Gideon Rachman made a compelling case this week for Turkey’s admission to the European Union, if also with one key qualifier: no freedom of movement for workers and immigrants. There are simply too many Turks who would love to move west and, no matter how much reasonable people may dislike the backlash, that kind of influx would create strains from Narvik to Naples. As Mr Rachman puts it: “Mass migration, particularly from Muslim countries such as Turkey, is unpopular enough to transform domestic politics in some western European countries.”
Rationing the flow might reduce the resentment and the political profits of rightwing populism. But there is another issue, the geopolitics, that is usually obscured by invoking Turkey as a “bridge” between west and east. With Turkey in, the EU would harbour a country that will soon exceed all the other members in size of population while abutting on the Middle East, the world’s most dangerous place.