Cyprus Mail
CM Regular ColumnistOpinion

Why all the fuss about visa-free Turks?

By Hermes Solomon

Let’s all welcome Turkey into the European Union with open arms. Why play games with numbers? There are 79 million of them and what’s another 79 million added to the already 500 million EU citizens – 17 per cent only. Hardly catastrophic overcrowding even if they are Muslims.

And they won’t all be arriving on the same day at the same time, spread out evenly among EU states and permitted to steal jobs, homes, wives and school places. They will be three month tourists and little else, until Turkey is accepted as a full member of the EU.

There are those of us that believe Turkey has already joined the EU via the back door. But Turks have rarely been refused visitors’ visas in the past, so what’s all the fuss about? Travelling visa free will encourage businesses to exchange contracts faster – lighten the load of bureaucracy, facilitate open door policy making and broaden aspects of globalisation.

Turkey can thank Europe for their economic miracle of the past 15 years. Many EU corporations have already set up offices in Turkey, production and export units, revitalising the Turkish economy at the expense of jobs back home. This was done in preparation for Turkish entry into the Union and not for increased shareholder profits alone. What do you think the US 1950s Marshall Plan was all about if not to stop Europe turning permanently East after the Second World War?

Many board members of major Turkish companies are western European, honorary members and some of them receiving fat fees and bribes for services rendered. But Turkish industry and politics are no more corrupt than anywhere else.

Brussels is the mechanism that must find the right wording to make free movement of Turkish citizens acceptable to the majority of EU citizens. Thus far there are only several of the 72 provisos still awaiting satisfaction ‘we are told’. And when and if they are satisfied, Turkey will be accepted as the next and most important future member of the union, negotiating permanent membership.

Is that such a bad thing or are we going to play the racist card perpetually – Muslims outnumbering Christians unacceptable to bigots – or should I say, those fearful of losing their jobs to cheaper Turkish labour, which frankly has already happened. So what’s all the fuss about?

Of course, there is still the problem of Turkey clamping down on the freedom of the press, mercilessly bombing the Kurds, financing IS against that dictator Assad, refusing to recognise the Republic of Cyprus, displaying uncivilised fisticuffs in an undemocratic parliament, and last but not least, the president falling out with, and replacing, the prime minister. Which EU state can tote similar statistics?

But seriously though, do any of the above have anything at all to do with rehousing suffering Syrians held in refugee camps on the Turkish-Syrian border – trickling back from the Aegean islands in their hundreds, not thousands, to be held by Turkish authorities until it pleases His Majesty, Tayyip to set them free?

If you ask me, I’d say Brussels and Tayyip exploited the refugee crisis as an excuse for Turkish back door entry. Europe needs Turkey more than Turkey needs Europe. And bringing forward Turkish EU membership by means fair or foul is what this present media hullabaloo is all about.

But Brussels keeps moving the goalposts – so much so this past month that the goalposts are no longer on the pitch. Nobody seems to know what’s what – where are the goalposts? One day Brussels says one thing, and the next day another. Will he who really knows please stand up and tell us all what the hell is going on?

Who really gives two hoots about whether immigrants are Syrian, Turkish, Afghan, Somali or whatever? Immigrant workers are needed as cheap labour and little else. Someone to slice and serve the donner kebab, someone to clean the streets, public lavs and drive the buses, care for the infirm elderly, wash our kids’ backsides, etc. What we Europeans are really afraid of is that we’ll have to do those menial tasks ourselves once immigrants stop coming.

First generation immigrants have always been used thus so that their children can become doctors and lawyers, teachers and factory managers. What we’re really afraid of is that the poor, innocent and determined second generation immigrant will replace the lazy, state aided us and we will have to wipe our own backsides by 2030.

London is the most cosmopolitan city in the world. London survives on immigrant labour. Without it, London would implode.

Brussels, and more particularly, Berlin, know this.

Stop hiding Turkish visa free travel behind Europe’s insatiable desire for growth, and little else! Without growth, modern economies collapse, and when they do, it’s the naïve bigots who will end up wiping their own backsides.

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