Turkey and the Future of Europe

As an EU member, Turkey would add a new dimension of massive historic importance. And Europeans would show that we could embrace an Islamic democracy and build a strong bridge between Europe and Western Asia.

LONDONThis is my last column for a while. I am off to become Chairman of the BBC Trust – the strategic authority of one of the greatest broadcasting organizations in the world. So I have to take a Sicilian vow of omerta on controversial issues for the term of my chairmanship. That makes for boring commentary: better to put down my pen.

It’s in my hand on this occasion as I look out over the Bosphorus on a glittering March morning. Yesterday, there were flurries of snow in Istanbul. But today the sun glints across the water to the Asian coastline of the city; the seagulls bank in the breeze; a great liner sails majestically north towards the Black Sea. It’s a “good-to-be-alive” sort of day.

But I always feel like that in Istanbul, a great city where so much world history has been forged. And it’s the city where Europe’s future may be shaped – Istanbul, not Brussels, Paris, or Berlin. Let me explain.

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