As I have mentioned in this blog perviously, I was not hugely impressed with some of the arguments used, on both sides, during the recent referendum campaign in Ireland on the Lisbon Treaty. But perhaps the most outrageous slogan used was found on one anti-Lisbon poster: ‘Hello Lisbon, Hello Turkey, No Way’. This was outrageous for many reasons. Its basic suggestion (presumably that the Treaty would pave the way for Turkey’s admission into the EU) was nonsense factually, but that’s not my main gripe. Rather, what I abhor is the racist innuendo. The voter was to be seduced into the fear that voting yes would hasten the arrival of Turkey in the Union, with the subtext being that before we could say ‘mass migration’ hordes of Turks would come gunning for our jobs.
Lest I am misunderstood, there are perfectly reasonable questions that can asked before anyone decides on Turkey’s membership; but that was not the point here. This campaign seemed to me to want to adopt a position on largely racist grounds. Another approach with the same subtext is sometimes used by others wanting to stop Turkey’s accession: that unlike every other EU state, Turkey is not a Christian country in its religious and cultural origins. Turkey, we are being told, has a population that could subvert European culture – white Caucasian culture. Its citizens, already used to doing menial jobs in some European countries that the local workforce will no longer touch, would suddenly gain full rights.
Thankfully the posters did not do the trick, and I would like to think that this demonstrated once again that the Irish are not as open to political racism as some might have feared. But all this shows nevertheless that Europe needs to be more explicit in saying that it does not define itself in line with a neo-aryan outlook, and that its main purpose is not to maintain a particular set of ethnic cultures and to keep out others. I for one hope that it will not be long before Turkey is a member state of the EU.Explore posts in the same categories: culture, politics comment below, or link to this permanent URL from your own site.