Turkey’s exclusion would signal an unwillingness to come to terms with the realities of the southern hinterland. And, as the Turkish Prime Minister said, Turkey’s achieving membership in the EU “will demonstrate to the world at large that a civilizational fault-line exists not among religions or cultures but between democracy, modernity, and reformism on the one side and totalitarianism, radicalism, and lethargy on the other” (Erdogan 2005, 83). Admirable sentiments, but only if one forgets a number of realities. The wearing of hija–b has become a common act in Turkey, overtly demonstrating the rejection of Turkey’s European destiny (even Erdogan’s wife, Emine, would not appear in public without it and hence cannot, thanks to Atatürk’s separation of Islam from the state power, take part in official functions in Ankara or Istanbul). The Turkish police and courts habitually persecute writers and intellectuals who raise the taboo topic of Armenian genocide and question the unassailability of “Turkishness.” The Kurds, some 15% of Turkey’s population, are still second-class citizens. So much for “democracy, modernity, and reformism.”

And how could one posit a rapid cultural harmonization (integration would be the wrong word here) of what would be EU’s largest nation with the rest of the Union when Turkish immigrants have remained segregated within Islamic islands in all of Europe’s major cities? Perhaps the only quality that might endear the Turkish public to Europeans is the fact that the former’s share of very or somewhat favorable opinion of the United States is even lower (<20%) than in Pakistan (Pew Research Center 2006). Europe’s anti-U.S. elites would thus have a multitude of new allies. But if the EU admits Turkey, why not then the neighboring ancient Christian kingdoms of Georgia and Armenia? And if the EU, as Erdogan says, is not a Christian club, why not admit Iraq, one of the three largest successor states of the Ottoman Empire, ancient Mesopotamia, a province of the Imperium Romanum? And, to codify the inevitable, why not make the EU’s southern borders coincidental with those of the Roman Empire? Why not embrace all the countries of the Arab maghrib and mashriq, that is, North Africa from the Atlantic Morocco (Roman Mauretania Tingitana) to the easternmost Libya 102 Chapter 3 (Cyrenaica), and the Middle East from Egypt (Aegyptus) to Iraq? Their populations will be providing tens of millions of new immigrants in any case. No matter how far the EU expands, what lies ahead is highly uncertain except for one obvious conclusion. An entity so preoccupied with its own makeup, so unclear about its eventual mission, and so imperiled in terms of its population foundations cannot be a candidate for global leadership. But it already is the planet’s foremost destination of tens of millions of tourists. And many more are poised to come. When one sees the endless procession of travelers in today’s Rome, Prague, Paris, or Madrid, one can imagine a not-too-distant future (2020?) when the intensity of Chinese Europe-bound travel will surpass today’s U.S. rate (12.5 million visitors in 2005), and Europe will see every year more than 20 million Chinese tourists. This is perhaps the likeliest prospect: Europe as the museum of the world.