Cameron embroils Queen in Turkey's EU bid
"We have come through a great deal together to develop what is, today, a very modern partnership. In Europe, the British Government remains committed to working with you to secure your place in the European Union."The Express gets all hissy about the banquet being halal, which is absurd: like any hospitable host, Her Majesty will ensure that her guests are presented with food they may eat. If one is prepared to serve a special broccoli and celery quiche to vegetarians, offering halal meat to one's Muslim guests would be a basic courtesy.
No, the most objectionable aspect of this visit was the decision to enlist the Sovereign in support of Turkey's (continuing) bid for membership of the European Union. Were Turkey to join, she would not only be the EU’s most populous Muslim nation, but also the EU’s largest nation with a potential voting weight exceeding that of Germany. While Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger was implacably opposed to Turkish accession (he said it would be 'a grave error against the tide of history’), Pope Benedict XVI is making distinctly conciliatory overtures. The EU and Turkey simply have to agree ‘fundamental rules of cohabitation’ in order to build ‘a common future’ through ‘mutual dialogue’.
David Cameron is far more concerned abroad with inculcating gay rights than religious liberty. Turkey perpetuates anti-Christian discrimination laws that make it difficult for churches to own property. The treatment of Christian minorities has been one of the major hurdles to EU accession, and Christian Solidarity Worldwide has highlighted two cases of Christians being arrested for the nebulous and all-embracing crime of ‘insulting Turkishness’. And don't even think of mentioning 'Armenian genocide' or 'Cyprus'. According to a previous poll, 81% of Turks believe that the EU is not treating them ‘sincerely and fairly’, compared to 2% who say that it is.
But France and Germany are both opposed to Turkish membership. Former French president Valery Giscard d’Estaing once said that Turkish membership would be the 'end of Europe', and that those supporting the membership bid were 'the adversaries of the European Union'. President Sarkozy has always been opposed, insisting that it is up to individual member states of the European Union (ie not the collective) to decide. He is on the record as saying: “Turkey has no place inside the European Union." The French even changed their constitution to ensure a referendum on the issue. Chancellor Merkel said that while close links with Turkey were important, its future status in Europe was ‘still open for discussion’ (ie not remotely likely).
It is difficult to understand why the Consevative Party supports Turkey in the EU, unless it is in the belief that the wider the Union is, the deeper it cannot be. The 'free movement of people' would open the floodgates of cheap Turkish labour, and if CAP subsidies were to be bestowed upon Turkey's farms of the order they are in France, it would bankrupt the EU. Is there method in this madness? President Sarkozy perceptively said: “Enlarging Europe with no limit risks destroying European political union.”
With Edward Leigh, there is a part of His Grace that begins to warm to the Turkish EU bid, and Her Majesty's fervent support of it.