A European commissioner set off a furious row yesterday after warning that Europe's Christian civilisation risked being overrun by Islam.
Fritz Bolkestein, the single market commissioner and a former leader of the Dutch liberals, said the European Union would "implode" in its current form if 70 million Turkish Muslims were allowed to join.
He predicted that Turkish accession would overwhelm the fragile system and finish off any lingering dreams of a fully-integrated European superstate.
In a speech at Leiden University, he compared the EU to the late Austrian-Hungarian empire, which took so many different peoples on board in such a haphazard fashion that it eventually became ungovernable.
Calling demography the "mother of politics", he said that while America had the youth and dynamism to remain the world's only superpower, and China was the rising economic power, Europe's destiny was to be "Islamised".
In comments designed to provoke fury in Ankara, he quoted the British author Bernard Lewis warning that Europe would become an extension of North Africa and the Middle East by the end of the century.
Read the entire article on the Telgraph website.