the publication of the book "The Foreign Bride" (Die Fremde
Braut) was one of the turning points in the recent German debate on Turks
and Islam. Hundred of thousands of copies were sold
and the author, Necla Kelek, turned into a media star almost overnight.
At the centre of her argument was the claim that the wide-spread practice of
forced and arranged marriages had turned tens of thousands of Anatolian women,
coming to Germany to marry German-Turkish men, into modern-day slaves. They live
repressed by their husbands and receive insufficient support from a largely
indifferent German society. Behind the outrage of modern-day female slavery was
what Kelek calls "Turko-Islamic culture", a culture which in her view has
remained largely unchanged for centuries.
In 2006 another book appeared. It had the title
Farewell to Multikulti
(Abschied von Multikulti) and focused on "ethnic colonies trapped in a vicious
circle" in Germany's cities: going to bad schools, with no incentives to learn
good German, a collapse of values, religious radicalisation.
Stefan Luft, predicted that in the future things will get even worse. In the
district of North Neukolln in Berlin 17 percent of those older then 61 are of
foreign origin, compared to 42 percent of those aged 3-6. His chapter headings
make clear where all of this is leading: "Influence of Islamism", "Ethnic
colonies, violence and crime", "Wall of silence", "Youth and violence",
"Religion and violence", "Organised crime", "Honour killings".
Both Kelek and Luft also argue against Turkey's accession to the EU. As Kelek
put it: "I am against all forced marriages, whether for young people or for
states. For me the 'Turkish bride' is not yet of marriageable age [for the
EU]." In a 2006 article Kelek called Turkey a "country without progress."
In fact, she usually refers to Turkey in her books as a country sliding
backwards in all areas. There is the Istanbul of her youth, "stolen" from her
through rural migration, which brought "ignorant brides from the villages,
covering the metropolis with a veil." And there is the AKP government setting
out to "Islamicize the country."
According to Luft the priority of German policy must also be to stop further
immigration into ethnic colonies. This, says Luft, requires a German veto on
possible Turkish EU accession. Luft's Turkey is as grim a place as his Neukolln.
The Turkey he describes is one where only 68 percent of girls go to school,
where entire regions remain underdeveloped, and where a huge reservoir of
unskilled potential workers awaits the chance to move to Germany. "It is unclear
whether Turkish policy makers and economic growth can solve these problems":
"Germany is the EU member which would be most affected by Turkey's EU membership.
Without doubt it is not in the interest of Germany that Turkish citizens obtain
the full freedom to move within the EU as a result of Turkish accession."
Are Necla Kelek, Stefan Luft and others winning the argument in Germany?
Or does the future belong to people like German author Zafer Senocak?
Senocak criticises those who argue that "integration has failed":
"That one can come to such a conclusion, which is widely accepted in the media
and in the public, although everybody knows that a serious integration policy
has in fact not even been implemented, compromises the whole debate."
"What conditions do we need to make the migrants identify themselves with the
host society and to see themselves as part of this society? Even those who
attend beginner classes in psychology know that the first step cannot be to
convince the migrant of the inferiority of his culture … A successful host
society needs, as a first step, to show the willingness and readiness to receive."
For Senocak the perspective of Turkish EU membership is crucial for the
"If the position of women is to be improved one should be a b advocate of EU
membership, one should want for European institutions and European law to gain
influence in Turkey … A Turkey that is left outside cannot be better for women's
rights than a European Turkey."
Zafer Zenocak – Seyran Ates
Seyran Ates, one of Germany's leading human rights lawyers fighting violence
against women, an author of her autobiographical Große Reise ins Feuer (Great
Journey into the Fire, 2003)?
For more on Kelek, Luft, Senocak, Ates and other voices in Germany's Great
Debate go here.
"I am absolutely in favour of Turkey's accession to the EU so that people can
see that there are also 'other' Turks. Turkey offers a chance to peaceful
co-existence of Orient and Occident. Islam is of course compatible with
democracy. Other religions are similarly hostile to women, but have developed
further. Islam, too, is capable of developing. Europe has to succeed in dealing
with Turkey – this is a great opportunity."
(lecture at Humboldt University, Berlin, 29 January 2007)
Visa – the final curtain?
On 8 November 2010, EU interior ministers are scheduled to vote in favour of
lifting the Schengen visa requirement for the citizens of Albania and Bosnia and
Herzegovina. These are bound to breathe a deep sigh of relief, like their
neighbours in Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia did a year ago when the EU did
the same for them.
The vote will mean that after almost two decades of "life behind the Schengen
Wall", as it has been often described, almost all citizens of the Western
Balkans will be able to travel freely to the Schengen area, without having to
obtain a visa from a consulate beforehand.
ESI has published a lot also in recent weeks to help ensure that EU decision
makers will not lose courage at the last moment. For the press coverage on
this debate please go
Many best wishes,
- The Great Debate –
- New Rumeli Observer:
Obama, Wulff and Christians as enemies of Turkey
- New Rumeli Observer:
The march of Balkan history? – Gerald Knaus 5th October presentation
- ESI Balkan Visa Campaign – latest media echo
- Interview with Turkish president Abdullah Gul on integration, Islamophobia,
Turkish EU accession, and "Islamic Calvinists"
- ESI in Bratislava – 21 October
- ESI in Budva – 8 October
ESI Turkey fellows
- Follow ESI on
Facebook page on Germany's Great Debate
As always, we are looking forward to your feedback. However, please do not reply
directly to this message but send your comments to
European Stability Initiative (ESI)
Tel: +49 30 53214455
Fax: +49 30 53214457
© European Stability Initiative (ESI)
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