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Two Banks of Europe Unable to Come Together

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Cem Senturk.

Cem Şentürk - This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
The votes of France and Holland against the European Constitution showed how far the European Union is from its goal of being united in a similar manner as the United States of America, and the controversy over Eastern expansion in 2005 and 2007 has inflamed the arguments. The communication problems and the attitude of the European Union, which is composed of 27 countries and has 23 official languages, are issues frequently made the topic of humor.
Recently published are the results of an investigation that casts light on the frequently mentioned differences in economical levels and standards of life, as well as the socio-cultural gap between the East and the West, the two different worlds of the old continent that have existed in the same geography for centuries.

Recent surveys published under the title of  “Intercultural Dialogue“ associated with the ”Eurobarometer“, a series of surveys carried out to monitor public opinion in the Eurpoean Union, reveal the differences between the nations that are candidates for membership and the discrepancies expected in living under the same roof with them.     

In surveys carried out throughout the 27 member countries of the European Union, members were asked if they had made personal or visual contact within the previous week with persons from different ethnic origins and religions or with anyone from other member or non-member countries.

In 15 different countries of the European Union, the highest ratio of people involved in social dialogue with persons from different ethnic origins was in the United Kingdom (64%) and Ireland (64%), with lowest ratios being in Portugal (36%), Finland (40%) and Italy (44%) . As for contact with persons of different religious affiliations, the United Kingdom (63%) was number one and Austria (58%) number two. The lowest ratios for contact with people of different religions were found in the Northern Mediterranean countries of Greece (24%), Portugal (28%), Italy (35%) and Spain (36%).       

Intercultural dialogue seems to be at the lowest level in the 12 countries that joined the European Union after the expansion of the European Union to Eastern countries. In these countries, which exhibit a more introverted attitude, the ratios of people who have been in contact with people of other countries with different religious affiliations and ethnic origins were found to be 22-30%, with the lowest ratio being in Poland (22%). On the other hand, in Lithuania contact with people of other ethnic origins is close to values in the Western European countries (56%). A similar picture is obtained with respect to contact with people of different religious affiliations, with the highest ratio being observed in Slovakia (44%), while the lowest percentages of dialogue with people of other religious affiliations is found in Estonia (19%) and Latvia (23%). Those who oppose Turkey’s membership in the European Union based on religious and cultural differences should once more evaluate these results carefully.

If this survey were made in Turkey what would the result be? Naturally, this is a difficult question to answer. The Turkish people who have been living more or less in tune with different cultures for many centuries would be expected to converse easily with people of other nationalities. The enormous difficulties faced in getting a visa serve to isolate Turkish people, who have tended to follow Europe’s example since the beginning of the Republic, from the West. The elimination of visa barriers that hinder international exchange of ideas should be a priority for Turkish foreign affairs. Turkey should be given scope for its activities and should be given the same advantages as those of the member countries.   
Last modified onSaturday, 06 May 2017 10:07