The increasingly influential Russia Today media website is reporting the potentially explosive remarks of the Turkish President Abdullah Gul concerning immigration and multiculturalism in Europe at a recent meeting in Russia.
Turkey hopes to eventually join the European Union in the future and the words of the Turkish President should be seen in that political context. The Turkish application to join the European Union is a matter of great controversy across Europe and is opposed by nationalists and even some conservative leaders because of the religious and cultural implications of such a move.
He said that “Europe will have to put up with the arrival of more immigrants and accept diversity” and should not abandon multiculturalism.
The Turkish leader noted that “increasing ethnic, cultural and religious tensions can result in tensions and divisions in society,” but it is the state that must control these pressures, he added.
After decades as a secular state, political Islam is increasingly powerful in Turkish society which is now reflected in the political system. As a result of this worrying development, a new constitution is planned by Turkish politicians in order to reflect this growth of an increasingly strident Islam. Turkey also funds many new mosques across Western Europe.
In a controversial intervention into wider European politics, President Gul also said: “I am sorry to say that whenever we have expressed our concerns with regards to right-leaning movements to our counterparts in the past, we observed that they turned a blind eye to the matter due to domestic political reasons.”
He further added: “This is also because it requires greater effort to treat and overcome recurring ailments such as racism and xenophobia in the West than address the problems in the East, which are mostly due to underdevelopment.”
The Turkish President failed to explain how the sudden influx of mainly Muslim immigrants would solve the tensions he highlighted across Western Europe.
Read the full story in Russia Today