The Guardian fails the test

an open letter to The Guardian newspaper

The Guardian is guilty of applying double standards and of lying by omission.

Your leader "Turkey meets the tests" (7 October 2004) continued your editorial policy of supporting Turkey's entry into the EU. There could hardly be a greater contrast with your Leader on 24 March 2001 "Why tolerate Haider?" subtitled "It is time to usher the Freedom party out"

The Guardian, along with the bulk of Europe's political elite, accused Haider of being unfit to take part in Austria's coalition government and applied pressure for him to be excluded. What exactly had Haider done to make himself such a pariah? According to your editorial he was guilty of 'whinging on about over-foreignerisation and "Muslims in the park, cooking lamb"'. Haider's verbal insults toward minorities, while despicable, pale into insignificance beside the crimes which all of Turkey's politicians have supported.

The Nazis murdered 6 million Jews and half a million Romany. Haider has never denied this. The Young Turks murdered 1.5 million Armenians and numerous other Anatolian Christians. Their policies were continued by Ataturk when he came to power. All Turkey's politicians deny this genocide. The Nazi genocide ended 59 years ago & was separated from the Turkish genocide by a mere 16 year gap. There is no moral excuse for treating them differently.

After Armenians in Azerbaijan were massacred in 1988, Turkey supported the Azeris. To this day Turkey maintains a blockade of the poverty-stricken Armenian Republic. In recent years Turkey has continued to confiscate Armenian property. It has also forced all the surviving Armenian children in Turkey to write essays denying the genocide which was perpetrated against their people.

In 1974 Turkey invaded and ethnically cleansed of northern Cyprus of its majority (78%) Greek Cypriot population. In 1999 Turkey was formally adopted as a candidate for EU membership. The Prime Minister in 1999 was Bulent Ecevit, the same man who was Prime Minister in 1974!

No one has suggested that Haider would have plumbed the depths of barbarism which Turkish politicians inhabit. Yet he was excluded while they are welcomed with open arms.

Turkey may well meet the Copenhagen Criteria for entry into the EU. It would be surprising if it didn't, since those criteria were deliberately constructed so that Turkey could meet them. On 14 November 2000 Gunter Verheugen, the EU Commissioner in charge of Enlargement, spoke in a debate on Turkey's membership application. He admitted that if Turkey's admission "should depend upon resolving the Cyprus question, the project will again founder. We changed precisely this last year with the backing of a large majority in the European Parliament." The Copenhagen Criteria intentionally exclude any consideration of Turkey's record of genocide and ethnic cleansing. Just like The Guardian.