Right wing headlines about Turkish immigration look suspiciously like right wing headlines about Romanian immigration

Narjas Zatat@Narjas_Zatat
Monday 23 May 2016 13:50
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With the EU referendum a month away, the hottest subject on the table at the moment is Turkey's possible ascension as an EU member state.

Vote Leave politicians have been delivering dire warnings about the impending referendum, and the tide of Turkish immigrants who could 'descend', like hungry vultures, on Britain.

Recent Vote Leave campaign poster, endorsed by Mordaunt

Conservative armed forces minister, Penny Mordaunt, has said that imminent Turkish membership will mean £400 million more in maternity services in 10 years because of high Turkish birth rates, as well as an increase in crime.

On Sunday Nigel Farage wrote in the Express:

Open borders with Turkey would be a total disaster for our country. With a population of 80 million, it would mean even more uncontrolled migration into the UK and, as the survey showed, would include a huge flow of unemployed people into Britain.

But hang on a second. Haven't we heard this somewhere before?

The rhetoric is remarkably similar to what Ukip wrote about Romanian immigrants in 2012:

There will be an unprecedented crime wave in Britain if we do not stop Romanian and Bulgarian citizens having open door access to British borders... Britain will be unable to stop the tidal flood of new immigrants.

5,000 Romanians and Bulgarians will arrive each week, every week for several years.

Which is funny. Because when transitional controls were lifted for Romania and Bulgaria on 1st January 2014, Keith Vaz famously went to greet the incoming hordes at Luton airport, and found only one person had decided to emigrate that day.

What's more, Oxford University's Migration Observatory said that at the end of 2014 250,000 Romanians and Bulgarians were living and working in the UK - more than 80 per cent of whom arrived before the labour restrictions were lifted.

The growth has been remarkably steady over the last seven years, an academic paper found.

Back in the present, this Sunday Express headline claiming '12 million Turks say they'll come to the UK' is currently causing a fair bit of controversy:

12 million Turks to swoop into the UK, you say? How do you draw that conclusion from a poll of just 2,685 people?

That figure sounds familiar too...

Oh that's right. The Express said the same thing about EU immigration in 2013:

But the crucial thing about that 2013 headline?

That's a prediction by 2060 - ie a growth rate much slower than it is currently, since 80 per cent of the three million non-British EU citizens living in the UK arrived between 2006 - 2014.

Graph: Eurostat

If and when Turkey accedes to the EU, it's going to be fun debunking all the fearmongering then too. 💅

More: Ten other things Nigel Farage has tried to blame on immigration

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