f_0020461_17223 - C DA So Europe Ends at the Bosporus?...

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C DA There is one largely unheralded, and outside its own frontiers probably little mourned, casualty of the European crisis of confi- dence—Turkey.In its decades-long aspira- tion to become a member of the European community, this nation on the fringes of the continent’s southeastern frontier has played the part of the poor little orphan boy, nose pressed firmly against the glass shop win- dow filled with sweets. Somehow, Turkey, despite its most valiant efforts, has never managed to find a way inside. This may no longer matter. Turkey ap- pears to have all but given up on its aspira- tions and is finally prepared to cast its lot with the Middle East—neighboring nations it’s traded with, even ruled, for centuries. If there was any more persuasive evidence of this new reality, it was Turkey’s sudden and dramatic confrontation over the Gaza block- ade with Israel, whose own fate is so closely bound to Europe and America. The central question facing the Euro- pean Union as it stares down the barrel of potential fiscal collapse isn’t which nation will fail next, but which nations should not have been invited in the first place. Growth in both Portugal and Spain has stagnated, and their debt is nearing junk level. Greece’s growth rate shrank by 0.8 percent, and the growth rates in Spain (1 percent), Portugal (0.08 percent), Germany (0.2 percent) and France (0.1 percent) have been anemic. Yet Turkey’sGDP is growing at 2.3 percent. While there are still “candidate mem- bers” of the EU, who now seem quite likely to remain in that status for the indefinite future, none outranks Turkey in the metrics that should make its membership so com- pelling. Indeed, there is a certain irony that Greece, rather than Turkey, was invited into the club that it has now threatened to bring down. The two nearly came to blows repeat- edly over the divided island nation of Cyprus—now a member of the very union that Turkey has been so desperate to join. The case of Turkeyis compelling because it reflects a larger theme. What makes a bloc like the European Union thrive, or even function effectively? And is the organization of the world by blocs the future, or merely a brief historical hiccup that is now on the verge of unraveling, perhaps catastrophically? Istanbul or Constantinople When I landed in Istanbul for the first time, more than 30 years ago, it was quite clear that I was not in Europe anymore. Minarets and domed mosques dominated the skyline. Despite all warnings, I got lost in the Great Bazaar, the Kapali Çarsi or Covered Market—a sprawling warren of tiny alleys and more than 4,000 stalls So Europe Ends at the Bosporus? So Europe Ends at the Bosporus? 91
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packed with the mysteries of the East, from centuries-old Korans and intricately-woven carpets to huge sacks of exotic spices, glazed tiles and pottery, copper and brassware, leather, cotton and wool clothing, carved meerschaum pipes and alabaster bookends. When the Sublime Porte of the Ottoman
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f_0020461_17223 - C DA So Europe Ends at the Bosporus?...

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