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Turkey’s EU Membership: opportunities and challenges

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Presentation on theme: "Turkey’s EU Membership: opportunities and challenges"— Presentation transcript:

1 Turkey’s EU Membership: opportunities and challenges
Sophie Di Francesco-Mayot Monash European and EU Centre, Monash University

2 Outline Brief history Membership conditions
Discourses “For” and “Against” Turkish EU membership Official views: UK, French, German, Turkish Public opinions: European and Turkish Current Challenges & Future prospects

3 Reflective Questions Is Turkey a European Country?
What is the nature of the EU? Will Turkey be an asset or a liability to the EU? What are the economic, political, social-cultural & religious implications of Turkish accession?

4 Brief History 1959 Turkey applied for “associate membership”
1963 the ‘Ankara Agreement’ 1970s ‘Additional protocol’ 1987 application for formal membership into EC 1995 establishment of Custom Union 1999 Helsinki European Council officially recognises Turkey as candidate for membership 2004 initiation of EU negotiations with Turkey 2005 Turkey’s official status as candidate for full membership.

5 Membership conditions
1) Legal requirements Article 237 Treaty of Rome ‘any European state may apply to become a member of the Community’. Article F Maastricht Treaty member states shall have ‘systems of government […] founded on the principles of democracy’.

6 Membership conditions
2) ‘Copenhagen Criteria’ 1993- European Council establishes three criteria: Stable institutions guaranteeing Functioning market economy and the capacity to cope with competitive pressure and market forces within the Union; Ability to take on the obligations of membership, 3) The accession process Negotiations between candidate country and European Commission.

7 Discourses “For” and “Against” Turkish EU membership

8 Geographic Debate For Against Unique geo-strategic position would contribute to European security. Invaluable bridge between Europe and Asia. 97% of its territory lies in Asia

9 Political Debate Turkey a vibrant democracy.
Against For Turkey a vibrant democracy. Strengthen pluralistic politics & improve human rights. Strong NATO ally. Undermine European credibility. Not a mature European-style democracy. Human rights abused. Amnesty International’s annual report Europe would import the Kurdish issue.

10 Economic Debate Populous & youthful population
Against For Populous & youthful population 2011- fastest growing economy in Europe (8.5%) 2013- Turkey expected to have 3.5% growth (IMF) “too big, too poor and too Muslim. Underdeveloped economy Its GDP per capita less than half EU average.

11 Identity Debate Against For Historic & cultural roots in Central Asia and Middle East. Lacks shared experiences which prompted drive for united Europe. Cultural & religious traditions are fundamentally different from Christian Europe. Limitations of “Clash of Civilisation” theory EU open to Islamic world. European identity based on values Euro-Islam against Islamic radicalisation.

12 The EU and Turkish membership

13 Official UK view 4 November 2009, David Miliband, stated
“I am very clear that Turkish accession to the EU is important and will be of huge benefit to both Turkey and the EU.” 27 July 2010, David Cameron, promised to "fight" for Turkey's membership of EU. “A European Union without Turkey at its heart is not stronger but weaker... not more secure but less... not richer but poorer.”

14 Official French view Nicolas Sarkozy opposed Turkish EU membership:
“I do not believe that Turkey belongs to Europe, and for a simple reason: because it is in Asia Minor”…what I wish to offer Turkey is a true partnership with Europe, but not integration into Europe". François Hollande: open talks on chapter related to EU support for regions

15 Official German view September 2011 Merkel stated:
 A privileged partnership September 2011 Merkel stated: “We don't want the full membership of Turkey. But we don't want to lose Turkey as an important country.” February 2013 Merkel stated: “I believe we have a long negotiation road ahead of us. Although I am sceptical, I am for the continuation of the process and for opening a new chapter.”

16 European Public 2006 Eurobarometer: 59% EU-27 citizens against
Underpinning factors: Human rights Job loss Threat to National cultures Support - predominantly based on ‘right-based’ post- national arguments Opposition- mainly connected with ‘identity-related’ arguments

17 Turkey’s view on EU membership
Istanbul Ankara

18 Official Turkish Opinion
September 2012, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, PM of Turkey: "There are 5 million Turks in Europe and 3 million Turk in Germany alone. We are a natural member of the European Union. Germany invited Turkish workers 50 years ago, however 50 years have passed and we have waited at the European Union's doorstep. No other country has experienced such a thing. We will be patient until a point. However when we cross that point, we will bring light to the situation and decide accordingly."

19 Turkish public opinion
Increasingly sceptical 2006 Eurobarometer survey: 43% of Turkish citizens view the EU positively Turks divided on whether to join. 2007 poll Turkish support for EU (41.9% ) with 27.7% opposed & 24% indifferent. 2009 poll support for accession (48%) & negative views of EU (32%). 2012 Transatlantic Trends survey- (53%) of Turks have an unfavourable view of EU.  Majority Turks believe working with Asia more important to their national interests than with Europe. 44% of Turks believe EU membership good for the economy in contrast with 61% for EU citizens. 

20 The Cyprus Issue Divided almost 40 years
Conflict between the Republic of Cyprus and Turkey over the Turkish occupied northern part of Cyprus

21 Chapters

22 Frozen Chapters Chapters Frozen: 1,2,3,9,11,13,14,15,17,22,23,24,26,29,30,31,33,(34) 17 Frozen making it difficult for Turkey to complete Acquis. The EU Council froze the opening of eight chapters over Turkey's rejection to open its ports & airports to traffic from Cyprus in 2006 Some of the chapters do not proceed to the next stage in the process, because they are blocked by Cyprus. Some of the chapters do not proceed to the next stage in the process, because they are blocked by France.

23 Current challenges February 2013- France agrees to lift objections
28 May Turkish government’s crackdown on nationwide protests 25 June member states resume talks with Turkey. End of 3- year suspension of talks. EP criticised Turkey’s handling of demonstration: “disproportionate unbalance and irrational declarations”

24 Anti- Government Protests
25 June 2013: EU rebuked Turkey on anti- government protesters. EU governments back German-inspired proposal 9 October 2013: European Commission report on reforms & human rights in Turkey

25 Future Prospects Turkey EU membership presents EU with many challenges & opportunities. EU could serve as a model for the Middle Eastern region by demonstrating that democracy and Islam are not antagonists. The EU a model for the world? Built on recognition of universal rights & values as opposed to exclusionary ideas of cultural and religious homogeneity.

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