Turkey’s increasingly militant Islamic influence should prompt the European Union to reject its efforts to join the organization out of hand, according to Jonathan Racho, an analyst with International Christian Concern.
Racho says, bluntly, admitting Turkey would present a danger to other EU nations, because the jihad move there could transfer freely to other nations.
“There’s been an increasing Islamization of Europe through immigration of Muslims from Muslim nations. If Turkey joins, then the EU rules would allow the free movement of Turkey’s Islamists throughout Europe,” Racho said. “This possibility is a clear reason for Europe to deny Turkey’s admission into the EU.”
Europe is concerned about the increasingly militant Islamic influence in Turkey because of the EU’s looser immigration rules.
“If Turkey joins the European Union, the looser immigration rules would mean freer movement of Turks into Europe. This means that the militant Islamists in Turkey could also move around more freely and assist radical Muslims all over the continent,” Racho explained.
A recent Turkish opinion poll says more than half of the people oppose any non-Muslim religious activity.
Concern also comes from news that three Muslim men broke into the Meryam Ana Syriac Orthodox Church in the eastern Turkish city of Diyarbakir and threatened to kill the priest if he didn’t tear down the bell tower.
The three men say their move is in retaliation for the recent Swiss vote banning construction of minarets on mosques in the country.
The American Enterprise Institute’s Michael Rubin said the Turkish minaret threat is not a surprise.
“It is increasingly less safe to be a Christian in Turkey than in countries like Iran and even Saudi Arabia. This is especially true in Turkey where priests get killed,” Rubin observed.
But the Middle East Institute’s Gonul Tol said the bell-tower protest is symbolic.
“As a Muslim country applying for membership in the EU that has often been criticized by EU for failing to guarantee religious freedoms/rights of minorities, Turkey is quite sensitive to developments in Europe,” Tol said.
Tol believes the protest is an emotional response.
“It is a popular reaction given the developments that are taking place in Europe in regards to Muslims,” Tol said. “Turkey has a long history of peaceful coexistence. It is a fact that religiosity is on the increase everywhere, including Turkey. Turkey’s long EU process and the frustration that has accompanied the process has been one of the factors that has shaped Turkish foreign and domestic policy and public opinion.”
Racho, however, said Turkey is drifting away from its original goal of religious tolerance.
“When the modern state of Turkey was founded by Ataturk, it was supposed to be a secular state. There seems to be a move away from the original vision of the founders. So, if the trend continues, then the Turks might not be able to get into the union,” Racho observed.
The issue is a double-edged sword, because Turkey’s admission to the EU as a secular state could benefit the country’s Christian minority.
“If Turkey becomes a member of the European Union, then the Islamist element would have its power diminished because when a nation becomes a part of the European Union, they give up a part of their sovereignty. This means their policies and institutions have to conform to the EU standards. This would mitigate the Islamist extremism,” Racho explained.
“Again, if Turkey cannot control its increasingly anti-Christian activity, the EU may not want to admit Turkey as a member state,” he said.
Turkey also was the site about two years ago of the martyrdom of three Christians who were meeting with Turks at a publishing house for a Bible study. The Christians were slashed and stabbed to death, and the court cases over the attack continue.