Is Turkey’s Bid for EU Membership over?
Turkey’s bid for EU membership is not officially over, but it is in a deep freeze. Accession negotiations have been stalled since 2018, and there is no clear timeline for when they might resume.
There are a number of reasons for this. One is Turkey’s deteriorating human rights record. The EU has expressed concerns about the government’s crackdown on dissent, the independence of the judiciary, and the freedom of the press.
Another concern is Turkey’s foreign policy. The EU has criticized Turkey’s military interventions in Syria and Libya, as well as its close relationship with Russia.
Additionally, Turkey and Cyprus remain at odds over the divided island. The EU has said that Turkey must recognize Cyprus before it can join the bloc.
Despite these challenges, Turkey has repeatedly expressed its desire to join the EU. In July 2023, the EU agreed to hold talks on Turkey’s membership bid, but it is unclear whether these talks will lead to any progress.
Overall, it is difficult to say whether Turkey’s bid for EU membership is over. It is possible that the two sides will eventually be able to overcome their differences and reach an agreement. However, it is also possible that Turkey’s membership will remain in limbo for many years to come.
Why is Turkey Not in the EU
Turkey is not in the European Union (EU) for a number of reasons, including: Human rights concerns: The EU has expressed concerns about Turkey’s human rights record, particularly with regard to the government’s crackdown on dissent, the independence of the judiciary, and the freedom of the press.Foreign policy: The EU has also criticized Turkey’s foreign policy, particularly its military interventions in Syria and Libya, as well as its close relationship with Russia.The Cyprus dispute: Turkey and Cyprus remain at odds over the divided island. The EU has said that Turkey must recognize Cyprus before it can join the bloc.Opposition from some EU member states: Some EU member states, such as France and Austria, have expressed opposition to Turkey’s membership bid. In addition to these specific factors, there is also a general sense among some EU member states that Turkey is not a good fit for the bloc, both culturally and economically. Despite these challenges, Turkey has repeatedly expressed its desire to join the EU. In July 2023, the EU agreed to hold talks on Turkey’s membership bid, but it is unclear whether these talks will lead to any progress. Overall, it is difficult to say when or if Turkey will join the EU. There are significant challenges that need to be overcome before this can happen.
Is Turkey in the EEA
Turkey is not a member of the European Economic Area (EEA). The EEA is a single market that was established in 1994 by the European Union (EU) and the European Free Trade Association (EFTA). It allows for the free movement of goods, services, capital, and people between the EU member states and the three EFTA countries that are members of the EEA: Iceland, Liechtenstein, and Norway. Turkey applied for EEA membership in 1995, but its application has been stalled since 2006. This is due to the same factors that have prevented Turkey from joining the EU, including its human rights record, foreign policy, and the Cyprus dispute. While Turkey is not in the EEA, it has a customs union with the EU. This means that there are no tariffs on goods traded between Turkey and the EU. However, the customs union does not cover services or capital, and it does not give Turkish citizens the right to live and work in the EU. Overall, Turkey is not a member of the EEA, and it is unlikely to become one in the near future.
Is Turkey in Europe or Asia
Turkey is a transcontinental country, meaning it straddles two continents: Europe and Asia. The majority of Turkey’s landmass, about 97%, is located in Asia, while the remaining 3% is situated in Europe. The city of Istanbul, which is Turkey’s largest city and one of its cultural and economic centers, is the most well-known part of Turkey that lies in Europe. Istanbul is separated from the Asian part of Turkey by the Bosphorus Strait, a narrow waterway that connects the Black Sea to the Sea of Marmara. This unique geographical position makes Turkey a country with one foot in Europe and the other in Asia.
Why is Turkey not in the EU
Turkey’s bid for European Union (EU) membership has been a complex and lengthy process, and there are several reasons why Turkey has not yet become a full member of the EU:
- Political and Economic Reforms: One of the primary conditions for EU membership is the need for candidate countries to meet certain political, economic, and institutional criteria. Turkey has faced criticism and scrutiny over its progress in areas such as the rule of law, human rights, freedom of the press, and the independence of the judiciary. The EU has raised concerns about democratic backsliding in Turkey, which has complicated its accession process.
- Cyprus Dispute: The longstanding conflict between Turkey and Cyprus has been a major hurdle. The Republic of Cyprus, an EU member since 2004, is divided into two parts: the internationally recognized Greek Cypriot government in the south and the self-declared Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, recognized only by Turkey in the north. The Cyprus issue has created tensions and disagreements within the EU and has impeded Turkey’s accession negotiations.
- Public Opinion: Public opinion in some EU member states, particularly countries like France and Germany, has been skeptical about Turkey’s accession to the EU. Concerns related to cultural differences, the size of Turkey’s population, and the impact on labor markets have influenced these opinions.
- Geopolitical Factors: Turkey’s strategic position, straddling Europe and Asia, has also played a role. Some EU member states have expressed concerns about Turkey’s foreign policy decisions and its involvement in regional conflicts, which have complicated its relationship with the EU.
- Refugee Deal: Turkey and the EU have cooperated on managing the flow of refugees and migrants into Europe, which has had an impact on the relationship. The EU-Turkey Statement of 2016 aimed at curbing migration flows in exchange for financial support and other benefits for Turkey.
- Slow Progress in Negotiations: Turkey officially applied for EU membership in 1987, but the accession negotiations have progressed at a slow pace. Many chapters of the acquis communautaire (the body of EU laws and regulations) remain unresolved.
Benefits of Turkey joining the EU
Turkey’s potential membership in the European Union (EU) could bring about several benefits, both for Turkey and the EU as a whole. However, it’s important to note that the EU accession process is a complex and lengthy one, and these potential benefits would depend on successful negotiations and fulfillment of membership criteria. Here are some of the potential benefits:
- Economic Benefits:
- Access to the Single Market: Membership in the EU would grant Turkey access to the EU’s single market, one of the largest and most integrated markets in the world. This would facilitate trade and investment, benefiting Turkish businesses and consumers.
- Economic Growth: Integration with the EU could lead to increased foreign investment, economic growth, and job creation in Turkey.
- Political Stability and Democratization:
- Democratization: The EU often requires candidate countries to make democratic reforms, strengthen the rule of law, and protect human rights as part of the accession process. This could promote political stability and strengthen democratic institutions in Turkey.
- Conflict Resolution: EU membership could encourage Turkey to resolve longstanding conflicts, such as the Cyprus dispute, through peaceful negotiations.
- Security and Defense Cooperation:
- Security: Closer ties with the EU could enhance security cooperation and promote regional stability, especially in areas like counterterrorism and border security.
- NATO Synergy: Turkey is already a member of NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization), and EU membership could enhance the synergy between NATO and EU security efforts.
- Cultural and Educational Exchange:
- Cultural Exchange: EU membership would facilitate cultural exchange, tourism, and people-to-people contacts between Turkey and EU member states.
- Educational Opportunities: Turkish students and academics would have easier access to EU universities and research programs, fostering educational and scientific cooperation.
- Infrastructure and Development Funding:
- EU Funds: As an EU member, Turkey would be eligible for EU structural and cohesion funds, which could support infrastructure development and economic convergence with the EU.
- Harmonization with EU Standards:
- Regulatory Alignment: Turkey would need to harmonize its laws and regulations with EU standards, which can lead to improved product quality, consumer protection, and environmental standards.
- Foreign Policy Cooperation:
- Diplomatic Influence: As an EU member, Turkey would have a stronger voice in shaping EU foreign policy, contributing to regional and global stability.
- Energy Security: Turkey’s strategic location could enhance the EU’s energy security by serving as a transit route for energy pipelines and improving diversification of energy sources.
It’s worth noting that the benefits of EU membership would come with significant responsibilities, including the need to meet strict EU criteria, implement reforms, and adapt to EU laws and regulations. Additionally, public opinion within Turkey and among existing EU member states can significantly influence the progress of Turkey’s accession negotiations and its ultimate EU membership.
Why does Turkey want to join the EU
Turkey has expressed its desire to join the European Union (EU) for several reasons, which include political, economic, and strategic considerations. Here are some of the key motivations behind Turkey’s aspiration to become an EU member:
- Economic Benefits: Access to the EU’s single market, which is one of the largest and most prosperous in the world, is a major attraction for Turkey. Membership would allow Turkish businesses to trade more easily with EU member states and benefit from the removal of trade barriers, tariffs, and customs procedures. This could lead to increased exports, economic growth, and job creation.
- Economic Convergence: Turkey aims to improve its economic development and convergence with the more advanced EU member states. EU membership provides access to financial support and development funds that can help modernize infrastructure, improve living standards, and reduce regional disparities within Turkey.
- Political Stability and Democracy: The EU accession process encourages candidate countries to strengthen democratic institutions, uphold the rule of law, and protect human rights. Turkey’s desire to join the EU is often associated with a commitment to political reforms, which could contribute to greater political stability and democratization in the country.
- Enhanced International Influence: EU membership would give Turkey a stronger voice on the international stage and a role in shaping EU foreign policy. This can be particularly important in addressing regional and global challenges, such as security, migration, and climate change.
- Conflict Resolution: Joining the EU could provide a platform for resolving long-standing conflicts, such as the Cyprus dispute, through negotiations and diplomacy. EU membership would require Turkey to work toward peaceful solutions to outstanding issues with neighboring countries.
- Cultural and Educational Exchange: EU membership facilitates cultural exchange, tourism, and educational opportunities. Turkish citizens could benefit from easier travel, study abroad programs, and greater exposure to different cultures.
- Security Cooperation: Closer ties with the EU can lead to enhanced security cooperation and collaboration in areas like counterterrorism, border security, and crisis management. Turkey’s NATO membership already demonstrates its commitment to transatlantic security.
- Strategic Location: Turkey’s geographic location at the crossroads of Europe and Asia makes it a strategically important country. It can serve as a bridge between the EU and regions like the Middle East, Central Asia, and the Caucasus, contributing to regional stability and energy security.
- Energy Transit: Turkey’s role as a transit country for energy pipelines, such as the Southern Gas Corridor, is of strategic importance to the EU. This enhances energy security and diversification of energy sources for both Turkey and the EU.
It’s important to note that the EU accession process is a complex and demanding one. Turkey has faced challenges and criticisms related to issues such as human rights, freedom of the press, and the independence of the judiciary. The pace and success of Turkey’s accession negotiations have been influenced by both internal and external factors, and progress has been slow. Public opinion in both Turkey and EU member states also plays a significant role in shaping the path toward EU membership.