Kevin Myers: For 250 years, Turkey's presence in Europe was invariably as an armed invader in Christian lands
President McAleese's strong endorsement of Turkey's membership of the EU is, presumably, government policy. But why? How is full Turkish membership of the EU in our interests, when the emigrants from both countries will be competing for jobs in mainland Europe?
Or is it simply an ideological issue, in which we faithfully follow the EU party-line as once good Communists adhered to the diktats from the Comintern?
The largely undiscussed reason to worry about Turkish membership of the EU is the most delicate: religion. But Turkey is eager to present itself as an agent of the Islamic world: they recently even proposed making an "Islamic car" (whatever that is) with Malaysia. When the Danish prime minister Lars Rasmussen was proposed as head of NATO, the Turkish PM, Racip Tayyip Erdogan, alleged that the Dane's handling of the Mohammed-cartoons issue had made him unpopular in the Muslim world. So Turkey is already acting as an Islamic emissary, and on an issue of free speech that goes to the very core of European secularism. For in our culture, we can call Jesus Christ a sodomite son-of-a-whore without legal consequence. But I would not even jokingly use such language about Mohammed for fear of Islamic death-squads.