Crescent and star vs. tricolor

Crescent and star vs. tricolor

“Politics has lost its ability to manage … Half of the country consists of the jobless or those who risk losing their jobs … Business is groaning under one of the world’s heaviest tax regimes … Everyone is seeking immigration … The judiciary is less trusted than even the mafia … The country is a wreck … The democratic regime is noisily cracking … Politics is in a quagmire of chaos, society is in pain … The compass-less country skids from one hell to another … A country lost. Pure tragedy...”

No, not Turkey. That was a portrayal, in a newspaper column, of Italy by one of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s most prominent cheerleaders who was telling the Turks how lucky they were to have a “stable government,” while poor Italians were condemned to Dante’s nine circles of Inferno.

Goebbels would have horribly envied the euphemism a la Turca. But facts are facts.

Italy’s per capita income is three times greater than Turkey’s; its GDP, about twice as great. But, of course, money is not everything. There are 23 Italian universities in the world’s top 500, and two Turkish. There are four times as many areas under environmental protection in Italy as there are in Turkey. Italy’s forested area as percentage of land area is 157 percent larger than in Turkey.

Infant mortality rate in Italy is 3 percent versus12 percent in Turkey and life expectancy is 13 percent longer (hey, dear Islamists; by the way, per capita alcohol consumption is 10 times more in Italy!).

There is no child labor in Italy, while children account for 3 percent of the labor market in Turkey. Italy has 88 percent more hospital beds per 1,000 people than Turkey; health spending per person is 10 times more than in Turkey; total health spending as percentage of GDP is 31 percent higher in Italy; while obesity in Turkey is 41 percent more than in Italy.

It may be a coincidence that Italy has 14 Nobel laureates, and Turkey has one. But Italians consume 3.5 times more oil, 2.1 times more electricity; have 78 percent less chance of dying in infancy and 48 percent more chance of being employed. In terms of total crimes, G-7 member Italy is the world’s 9th safest country, and G-20 member Turkey, the 32nd. Manslaughter, for instance, is five times more frequent in Turkey. Not good enough?

There are more decent indicators, too. According to the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report, Italy ranks 71st; while, in a list of 136 countries, Turkey ranks 120th. Turkey, according to Freedom House’s world map, falls into the yellow zone of “partly free” countries while Italy belongs to the green zone of “free” countries. And the World Press Freedom Index of Reporters Without Borders puts Italy’s world ranking at 49 vs. Turkey’s at 154th.

But there is one globally credible index that sums up all. The UNDP’s Human Development Report, a comparative measure of life expectancy, education, standards of living and quality of life, demonstrates whether a country is developed, developing or underdeveloped. On that index, Italy ranks 25th, and Turkey, 90th.

Needless to say, Italy is a member of the club Turkey has been striving to join over the last half a century. In fact, one may not need to recall any of these numbers to understand what is what. There is an increasing rate of legal and illegal immigration of Muslims into Christian Europe, including Italy, not to Muslim Turkey (except the Syrian force majeure).

The nearly 7 million Turks who live in “the wreck called Europe” are not doing so because they are masochists. Neither are younger Turks. An international survey showed last year that the most preferred destinations of the Turkish youth for higher education are, respectively, Britain and the United States; Germany; Canada; France and Italy; Spain; Australia and Switzerland; and Sweden.

These 10 overwhelmingly Christian countries account for 85 percent of Turkish students’ preferred destinations for university education.

Sadly, there is no research that reveals the percentage of desperate Italian youth dreaming of studying in glittering Turkey. But my guess, based on the thousands of column inches written by Goebbels’ Turkish reincarnations, would be that Italians may soon make up the second largest immigrant community in Turkey, after the Syrians.