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26 July 2010updated 27 Sep 2015 2:16am

Cameron is right to talk up Turkey’s EU membership

The Tory right, and some in Labour, are getting Turkey’s human rights record the wrong way around.

By James Macintyre

David Cameron is currently in Turkey, encouraging trade links, amid speculation that the Prime Minister is in favour of Turkish membership of the European Union.

The very idea is being described as risking “fury on the Tory right”, with the Conservative MEP Roger Helmer insisting: “British voters won’t stand for Turkish membership — nor will other EU states.”

The argument is that the largely Islamic nation retains a poor and backward record on human rights. But this fails to take into account the revolutionary secularist movement that is struggling its way across Turkey, and the fact that only by entering the EU will Turkey be forced to instigate real reform.

And that is more important than retaining the “Christian” and white dominance of the EU, which remains the real motive of some who oppose Turkish membership.

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