Zaman, Turkey
Oct 2 2005

Arab Media: 'Rejection of Turkey Shows Crusader Logic Still

By Ali Ihsan Aydin

The Arab media is also discussing whether or not Turkey will start
membership negotiations with the European Union (EU).

Algeria's La Tribune newspaper editor-in-chief Abdelkerim Ghezali
told Zaman that EU's rejection of Turkey, although it has fulfilled
all the criteria, will definitely show that Europe still has not
overcome its `Crusader and Medieval' logic. Ghezali noted EU's
starting negotiations with a Muslim country even though it would last
for a very long period, was very significant for the Muslim world.
Algerian journalist, claiming the main reason behind problematic
attitudes of some EU members, including France, against Turkey was
based on cultural and religious concerns, indicated it is a big
paradox that the disappearance of 'European humanism' comes to the
agenda when Turkey is the subject matter. Ghezali, asserting these
countries perceive Muslims as a' threat,' continued: `Based on what
grounds would they reject Turkey's membership if it has already
fulfilled all the criteria? Is it religion, race, or culture?
Prevention of Turkey will show that the EU can not overcome the clash
of civilizations phobia and Crusader logic yet. Moreover, concerns
regarding racism will increase.' Ghezali, reminding Turkey is a big
power in the region, maintained Turks should also trust themselves.

Tunisian weekly magazine Tunis Hebdo's editor-in-chief Tahar Selmi
said Turkey's start of membership negotiations with the EU will be a
mediating factor between Europe and Islam. Selmi stressed that the EU
has always behaved hesitantly towards the 70-million populated
Turkey, 99 percent of which is Muslim, and this mostly stemmed from
religious motives. Selmi, indicating former French President Valery
Giscard d'Estaing had openly described the EU as a `Christian Club,'
argued that denial of Turkey would prove this hypothesis.

Egypt's Al Watan Al Arabiya newspaper editor-in-chief Ahmed Vecdi
commented on the issue as: `Europe raises several problems in order
to not accept Turkey to the membership. The latest EP decision on the
Armenian issue is one of them. Turkey's place is absolutely Europe.
Turkey will be the interception point of different civilizations. If
Europe accepts Turkey, it will show that it is not solely a Christian
entity. If Turkey integrates with the EU, it will both become the
most powerful country of the Islamic world and introduce the Islamic
culture to Europe.'