The Daily Express hit new levels of absurd hyperbole last Sunday with a claim that nearly a fifth of the population of Turkey would relocate to Britain if the country joined the EU.
Revealing the results of its ‘Exclusive poll’ in an article titled ’12 MILLION TURKS SAY THEY’LL COME TO THE UK ONCE EU DEAL IS SIGNED’, the paper did its best to try and stir up tensions ahead of next month’s EU referendum vote.
The revelation came from what the Express called ‘the most extensive survey of its kind’ – 2,600 adults interviewed across all 27 provinces of Turkey.
But in reality, the survey is a laughably vague one that most social researchers would dismiss as being of no real meaningful use.
The survey (available here) asked a single question – ‘If Turkey becomes a full member of the EU, and Britain remains in the EU, would you, or any member of your family, consider relocating to Britain?’
15.8% of respondents answered yes to this question and 84.2% answered no.
So that’s just less than 1 in 6 expressing an interest in moving to Britain in a snap survey. But there’s quite a big difference between saying you’d consider moving somewhere and actually relocating there with no guarantee of a job or a home.
There would likely be a similar result if the same amount of Brits were asked if they would ever consider relocating to Spain. Imagine how ludicrous it would then sound to claim that 10 million Brits were about to emigrate.
But on the basis of this one question, the Express claims that 12 million Turks are ‘planning to move to Britain when the country joins the EU’ as if they’re poised to buy their plane tickets.
No attempt was made by the paper to examine this answer with any follow up questions – how likely would they be to move? would they still move without an offer of a job or accommodation in place? is Britain their number one choice for relocation or would they prefer another country in Europe?
Presumably because the paper got the result it wanted. Whatever percentage had answered yes to that question (and 15.8% is reasonably low), the paper could have run with a similar ‘shock exclusive’ headline based on its ‘bombshell’ report. If 2% had said yes, it could still have run with a headline that 1 million were coming and the only way to stop it, of course, is to vote for Brexit.
Nevermind the fact that, despite reports in certain sections of the press, it seems unlikely that Turkey will become a member of the EU for at least another decade and any relaxing of visa restrictions will not apply to the UK, regardless of the result of the EU referendum.
But there are more sinister undertones to this report and other similar articles in the press that resemble some of the scaremongering reporting before Romania and Bulgaria joined the EU in 2014: the stereotyping of nations as desperate scroungers waiting for the first opportunity to flood into our country, take what they can and bring down the quality of life.
Britain is already home to around half a million Turkish citizens and there hasn’t been any evidence of them diminishing our quality of life or burdening the British taxpayer.
Yet the Express writes that Turkey’s membership of the EU would result in Britain being flooded with criminals that would ‘threaten the country’s security’. Another fear is that unemployed Turks would arrive in droves.
The paper is keen to remind readers that the country is ‘predominantly Muslim’ and that among those who would consider emigrating are ‘women who wear head coverings such as the burka’.
It was also mentioned that there are around 9 million privately registered firearms to Turkish citizens, next to this helpful image.
Which equates to around 11% of the Turkish population owning guns. Much less than the estimated 31% of US citizens that own guns, although there hasn’t been too much evidence of the Express worrying about American immigrants making Britain less safe.
Lies, scaremongering, racial stereotyping… it seems that anything goes in the big EU scrum. Things are likely to get even nastier yet.
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