Finally, something the PM and I agree on. I especially like the comparison regarding French intransigence regarding the UK’s membership in the 1960s and their same position today regarding Turkey — though it’s likely that their position vis-à-vis Turkey is more racially motivated than that regarding the UK, which had more to do about entrenching French “power”.
The logic of Turkish membership has always seemed clear to me. Political scientists who study the EU have long held on to theoretical notions of how potential EU membership prods a country to adopt progressively more democratic features, and once membership has been secured democratic norms and institutions become entrenched. Turkey has come a long way on the former with the explicit goal to satisfy Brussels; the only point I see blocking formal accession talks is Cyprus. Furthermore, the benefits of Europe in institutionally embracing a Muslim nation are plain (even if this means a watershed moment in legitimizing cults everywhere, especially in Tennessee).
I’d be surprised if this were a popular position back on the (British) island. Indeed, the poll in the Daily Mail, which otherwise did an atypically even-handed job with this story, runs 80% against. While it’s a self-selecting population of self-selected Daily Mail readers, rendering the results theoretically a hair short of reliable, that 80% of British citizens are opposed to Turkey’s membership doesn’t seem too wide of the mark.
The PM risks more than alienating several EU partners, but also his own party:
Mr Cameron’s words put him at odds with France, Germany and Tory Right-wingers who believe Turkey may be incompatible with the EU.
Though it must be said that those same Tory right-wingers also believe the United Kingdom to be incompatible with the EU.