«Turkey had a higher rate of economic growth than any other EU member state, he [Blair] said, plus a 'young and vibrant population'.»
I infer that "young and vibrant" is Blairianese codetalk for "poor and weird".
«During today's talks, Austrian officials claimed that opposition to Turkey's entry was widespread in Europe. According to a poll published yesterday by the Austria Press Agency, 54% of EU citizens oppose Turkey's accession. The figure rises to 73% in Austria, where historical suspicion of Turkish imperialism combines with modern-day fears of Muslim immigration.»
What's Turkish for "Vergangenheitsbewältigung"?
«[Turkish anti-EU] views are emotional, inchoate and rooted in an increasingly anachronistic vision of Turkey's past and its destiny. However, they are tapping into a vein of resentment that could derail the accession. A whole range of issues underpin the reaction, and most of them, according to Halil Berktay, professor of history at Sabanci University, are beyond Western politicians with limited understanding of the Turkish national psyche.
Though still limited, anti-European feeling, Berktay said, could easily spread: 'There is a grave danger of a much broader nationalist backlash, led by retired soldiers, intellectual poseurs, political opportunists and journalists who pander to a conservative, quasi-fascistic nationalism.'»
"Let's be friends, or else!!". Great.
The South will riiiiiiise again!
«In each case, the EU has demanded that Ankara take steps that the majority of Turks strongly oppose - recognising Greek-run Cyprus, giving the Kurds more rights, and accepting that up to a million Armenians were deliberately killed during the break-up of the Ottoman empire. Until recently, all three were taboo topics, rarely ever discussed openly.
"Turks can accept Europe's intervention on issues that are political and economic, but on these issues they feel it is totally unjust and unfair," said Ihsan Dagi, a political science professor at Ankara's Middle East Technical University. "Turks see the EU as a means to improve their lot. They cannot understand what relevance the Armenian question, for example, has for Turkey's quest to join the EU."
All three issues had proved to be ammunition for traditional-minded opponents of EU accession within Turkey, say observers.
"These are highly sensitive subjects for the Turks who unfortunately get very easily offended," said one EU diplomat. "Invariably, it's reaction to them that feeds the nationalists which, in turn, upsets the Europeans - a vicious circle."»
Personally, I think that an EU without Turkey could be considered a "Christian-only club" only by people who could consider an EU with Turkey to be a "whites-only club" or a "non-Semites-only club", and so on, ad nauseam, ad infinitum, ad suckium.
The EU, as it plans to include much of Eastern Europe, will have more than enough huffy scruffs whose leisure-time activities are flirtation with fascism and being in histrionic denial about their genocidal past.
Adding Turkey to that mix would be redundant. The question is whether redundancy is helpful/tolerable/dangerous at this point.