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The Turkey And Europe Economics Essay

In general it is common known that Turkey has difficulties to enter the European Union, it is already struggling for over 40 years. This essay will concentrate on Turkey and Europe and in particular about the acquiring membership of Turkey. The main question which will be asked is:

What are the factors that influence perceptions on Turkey’s EU membership from the perspectives of European member states and Turkey?

This question will be subdivided into four categories; there will be looked at the European view as well the view from Turkey. The view from Europe will be taken as a whole and not from country to country since otherwise the views will become too complicated. From both sides the positive and negative factors will be highlighted.


The first category will take into account the perceptions of European member states, in the first section I will state the factors why the European Union should want to have Turkey as a member state. Since the European Union sees enlargement as a mechanism to promote European stability and security it would give them a secure feeling to make Turkey a member, after all it is a large country and the European Union would be sure of its borders, since after Turkey are no other European countries and most probably it would enhance the relations with the middle-east since Turkey has good relationships with these countries these days. Another point for Europe is that Turkey offers a vibrant new market with a young population. Its joining would extend the EU’s geopolitical influence as well as its access to resources and land for the expansion of industrial complexes. [1] According to the cultural differences between the two Turkey’s accessions to the EU would show the world that it is possible for Muslims and the West to live together on the basis of the values of enlightenment and the UN Charter of human rights. It should for the EU be of great value to become the meeting place of different civilizations and not only an exclusive western club.

Copenhagen criteria

Given the encouraging factors, there is also resistance towards membership of Turkey. Factors why the European Union should not give membership to Turkey will be explained in the following part. Overall it will never work out since Turkey is culturally too different to fit in the European Union and in the end it would give too much problems since there will always exist obstacles. This can be also seen by the Eurobarometer where European citizens’ vote about cases regarding the European Union, in this barometer 55% of the Europeans voted against Turkey according to the cultural differences. Religion should also play a role in this part as long as this not changes they will never can become a member of the EU, for example on the passports of Turkish citizens is written the Islamic religion. Under the new institutional reforms brought by the Constitution, Turkey’s size matters in terms of increasing its weight in the Council and the Parliament. If Turkey becomes a member, then the current member states of the EU will have to give up seats in the Parliament to accommodate for MEPs from Turkey. More importantly, Turkey’s impact on EU decision-making under the double majority voting system in the Council will be substantial. With accession, Turkey would become the most populous country in the EU with the greatest voting power in the Council”. Turkey’s impact on the EU’s institutional functioning is, therefore, perceived as a substantial cost of its membership. If Turkey would become a member of the European Union it will cost the EU high economic extra costs, for example E8 mln for agriculture per year. Also migration flow costs will increase since migration of the Turkish citizens to other European countries would become much easier.


Different views exist on the debate if Turkey should enter the European Union or not. Factors to enter the European according to the view of Turkey could be if you take the Turkish history in regard since they find that they belong to Europe. Turkey has a long history of opposing, admiring, copying, denying, naming and judging things European [2] ; therefore they want to be European in a way.

Ataturk was the leader who formed modernized Turkey, a lot of Turkish citizens believe in Kemalism, named after Kemal Ataturk and this Kemalism is western oriented, and therefore also European oriented. According to the Eurobarometer polls the majority of Turks are pro-EU and yet a substantial minority remains distrustful and apprehensive. [3] As you can see Turkey always had a tendency to move to Europe instead of moving to the East. If you look at the effort Turkey takes to obtain the membership, and compare Turkey with the other applicants, than you can state that Turkey was better prepared than many of the countries that were actually admitted in 2004 [4] , however Turkey is still left out in the cold.

Since Turkey is already trying to become an EU member for over 40 some Turkish politicians state that the process has already taken too long and that the Europeans’ attitude has been too dismissive and insulting for Turkey to bear any longer. Many European summits have produced outcomes that did not satisfy Turkey’s expectations for example when Turkey hoped to be made a candidate, that request was turned down (Luxembourg 1997); when Turkey expected to be given a date when negotiations would start, the final decision was postponed (Copenhagen 2002); and when Turkey expected that negotiations would start ‘without delay’, it was told to wait another 10 months (Brussels 2004). [5]

Turkey’s accession to the EU goes beyond the Turkish ability to meet the accession criteria but depends on the EU’s internal dynamics and the EU’s readiness towards Turkey, the question is if you want to let this happen as a country. The factor that the European Union does not want to make any concessions towards Turkey should make Turkey realize that they should not want to belong to this club.

In Turkey the idea exists that it should lose its true character and values of the Muslim Turkish society and civilization if they would become a member. Furthermore its large and rapidly growing population seems daunting. Although their state is secular, Turks remain Muslim in their majority and for all its tolerance the EU is apprehensive of having to accommodate such cultural diversity.

Suggestions for Turkey

Since the European Union does not want to make any concession about the membership of Turkey it is in Turkey’s best interest to try to make the Europeans like them. Since the cultural differences look too big for the European citizens they should try to enable alternative discourses about Turkey, making it possible for EU citizens to perceive Turkey not just as a traditional country, but also as a modern, western one. As far as tourism is concerned, Turkey is marketing a very traditional image of itself [6] , it would be better towards the EU if they would show how much their history comes alike towards the European one. For example in Turkey there are a lot of Roman remaining buildings, they should show this in their tourism promotions. Another point is that they Turkey tends to react to the EU’s decisions and perceptions with resentment and anger it would be better for them to react in another way and so as to say to change from emotional Turkey into cool Turkey. Another problem is that European citizens believe that Turkey is harsh towards minorities and that they have a lot of problems with their border countries, for example the Cyprus question, the Kurdish minorities, the Armenian genocide question, problems with Greece and overall border problems for example with Syria. They should show the rest of the world they are really trying to make an effort to solve these problems. Only if the Turks take a more self-critical approach towards their country they will be able to convince EU citizens that they are like them.

Suggestions for Europe

For the European Union it should be wise to reconsider the difficult enter possibilities for Turkey. According to a research paper prepared for presentation at the European Union Studies Conference in Montreal, the European Union will lose its power position to India [7] if they do not give Turkey the full membership. A series of reports from the Commission (Agenda 2000) state that future enlargement is needed if the EU wants to be able to compete economically and politically with other global actors. [8] Therefore it is wise for the European Union to reconsider the full membership of Turkey since in the end they need each other.


To me it looks like that the EU is afraid of a culture which is not common in the EU and is therefore frightened to let Turkey become a member. Another important factor is that according to the EU Turkey would gain too much power in the union due to its size. In my opinion an important point is trust in each other, since the time negotiations have started between Turkey and the EU, the last one has put all the time renewed goals to accomplish for Turkey before becoming a member, it looks like they do not trust Turkey as a member. Therefore for me it is questionable if the EU will ever let Turkey become a member. On the other hand Turkey does not have much of a choice to not apply since the European Union is at this moment for Turkey the best party they can belong to. For example the realization of a union in the Middle-East is still far away since there are still a lot of tensions between these countries. In my opinion it should be best for both parties that Turkey would become a member since together they can stand stronger towards the rest of the world and in this way increase their powers and trade positions.

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