This article was first published on Huffington Post.
“Misleading” and “absolutely wrong” is how the Prime Minister describes ‘Leave’ campaigners who suggest Turkey could join the European Union. Unfortunately for him, it’s Mr Cameron who has in fact been “misleading” and “absolutely wrong” – and we have the evidence to prove it.
The PM is correct to say the UK has a veto over Turkey joining the EU, but what does a veto mean if the Government is unwilling to use it? Absolutely nothing. It is quite clear the UK would not use its veto over Turkish membership when push comes to shove; this is because the Prime Minister, the Government and the Civil Service support Turkey joining the EU.
At this point it is necessary to point out exactly what David Cameron said in 2010. He gave a speech to the Turkish Parliament in which he said “I’m here to make the case for Turkey’s membership of the EU.” However, when queried on his position this year by the House of Commons Liaison Committee, he claimed: “I’ll be absolutely frank with you: I don’t think the accession of Turkey to the European Union is remotely on the cards. I don’t think that will happen for decades.” He hardened his position later in the campaign by arguing Turkey would not join the EU before “year 3000”. (This is hard to imagine because according to Busted we’ll all be living under water by then)
It is perfectly acceptable for the Prime Minister to change his mind over Turkey, but it is clear Cameron has not changed his view at all. This becomes all too apparent when you look at official Government policy.
On the Government’s own website (gov.uk), under the section relating to the British Embassy in Turkey, it states the following: “We work on a wide range of issues including Turkey’s bid to join the European Union……We have a dedicated team working on projects to improve Turkey’s prospects of joining the EU.” So, the Government’s policy is abundantly clear – it wants Turkey to join the EU, and is actively assisting Turkey in its efforts. This isn’t merely giving them a helping hand; the Government has a team of civil servants to fulfil the Government’s objective of an EU which includes Turkey!
One of the programmes the Government runs in relation to Turkey is the ‘Reuniting Europe Programme’. According to its website: “the overall aim of the programme is to support countries in the Western Balkans and Turkey on their path towards EU accession”.
Not only is the UK aggressively campaigning for Turkey to join the EU (and Cameron is trying to mislead us), so is the EU itself. It’s giving Turkey enormous sums of money, with a large proportion of this money coming from British taxpayers! In addition to the money the UK is giving to Turkey via the EU, the UK is funding additional programmes in Turkey worth between £1 million and £1.5 million per year.
EU programmes in Turkey are funded through the ‘Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance’. Turkey will have received €9.249 billion through this programme by 2020. To put this figure in perspective, the UK only spends £2 billion every year on legal aid, which ensures people are not convicted of crimes they did not commit.
Some may say this is money well spent, but let us just look at the detail. This money pays for projects in Turkey including ‘reducing noise levels in cities’ – if only we had such a luxury in the UK! It also ‘assists the milk production sector’ at a time when UK dairy farmers are on the breadline – along with a huge number of other Turkish farming subsidies for poultry, red meat, fruit and vegetables. Our farmers are being sacrificed while at the same time Turkish farmers are having a party.
The UK veto over Turkey joining the EU is non-existent, as the UK Government will never use it, in reality the UK is the biggest cheerleader for Turkey to join. Some say Turkey must satisfy conditions before it can join, but this was a requirement for Croatia to join. Croatia didn’t meet these standards but were allowed in anyway, because the rules are not important to the EU, all they care about is power and the larger their superstate the better. If you don’t want a country with an awful human rights record to exert political influence over the laws of this country, then you must vote to Get Britain Out.