Monday, November 14, 2005

Denmark: Majority against Turkey's EU membership

Majority against Turkey's EU membership

Most Danes are opposed to Turkey joining the EU, according to a study conducted by Rambøll Management for daily newspaper Jyllands-Posten. According to the poll, 55 percent of Danes are opposed to Turkey joining the EU. The results came as Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, joined NATO allies for a parliamentary gathering in Denmark on Monday. Among voters in parties to the right - the Conservative, Liberal, and Danish People's Parties - support is even more limited: 69 percent said they were opposed to Turkish membership. Age and income were also two factors that were connected to whether one supported Turkish membership. The study found the older one is and the higher one's income is, the less likely one is to support Turkish membership. Social Democrats were also opposed to Turkey joining the EU, with 54 percent of Social Democrats polled giving a thumbs-down. The Danish People's Party's MP and spokesman on EU issues, Morten Messerschmidt, said he was overjoyed about the results. 'It's wonderful that a majority of the population can see that Turkey doesn't belong in the European Union,' he said, adding that the Turkish government's reaction to Jyllands-Posten's decision to print a series of caricatures of Muslim prophet Mohammed seemed to have convinced many voters that Turkey did not belong in the EU.

Islam vs. Free Speech: The Case of Denmark

Suggested draft email:

I would hereby like to express my support for the newspaper Jyllands-Posten publishing cartoons of Islam’s prophet Muhammad. Freedom of speech is the lifeblood of a democratic society, and cannot be tampered with. Muslims in Denmark freely exercise this right, even to say things that people in Denmark find greatly offensive. A leading Danish mufti in 2004 said that Danish women not wearing the veil “were asking for rape.” Another imam wanted to import the sharia concept of blood money to Denmark, and pay the equivalent of 100 camels for a man’s life. If Muslims in Denmark think these are acceptable statements, they cannot by any right claim to be offended by a few simple drawings. At least not if they really mean that Islam is compatible with Western democracy. Jyllands-Posten should know that this case is being followed by individuals from all around the world, and that you have the support of thousands of people who don’t want to see their freedom slip away. Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen should also be commended for his clear and principled stand in this case, as Dutch ex-Muslim Ayaan Hirsi Ali points out. In an age where too many political leaders shy away from defending the basic values of our societies, it serves to Denmark’s credit to have a leader who still possesses a backbone.

I would also like to condemn the actions made by the ambassadors of several Muslims countries in this case, and those of Turkey in particular. The behavior of the Turkish government is incompatible with that of a nation with a desire to become a part of a Western community such as the EU. If Turkey thinks that the EU shouldn’t be a Christian club, than Turkey should respond in kind by withdrawing from all “Islamic clubs” such as the OIC. Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan has earlier stated that anti-Islamism should be viewed as a ”crime against humanity”, has pushed for criticism of Islam to be treated as racism within the EU and is now backing an effort to curtail the freedom of speech of the citizens of an EU nation. These actions are not those of a secular politician such as Ataturk, but more closely mirror the attitude of the Ottoman sultans of old. They indicate that a Turkey within the EU would threaten the freedom of European citizens, and clearly demonstrate that Turkey is not yet ready to become a part of the European community.

Suggested email addresses:

Newspaper Jyllands-Posten: ,

Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen:

Embassy of the Republic of Turkey, Copenhagen, Denmark:

Office of the Turkish President:

The Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC): ,


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