Bring Turkey into the European Union

The day before the Turkish election on June 7, I posted a link to the Economist’s editorial “Why Turks Should Vote Kurd: It Is the Best Way of Stopping Their Country’s Drift Towards Autocracy,” with the note

True democracy can be lost. Turks need to protect theirs.

So it was good news indeed when Turks voted resoundingly to stop Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s hopes to create a powerful presidency for himself. 

I find myself again in full agreement with the Economist in its June 13th editorial “Sultan at Bay,” in which the editorial staff wrote:

The European Union, too, should do more. It was partly because Turkey’s membership talks, begun in 2005, seemed to go nowhere that Mr Erdogan drifted towards autocracy. Now that Turks have so thrillingly demonstrated their democratic credentials, the EU should revive the negotiations. There is also new hope that the age-old Cyprus problem might be solved (see article). Turkey matters hugely for the future of Europe. Resurrecting its aspirations for EU membership would be a fine reward for its admirable voters.

As I preached in my sermon the day of the Turkish election, “The Message of Jesus for Non-Supernaturalists,” including others in things that are working relatively well is one of the most powerful ways of making the world a better place. The European Union is far from perfect, but in a global context it counts as something that is working relatively well.   

Extending the blessings of the European Union into the Middle East seems especially valuable in trying to foster stability in this volatile area of the world. It is a bit optimistic, but it is not too much to hope that from now on, electoral competition in Turkey will make the Turkish government more pro-Kurd, which could be especially valuable in shifting the balance in the Middle East in a favorable direction.