Thursday, March 21, 2013

Turkey & The European Union

#3 European Union Membership

The potential for Turkey to join the European Union is being explored. There are many benefits that would result from Turkish membership, including: greater obligation to cooperate politically, greater ability for Europe to influence the Middle East and fight terrorism, reduction in international trade barriers, and an increased flow of natural energy resources.  All of these will boost Turkey’s economy and quality of life. However, there are still many difficulties to be overcome before membership can be granted. In order to qualify for membership, Turkey must meet the guidelines outlined in 33 out of 35 chapters of EU policy. So far, Turkey has only successfully completed 1 chapter. Also, many citizens (both European and Turkish) do not want Turkey to join the EU. Lastly, it is a concern that Turkey’s history of international affairs (human rights violations, relations with the Armenia, Kurds, Cyprus, and the Middle East) as well as their somewhat lower economy (Europe already has enough problems) would not fit well with membership in the European Union.

Recent Developments

February 24 – Angela Merkel, Chancellor of Germany, recently visited Turkey, where she expressed statements supporting Turkey’s potential membership in the EU. Germany and Turkey have strong relations, both in terms of strong trading partnership and German military support along the Syrian border. Following this, France has also opened the possibility of negotiations on another chapter that Turkey would have to qualify for. 

Member States of the European Union

New York Times
Hurriyet Daily News, Istanbul

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