He told the newspaper that though he supported favourable trade deals for Turkey, he opposed Turkish membership of the EU. Why? His answer was as follows:
I'm against it because it means giving free movement to Europe for 70 million Turks. If Verheugen were to say yes to the entry of Turkey, but without emigration, then it would be a different situation. But I haven't heard that either from him or from the members of the European Parliament. Secretly though they're hoping for a change in the situation, so that the free movement doesn't need to be adhered to. They're just not saying it openly.
Helmut Schmidt was then asked why he was so much against the provision for free movement. He replied:
The living standard in Turkey is fundamentally lower not only in relation to Western Europe but also even to the new entrant countries. The European diplomats have been deceived because they only know Istanbul, Ismir or Ankara. But they don't know Turkey. And this enormous difference in living standard will lead to emigration. We know this from history.
Helmut Schmidt is being clear-sighted in making these observations. If Turkey joins the EU then there will be a mass immigration of Turks into European countries, especially into northern Europe. This will lead to a radical change in the demographic makeup of Europe. It's possible that countries like Holland will be propelled even more quickly toward an Islamic majority.
For evidence of this consider the following. The Melbourne Herald Sun reported this morning that, "A recent poll in Turkey revealed almost half of all Turks want to move to another EU country."
This poll result is made all the more credible when you consider what has happened to the small country town of Kulu, which is situated only 100km south of the Turkish capital of Ankara. Kulu has a population today of 34,800. Yet, 35,000 of its residents have already packed up and moved to Europe, many of them to Stockholm in Sweden, with Holland being another favoured destination.
In other words, even with some immigration restrictions in place more than half of the town's population has shifted to Europe. So if Turkey's population is already at 70 million (and growing rapidly) it's more than likely that many millions, perhaps tens of millions, of Turks will move to Europe when Turkey is finally admitted to the EU.
It will be very difficult for the smaller EU countries, like Sweden, Holland and Denmark to absorb such an immigration stream without very radical changes to their population makeup.
Meanwhile, another small northern European country, Norway, has been targeted for staying out of the EU. A propaganda campaign for the EU, aimed at children, features a "Captain Euro" who battles for a "Europe without borders" against the residents of a country closely resembling Norway, who are depicted as "evil dirty terrorists".
Finally, there is the question of why so many European leaders are said to privately oppose the free entry of Turks into Europe, but are unwilling to act on these private opinions. I think part of the explanation is that these politicians have committed themselves to a civic nationalism, rather than an ethnic one, and therefore find it difficult to intellectually justify their personal feelings on the issue.