by Luke Lythgoe
Vote Leave’s confusion seems to arise from blending a number of different Turkey-related arguments. This started with a UKIP warning that Ankara would fully join the EU in 2020 and that Turks, free to travel inside the bloc, would then pour into Britain en masse to take advantage of our high wages. The crux of this scaremongering focused on Turkey’s large population, backsliding human rights and predominantly Muslim culture.
But this notion of fast-approaching Turkish membership is delusional. Turkey first applied to the EU in 1987 and has since closed just one of 35 accession “chapters” crammed with criteria which it must meet before it can join – including on human rights. Turkish membership can also be vetoed by any member state, with France and Austria having voiced strong opposition. No wonder David Cameron said it could take decades for Turkey to join. Even if it were to do so, the EU is proposing many years of transitional controls on migration from any new member.
A lot of Brexiters seem to have difficulty understanding the difference between free movement of labour and visa-free travel.