Turkey’s Accession to EU
Smith (2005) stated that the European Union had finally allowed the formal talks on Turkey’s bid to the EU on October 4, 2005 despite Turkey’s initial application sometime in the 1990s. The news of the negotiations was met in two ways: positively (by Britain and Turkey) and negatively (by most Europeans, Germany, France, and Cyprus). The opposition saw Turkey as a non-European nation that may affect the EU’s total growth and interest, while the supporters saw Turkey a benefit and a crucial step to Middle Eastern affairs, opening new doors for the Europeans . Regardless of the opposition’s sentiments over the accession, the enlargement plans continued in 2006 despite the doubts from the European nations according to Kanter (2006). The EU made compromises with Turkey and its members to begin the negotiations, one by opening Turkey’s doors for trade and commerce .
However, while there were negotiations being held throughout the years, Castle (2009) stated in his article that Turkey’s desire to be a part of the Union still is uncertain given the issues throughout Europe and the opposition against the accession. In Castle’s article, he cited that impasse regarding the divided Cyprus and the proposals from Germany and France over an informal alliance with Turkey rather than full membership. Experts such as EDAM research chair Sinan Ulgen, cited that Turkey should show to the EU reform that would allow negotiations to proceed . However, despite the opposition, there are still nations supporting the Turkish entrance to the EU as Groves (2010) stated in his article that Prime Minister David Cameron see the potential of Turkey as an EU member and the negotiations are disrupted because of their fear over Islam. Cameron believed that by embracing Turkey, the EU can improve its relations with the Islamic regions. .
While the UK is a crucial support for Turkey’s bid, Turkey still found itself in the bind with the negotiations according to Kuebler (2011) as France immediately refuted UK’s support to Turkey. In the article, Kuebler cited that French President Nicolas Sarkozy stated that Turkey is not fit for EU accession due to its religious inclination and political structure that Germany also agrees with and a partnership would work well like a full membership . Due to the consistent opposition regarding their membership to the Union, Turks and some experts have undeniably lost fate in gaining entrance to Europe’s largest organization. In her report, Gusten (2012) stated that Turks she had interviewed firmly saw that their country would not be part of the EU given the demands they keep asking, plus some even believe Turkey is fine on its own. Gusten also cited that the prospects of Turkey becoming a part of the Union remains unclear given the state of negotiations, the divided Cyprus, and the changing political standing in the EU and in Ankara itself .
If the Turks see that they no longer believe they can still accede to the EU, Coskun (2012) stated that even Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan stated that the EU would lose them completely by 2023 . Although Turkey had expressed such sentiments, Germany, according to Eddy and Cottrell (2012), pledged that the EU would continue the talks with Turkey despite the setbacks, praising the Turks for being a supported and strong partner . Recently, Gottschlich (2013) stated that with the remark of one European commissioner regarding Germany and France’s mistake of letting go of Turkey in the EU accession issue, the Turks immediately reassessed the possibilities of seeing such sentiment happen given EU’s continuous reluctance over the visa issue that Turkey complains about . Eddy (2013) reported that despite the controversy and its former sentiments over the issue, German Chancellor Angela Merkel stated that she is open to the renewed negotiations for Turkey to accede to the Union. Even Francois Hollande, French President after Nicolas Sarkozy, announced that he also is open to talk once more regarding the accession .
In a personal perspective, it seemed as if Turkey would indeed find it hard to accede to the European Union given all the doubts and sentiments each actor raised pertaining its accession to the Union. Turkey would have to face criticism from Europeans, from the main EU leaders (Germany and France), and from the public itself, proving that it is capable of joining the EU and present the region a plus benefit. The opposition have may have just reasoning behind them: Germany and France may have a point over their proposal of just making the Turks a partner considering that adding a new country to the EU would most likely influence the EU’s current economic crisis. Turks themselves may even complain because of the unjust requirements the EU wants from them before accession can be considered. Nonetheless, Cameron’s perception of Turkish accession refutes these sentiments because accession would open the EU to a new community and bring forth peace, especially with the Islamic communities. It may be true that the EU and Turkey may find it hard to adjust at first with the accession but in the long run, Turkey is a hidden jewel that the EU can thrive with in terms of culture, economy, and politics.
Castle, S. (2009, June 26). Turkey restates determination to join the European Union. The New York Times. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/27/world/europe/27iht-union.html?_r=0
Coskun, O. (2012, October 30). EU will lose Turkey if it hasn't joined by 2023: Erdogan. Reuters. Retrieved http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/10/30/us-germany-turkey-idUSBRE89T1TG20121030
Eddy, M. (2013, February 24). Merkel raises Turks' hope of European Union entry. The New York Times. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/25/world/europe/merkel-gives-turkey-hope-for-eu-membership.html?_r=0
Eddy, M., & Cottrell, C. (2012, October 31). Turkey Given Reassurance by Germany on Talks. The New York Times. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/01/world/europe/germany-says-europe-will-pursue-talks-on-turkey.html?_r=0
Gottschlich, J. (2013, February 21). 'They will give in': Turkey Pressures Germany on EU Accession. Spiegel. Retrieved from http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/turkey-pressures-germany-to-accept-eu-accession-a-884824.html
Groves, J. (2010, August 3). Turkey must join EU says Cameron: 'Those who are against are playing on fears on Islam. The Daily Mail. Retrieved from http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1297906/Turkey-join-EU-says-Cameron-Those-playing-fears-Islam.html
Gusten, S. (2012, June 28). Turks seek freedom to travel to Europe without visa. The New York Times. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/28/world/middleeast/turks-seek-freedom-to-travel-to-europe-without-visas.html?pagewanted=all
Kanter, J. (2006, June 13). European Union Moves Ahead with Turkey and Croatia. The New York Times. Retrieved from http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9E04E5DB1331F930A25755C0A9609C8B63
Kuebler, M. (2011, February 26). Turkey not fit for EU accession: Sarkozy. Deutsche Welle. Retrieved from http://www.dw.de/turkey-not-fit-for-eu-accession-sarkozy/a-14875593
Smith, C. (2005, October 4). European Union formally opens talks on Turkey's Joining . The New York Times. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2005/10/04/international/europe/04turkey.html?_r=0