Prime Minister David Cameron put his head above the parapet today in talking about Turkey’s right to take a place around the tables of top summits in Europe. Focusing on the opposition to Turkey’s EU membership, primarily from France and Germany, Mr Cameron said:
“When I think about what Turkey has done to defend Europe as a Nato ally, and what Turkey is doing today in Afghanistan, alongside our European allies, it makes me angry that your progress towards EU membership can be frustrated in the way it has been.”
He then went on to speak about Turkey’s role in NATO adding,
“My view is clear. I believe it is just wrong to say that Turkey can guard the camp, but not be allowed to sit in the tent. So I will remain your strongest possible advocate for EU membership and greater influence at the top table of European diplomacy.”
Addressing the rising tide of Islamophobia sweeping across Europe, Cameron sought to reinforce British credentials as a great progressive liberal country.
Mr. Cameron said those who opposed Turkeys EU membership were driven by protectionism, narrow nationalism or prejudice.
“Those who wilfully misunderstand Islam, they see no difference between real Islam and the distorted version of the extremists. They think the problem is Islam itself. And they think the values of Islam can just never be compatible with the values of other religions, societies or cultures.”
“All of these arguments are just plain wrong. And as a new government in Britain, I want us to be at the forefront of an international effort to defeat them.”
Turkey is a key to European economic success and continued security. In addition their role in developing relations with Syria, Iran and expanding trade relations with Brazil, China and India will mean that Turkey’s influence is set to grow. Alongside this, so will the pressure on France and Germany who share Britain’s obsession with race, faith and immigration.
As this new Government seeks to win friend and curry favour across the globe the reality of Britain’s economic dependency on new and emerging markets will fundamentally reshape attitudes and require a further reframe of British former colonial attitudes.