Crossing the Straits of Bosphorus in 1970, after hitching through Europe, was an extraordinary experience for me.

Istanbul itself – though very exotic with the Blue Mosque and the city’s Muslim culture – still had a European feel. But once across the waters that separated Istanbul from the rest, and far larger part, of Turkey, I knew I was definitely in unknown territory. Dry, poor, undeveloped, primitive, this was Asia, not Europe. At no point in the vast territory of Asian Turkey did I have to wait for more than 2 minutes for a lift – the people were friendly and hospitable beyond measure. They were definitely not European! 32 years later the European Union at the Copenhagen summit has given Turkey a date for full membership negotiations and thereby given the message that Turkey’s membership will contribute significantly to EU’s becoming a global power.

A Touch of the Exotic

Yet instinctively the power brokers in Europe – like ex-President of France Giscard d’Estaing – have resisted holding out hope for Turkey’s membership. As d’Estaing said to French newspaper Le Monde: “Turkey’s capital is not in Europe, 95 percent of its population lives outside Europe, it is not a European country.” Underlining his opposition to Turkish membership of the EU, Giscard d’Estaing said that letting non-European countries join the 15-member club would be “the end of the European Union.” Perhaps this is why it is such a good idea. With the recent polarization of the world into camps of good and evil – reflecting it would seem the cataclysmic Saturn/Pluto opposition on the Moon’s nodes – the idea of integrating Christian and Muslim cultures into an economic union brings hope for the future. As it is, Europe has imported millions of cheap workers from Muslim cultures over the last 40 years, and has been transformed culturally as a result. The chasm of understanding between the West and the Middle East – played out at its most tragic by the Israel/Palestine conflict – can be bridged by this expansion of the EU. Perhaps in the not too distant future Lebanon, Israel and Palestine could also join?

The Birth of Modern Turkey

The Turkish Ottoman Empire at one time stretched from the Persian Gulf in the East to Algeria in the West, and from Central Europe to Yemen. After categorical defeat in the First World War, and a revolutionary upheaval against the Sultan, the Republic of Turkey was formed on October 29th, 1923 in Ankara. See horoscope for the Republic of Turkey With an accurately timed national chart such as this, it is possible to plot political developments in Turkey up to the present day and beyond. With the establishment of the Republic, under the guidance of Atatürk, Islam was removed as the state religion, women were enfranchised and democracy embraced. Atatürk remains a true hero in Turkey much like Gandhi is in India: his statue is everywhere and there are laws against defaming or insulting him.

Militant Democracy

Religious fundamentalism has always been very dominating, and throughout the 20th century – in 1960, 1970 and 1980, the military had to intervene to re-establish the democratic principles of the constitution. This was never a military government as for example in Pakistan, but rather an emergency balance, possible indicated by the presence of Mars in Libra in Turkey’s 4th house. The square from Mars to Pluto could easily indicate the raw power of the military – and perhaps the mutual reception between Mars and Venus shows how Mars, the army, can change role when justice and democracy needs to be re-established. Venus configuring strongly with a rather extreme Jupiter in Scorpio square Neptune shows the fundamentalist principles, particularly amongst women and in schools. Indeed 2002 has been marked by demonstrations amongst female students who – in the traditional Imam Hatip schools – insist on wearing headscarves, which are banned.

On the Fault Line

Turkey’s Ascendant and MC angles configure exactly with the Uranus/Pluto trine, marking this country as quite unique, and encapsulating a spirit of revolutionary upheaval and pioneering transformation which marked its birth as a republic. No surprise here that Turkey sits on the fault line between transcontinental plates, and is regularly ravaged by huge earthquakes, the most recent marking the infamous August 1999 eclipse.

(In Izmit on August 17th at 00:01:39 GMT. Location: 40.74N/29.86E. ) With Uranus itself astride the nodal axis, constant upheaval and change will affect the country. Perhaps the South Node in Pisces in the 9th shows it’s imperialistic and religious roots, whilst the North Node in Virgo in the 3rd shows its need to integrate with its neighbors in working partnerships.

European Union Enlargement

The December 2002 EU summit in Copenhagen was arguably the most significant event since the beginning of the Union in the fifties. The EU enlarged to include countries which little more than a decade earlier were completely subsumed by the Soviet Union and the Iron Curtain. Who could ever have imagined that? See horoscope for the EU enlargement Looking at the solar chart for that event, several factors are worth noting. The Uranus/Saturn trine is exact – a classic bridge-building aspect between the established and the new. The Mars/Venus conjunction in Scorpio indicates the strong (Mars) aligning with the weak and impoverished – Venus in Scorpio square Neptune. Mars can handle it, but there will be chaotic results. As Mars never reaches the exact conjunction with Venus, and Venus, gathering speed after retrograde motion, draws away from Mars, there seems to be an indication that the union is not consummated. A clear prediction here is that the actual approval by referendum in countries like Poland and the Czech Republic is not going to be as straightforward as some might imagine.

Perfect Timing

The Pluto/Jupiter trine shows a tour de force of the powers that be, and the magnificent trine between Jupiter and the Sun, which are in mutual reception, indicates some brilliant leadership by the current Danish leadership of the EU. It is indeed a great moment, capturing the beneficial effect of two major outer planet cycles: Saturn & Uranus, and Pluto & Jupiter. As the Saturn falls on Turkey’s chart ruler, the Moon, this was obviously a major moment for Turkey, who have been seeking consideration for 40 years. If Turkey fully meets the Copenhagen political criteria as the end of 2004, it will be permitted to start the accession negotiations with EU without any delay. The question then remains: Will Turkey join the EU, and when?

The Future – Revolutionary Change

Obviously Turkey will work hard to fulfil the EU criteria of in areas such as human rights, so negotiations are likely to start immediately as 2005 begins.

During 2003 Turkey will experience a Saturn transit over its Ascendant, with Uranus trining from Pisces. In recent elections a moderate islamist party came to power, and it is quite likely that Saturn over Turkey’s Cancer Ascendant will bring strong traditionalist tendencies. However, as Saturn is exalted in Libra and rules Turkey’s Descendant, it is also quite likely that strong efforts will be made to align the country with the democratic principles of its opposite number, Europe. The really significant time will come when transit Uranus conjoins Turkey’s MC in 2007 – and this will of course also be the period of the first Uranus return for the republic. This is an indication of a revolutionary change in government, which could accord with its internationalization into a transcontinental club. As if to confirm this Uranus-effect, Turkey’s progressed Descendant (using Naibod in RA) will conjoin Uranus simultaneously, with the progressed MC squaring Uranus a little later in 2010. This indicates revolutionary change for Turkey between 2007 and 2010.

The Coming Transformation

Looking more closely at transits for the period, it can be seen that transiting Pluto opposes Turkey’s ruling planet, the Moon, between January 2008 (first hit) and November 2008 (last hit). It’s an extraordinary Moon placement – in the last 5 minutes of arc of Gemini – virtually on the power point of 0 degrees Cancer. This in itself shows a country astride two cultures, playing a pivotal role in the world. There will obviously be upheaval with this Pluto transit, with the likelihood of an extreme polarization of the population. This combination of Pluto and Uranus influences resonates with Turkey’s prominent Uranus/Pluto trine, so some kind of transformation is on the agenda. It is incidentally very likely that significant earthquakes will take place at this time, and – if EU accession is not on the agenda – then some kind of other political upheaval will take place.

Polarized People

The key period is early 2008. Progressed Mars and progressed Venus have recently changed signs – into Sagittarius and Pisces respectively – and in mid-2007 Turkey’s progressed Sun moves into Aquarius… the fellowship of nations. By February 2002 there is a progressed Full Moon from 0 Leo to 0 Aquarius, and both are sesqui- and semisquare Uranus. As this coincides with the first Pluto transit opposing Turkey’s Moon, there is a picture of a dynamically transformed country, in which barriers are suddenly removed, and the shift of populations (Pluto/Moon) can take place. Interestingly, at exactly the same time transit Neptune opposes itself from the 9th house cusp, squaring Venus and Jupiter. For the Turks, the intimate contact with Europe will provoke its own – religious – traumas and unrest.

Traumatized Europe

Naturally, the addition of a predominantly Muslim country with 86 million people will have a profound effect on Europe.

The foundation of the EEC on at midnight on 31st December 1957 shows the MC at 29.29 Gemini – right on Turkey’s Moon. For the EU and all its Christian – and lapsed Christian – inhabitants, the arrival of Turkey will have an earth-shaking effect. My favorite chart for the EU was when it changed its name to the European Union at 0.00 hrs on November 1st 1993 as a consequence of the Single European Act. See horoscope for the EU The extraordinary synastry between this chart and Turkey’s shows a Mars/Pluto conjunction on exactly the same degree as Turkey’s Jupiter, obviously showing paranoia and fascination with the religious fundamentalism of Turkey, as well as the urge to control it.

With the EU’s Mars in Scorpio and Venus in Libra and Turkeys Mars in Libra and Venus in Scorpio, this is going to be a marriage made in heaven. Europe is about to discover passion.