Turkey in EU; Far or Near? – By Abdur Rahman Fuad

International, Issue

Turkey applied for associate membership of the European Union in 1959 and got it in 1963. The Association Agreement that is known as Ankara Agreement was signed between the European Community and Turkey in 1963. Since then, numerous efforts have been made by the Turkish government to integrate Turkey as a full member into European Economic Community. When Former Prime minister of Turkey Turgut Özal formally applied for full membership in 1987, they were disappointed because of most of the EC community members rejected full membership of Turkey. The EU members is delaying the integration of Turkey into European Union because many of causes they found in behind of Turkeys indoor and outdoor politics. Among the political reasons, one of, they mentioned over Cyprus issue and the Turkish justice system as well as country’s human rights record. Upon the recommendations made time to time by EU countries, Turkey reformed their activities in a wide range and brought a liberal democratic system in politics, and it still continues an illustrative case of ongoing democratization from which neighboring countries can draw important lessons. Turkish government demonstrated firm willingness to continue with reform efforts and accelerate the democratization process of the country.

Turkey's President Tayyip Erdogan (R) meets with German Chancellor Angela Merkel at the Group of 20 (G20) leaders summit in the Mediterranean resort city of Antalya, Turkey, November 16, 2015. REUTERS
Turkey’s President Tayyip Erdogan (R) meets with German Chancellor Angela Merkel at the Group of 20 (G20) leaders summit in the Mediterranean resort city of Antalya, Turkey, November 16, 2015. REUTERS

Some illogical pre-conception in Europe that Turkish membership can bring alone some problems that are can have bad impact in their internal politics. Many European politicians think that Turkish membership in the European Union will cause economic, social problems and create a burden on the EU budget. Against the backdrop of the conflict in Syria, violence in the predominantly Kurdish southeast has escalated since a ceasefire between the Turkish government and the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) broke down in July 2015. Consecutive blanket curfews were imposed on several towns and districts in the region where Kurdish activists announced administrative autonomy. With the conflict moving from the mountains into urban centers, about 200 civilians have been killed during security operations and in violent clashes between security forces and armed Kurdish militants. Revived EU membership talks with Turkey of the recent deal could give European leaders the opportunity to press Turkey on its domestic rights record at a time when there are concerns about Turkey’s long-term internal stability. The EU’s interest in Turkey’s cooperation in stemming the flow of refugees should not overshadow these concerns. I think the condition it makes a laughing stock of people who do not believe in jokes.

Membership Criteria in EU

The Treaty on the European Union states that only European country may apply for membership if the country respects the democratic values of the EU and is committed to promoting this international organization.

The first step is that, the country meets the key criteria for accession. These key criteria are dependable on European Council in Copenhagen (Copenhagen criteria) in 1993. A country  who wants to join as a member, the following criteria’s should be fulfilled: stable institutions (that means relating good regional cooperation and relation for the Balkan region) guaranteeing democracy, the rule of law, human rights and respect for and protection of minorities; a functioning market economy and the capacity to cope with competition and market forces in the EU; the ability to take on and implement effectively the obligations of membership, including adherence to the aims of political, economic and monetary union. The EU also needs to be able to integrate new members.

Major Logical Aspects for Turkey


Istanbul is a culturally and economically great European city for Turkey. As a member, it would re-invigorate Europe’s relations with fast evolving regions like the energy rich Caucasus and Central Asia, to the new Middle East that emerging from the Arab Spring. Turkey’s unique geo-strategic position, plus the strength of NATO’s second-largest army would greatly add to European security. Also, Turkey should be allowed to be a member of the EU if they choose because they are a part of Europe. People can say that it’s otherwise, but the geographical boundaries are chosen by man, not by nature in a very obvious way like the other continents. If Turkey wants to join, denying them seems more racially motivated than geographically.


Turkey is already a vibrant democracy. The prospect of EU membership has spurred reforms that strengthen pluralistic politics and improve human rights. Turkey is a strong and loyal NATO ally. Leaving it in the cold, could see this growing economic and diplomatic power develop into an uncomfortable rival to European interests in a sensitive region. Turkey’s elite, that is the military, most political parties, the powerful central bureaucracy and intellectuals, generally embraces the founding principles of the Turkish republic and is consequently strongly in favor of membership. Membership also enjoys wide public support, with opinion polls generally showing 60-70 (database on March 2015) per cent of those polled in favor of full membership. It is clear that the decisive role of the military in internal politics and external relations is inconsistent with democratic principles. The military should be under the control of the parliament and the government. However, that is not how it is seen by the military and a large majority of the Turkish public. We knew to that, in last 5 months, Ankara sees and spurred three time bomb blasting. I think, it’s very bad issue for Turkey in the area of national securities and without that everything is okay to join in EU.


The Turkish economy is thriving. Its public finances are the envy of southern Europe. Per-capital income has increased six-fold and the average. Also now better off than his Romanian and Bulgarian counterparts in the EU. Bringing in such a dynamo would inject new life into the EU economy, as well as adding 75 million consumers to the single market. On the other hand, European economies are still shrinking; if EU wants to survive they have to find a way to stop it. Turkey could be the answer, it is said that Turkey is too big to swallow but its scale may speed up our growth. They are competing with China and Brazil in term of growth. We will to know that, Turkey is now the 16th largest economy in the world. Although its economy shrank by 4.7% last year (for Europe), it has bounced back, surging 11.7% at all side in the first quarter of 2010.

The Pros and Cons of Membership

To joining the European Union first began in 2005, but little progress has been made in the last decade due a number of domestic and external politics. Very few European governments are in favor, arguing that the geo-political and economic differences are too significant.


The EU has turned to Turkey for help where they struggle to cope with the worst refugee crisis since eu_mainimagethe Second World War. The country remains the key gateway into Europe and leaders hope a deal with Ankara will stem the flow of asylum-seekers. Under a short time agreement, which has yet to be finalized, one Syrian refugee from a Turkish camp will be admitted to Europe for each Syrian sent back to the country from Greece. In return, talks on Turkey’s entry into the EU will be speeded up, Ankara will receive more financial support and Turks will be granted visa-free travel.


The rising of Islamic State in Iraq and Syria is incredible which has put the Turkey at the centre of a conflict and that’s throw in global consequences. Some European leader thinks that, geo-politically Turkey to become a member of the EU and will create a strong ally in the fight against terrorism in the region. But critics such as Conservative leaders argued that, the open movement laws could create a passageway both in and out of Syria for jihadists and new recruits.


Allowing Turkey to join would provide a fresh influx of workers for Europe. The country has a young and increasingly well-educated population and some argue the ageing EU cannot afford to block this demographic from its workforce. But at a time when many governments are under increasing pressure to reduce high levels of immigration, allowing millions more workers to cross their borders is not expected to be high on their agenda.

Dynamics models

Turkey’s has a geographic position at the crossroads between Europe and the East. Turkey create a necessary bridge between western and Islamic worlds. At a time of heightened tensions works between the two parties. I think, Turkeys has a better position to mediate in the Middle- East than European countries. Here an exclusive example-  During the 2009 crisis in Gaza, Turkis diplomatic leaders were able to talk directly to the Hamas leadership and then Hamas party create a comparatively good relations with Israel.


The Turkish economy is growing and it is also the country across which key pipelines deliver large supplies of oil and gas from Asia. Free trade between EU countries is one of the bloc’s greatest advantages and granting Turkey membership would create a whole new market for European goods. However, others point to the recent economic crisis in Greece and warn that Turkey is not yet rich enough to join, saying that taxpayers in wealthier countries would be forced to subside it.

New chapter, New talks for Turkey

German chancellor Angela Merkel since opposed of its membership. At now, she said it’s a “open-ended” issue for EU and Turkey. İ think other leaders to join with hers opinion.But there are one of the subject short that, Turkey is composed of 35 (condition to be a member) chapters including foreign, security and defense policy; environment, justice, freedom and security and free movement of goods. Chapter 17 focuses on the economic and monetary policies of prospective states and specifies that to become a member of the EU, nations are expected to keep national budgets stable and conduct their economic policies with the common interest of the bloc in mind.

While talks will begin on Chapter 17 in Brussels on December 14, Cyprus has already vetoed six other chapters ahead of Turkey’s proposed accession, including energy; the judiciary and fundamental rights; and justice, freedom and security. Cyprus vetoed the chapters over a number of grievances, such as the presence of Turkish troops in the country’s Turkish-speaking north.

Have any Hypocrisy of EU’s on Turkey?

At a summit on November 29, the EU and Turkey cut a two-part deal. The first was involved with promising Ankara cash and visa-free travel for its citizens on condition of the steam of migrants from Turkey into the EU. The second, re-energizing talks for Turkey to join the EU. Although this may give some short-term benefit to leaders such as Germany’s Angela Merkel, who is facing domestic pressure as a result of mishandling the refugee crisis, it could store up trouble for the future.

In the past, EU “accession” talks have been a tool for countries with illiberal backgrounds to make a transition to democracy, rule of law and human rights. The EU sets a series of conditions countries need to meet in order to join the club and their leaders then beaver away for years to satisfy them.

 At the same time, the EU is promising to re-energize accession talks. Turkey is becoming more illiberal and authoritarian under President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. The reason is that the EU isn’t sincere about wanting Turkey in the club, while Erdoğan has no intention of making the reforms needed to join.

What we are witnessing is hypocrisy on multiple levels. The EU pretends to want Turkey as a member but many of its citizens would be horrified at the prospect of a country of 78 million people, most of them Muslims, having free movement throughout the Union. Liberal values of course, include non-discrimination on the basis of religion, but the EU may lack the courage of its convictions when it comes to Islam.

Each year the European Commission writes a report on Turkey’s progress that’s relevant to its ultimate membership to the bloc. This year, the report was expected to be published in October. Instead, it was delayed until November, nine days after a general election which Erdoğan had called in order to re-establish his party’s overall majority in Parliament.la-fg-european-union-turkey-migrants-20160307

Instead of hypocrisy, Europe’s leaders should engage in straight talk about Turkey. They should offer Erdoğan a choice. Either he can have a purely transactional relationship, in which they give Ankara money and other goodies in exchange for stemming the flood of refugees. European leaders would be muted in their criticism of authoritarianism, in the same way it treats Russia, China or Saudi Arabia. Or they can genuinely work on Turkey joining the EU but, in that case, they will call him out whenever he fails to meet the required standards. What they shouldn’t do is continue with the current course that involves a transactional relationship dressed up as part of an accession process that nobody really believes in.

It is almost inconceivable that Erdoğan will choose the second option. But, if he does, the EU’s leaders would have another tough job, persuading their own citizens that Turkey should be admitted to the club, provided it makes the necessary reforms. Indeed, given the rising tide of right-wing populism, that might seem an impossible mission.

But if that’s what the EU thinks, it shouldn’t even pretend to dangle the carrot of membership.

Abdur Rahman Fuad is student of Master’s at the Necmettin Erbakan University, Turkey.