For Turkey, Lure of European Union is Fast Fading –

Turkey tips eastward.  Is the european moment lost, or just faded?

Meanwhile, Turkish officials say relations with the European Union have reached a state of hopeless disrepair, made worse by the prospect of Cyprus taking over the rotating presidency of the union next year.Turkey has been locked in an intractable political fight with Cyprus since 1974, when it invaded the island to prevent a proposed union with Greece and set up a rival government in the ethnic Turkish part of Cyprus that only it recognizes. In London last month, President Abdullah Gul disparaged Cyprus as “half a country” that would lead a “miserable union,” Milliyet, a Turkish newspaper, reported. Then, when France took the unusual step last week of proposing that Turkey be invited to take part in a meeting of the union’s foreign ministers to discuss Syria, Cyprus vetoed the idea.

via For Turkey, Lure of European Union is Fast Fading –


10 thoughts on “For Turkey, Lure of European Union is Fast Fading –”

  1. Turkey really has very little in common with Europe, both physically and culturally. Physically it is very far removed from the main European states, but it goes across the border into Asia as well. Culturally, the majority of Turks are Turkish-speaking Muslims, which alone creates a huge divide from the romantic-speaking Christians found in the rest of Europe. On the other hand, Turkey does not really fit in with the rest of the Middle Eastern or Asian countries either. They speak Turkish, and although they are Muslim, they have been much more influenced by the West and by their own unique culture (hailing from before the Ottoman Empire). Because of this, Turkey is a mix of both Asia and Europe and thus cannot solely claim either.

    As the article mentions, what reasons there were for Turkey to want to join the EU are now gone. Nobody is sure how long it will take for political and economic stability to return to Europe, or if the Union will survive past the next few years. At this point, it would not be wise for Turkey to request to join the EU.

  2. I have personally never understood why the EU has continually rejected Turkey’s bid for EU membership. I understand the arguments, but the EU would do well to not only have an ally in the Middle East but an actual EU member there. Turkey has problems and they are not the traditional “Christian European” state, but who doesn’t have problems? Turkey couldn’t have given the EU more problems than Greece and Italy are now giving it, and as the article said the economic situation in Turkey is fast improving. I think the EU should have granted Turkey membership years ago but I highly doubt whether Turkey would accept a bid now that it sees its chance to be a leader in the Middle East.

    Further reading:

  3. I think its interesting that now the EU isn’t quite the interest it was years ago for Turkey, in fact it may end up being to their benefit they never got to join in the long run. Turkey does have a lot to offer for the EU, however, more than I think most of the leaders are truly willing to recognize. It is the most stable country arab nation in the middle east and as of now is probably one of the most powerful nations in the region. As the above poster mentioned, it does have internal problems, mostly from the constant back and forth with the Kurds in the south of the country, but many of the European nations have their own insurrection groups they deal with, such as the UK and their dealings with the irish separatists.

    The point is that now the EU could have probably used the help Turkey could have brought financially in this crisis as well as the added economic boost on the road to recovery, so the only person the EU hurt with the rejection was itself.

  4. I don’t think that Turkey should cut all ties with the European Union, but Europe should not be its priority anymore. The Arab Awakening has opened up a lot of new opportunities, both diplomatically and economically, for Turkey. It would be foolish for Erdogan to turn his back on the Middle East right now.Turkey is the most important example of Middle Eastern democracy,and with its growing economy it has the chance to invest in the new Tunisian, Egyptian, and Libyan economies. Also, Turkey can be a model to the rest of the Middle East, that both secularism and Islamism can be part of a government’s politics, because the greatest challenge to the countries of the Arab Awakening is how to balance government and religion. Erdogan’s party is Conservative Islamist, and yet on his tour of the Middle East, he told Egyptians that they need to embrace secularism. The Middle East could use more leaders like Erdogan. He is not afraid to tackle the “Islamism and democracy” topic. The fact that Cyprus may soon be taking over the rotating presidency is another reason Turkey should direct its attention on the Middle East rather than Europe. I doubt that Cyprus will support any Turkish attempt to join the Union. Turkey should focus on its involvement in the Middle East right now, instead of getting involved with a bad economic system in Europe.

    The link below talks about what Erdogan’s tour of the Middle East means. Enjoy.

  5. I don’t think anyone could blame Turkey at this point for having second thoughts about Europe. And with a giant power vacuum to fill to the west, coupled with an emerging power itching to spread its wings as a leader, how could they resist? That being said, I think the statement the young woman made at the end of the article was very telling: “I would rather go to Paris than Beirut.” Perhaps bolder statements have been made–who would prefer Beirut to Paris?–but even so, the affinity to learn of Europe, and the hope of education must weigh heavily on the minds of young Turks. I don’t think they can satisfy that need to the west. While bilateral relations with the US have recently improved, geography just makes Europe the most sensible partner for a Turkey that wants to grow. Sure, for now, Europe is teetering on the edge, but should they weather the storm, Turkey will dutifully return to its historic partners to the east.

    Here’s a look at the world as is through Turkey’s eyes:

  6. I also never really understood why Turkey was barred from joining the EU. I suppose it would be like Mexico asking to become one of the US states. Not only would we not want to deal with setting up the Federal system in the area, the US would also have to grant citizenship to millions of people. Terrorism is also one of the arguments used by the EU, also seen in how closely the border to Canada and Mexico is guarded (although illegal immigrants is also a prevalent reason.)
    So it doesn’t surprise me when Turkey comes out and figuratively says “Hey, Greece and Cyprus are kind of a losing battle there…and since I am ‘technically’ not part of the EU, I really don’t see why I am obligated to continue relations with them.” I acknowledge that the issues are more complicated. But with Syria halting relations with Turkey due to “violent attacks” and the EU not doing a thing, if I were Turkey I would be a little agitated too. When it all comes down to it, Turkey’s economy hasn’t had restrictions from the EU, nor has it had any obligations to help failing countries related to it. So it has had ample opportunity to grow and strengthen it’s foreign trade, becoming a new power in the middle-eastern/European area.
    This article has good insight to the future possibilities for Turkey:

  7. I think it will be interesting how Turkey decides to shape its future foreign policy. With the newly democratic states in the Middle East and North Africa, these states are looking for a leader. Many believe this is Turkey and Turkey itself is taking more of a role in the Middle East, especially in terms of Israel policy. I think it will be highly unlikely Turkey joins the EU because of this, and I think Turkey will likely look to other countries to form partnerships and alliances.

  8. I personally think that Turkey does not need to join the EU anymore because of its improvement economically and the way they can influence the North Africa and the rest of the Middle Eastern country; however, Turkey has a potential to be a positive impact during this financial crisis. In my opinion, Turkey is better off to be a leader in the Arab world and use its influence to help struggling countries for more hopeful future. I thought it was interesting to read that the Turkish President Abdullah Gül said “Turkey could offer the EU more than security assistance with its growing energy resources, population and dynamism, in an interview in Ankara with the British Sunday Telegraph newspaper released on Nov. 19.” Here is the article:

    Although it sounds very positive that the President Abdullah Gul is still interested in joining the EU, I do not think that Turkey will join if they were approved to join because Turkey can be better off just by itself and try to ally with its neighboring countries.

  9. Europe has essentially rejected Turkey because it sees a problem with being openly religious and part of their system. Perhaps it is far better because Turkey holds a unique spot to help outside of Europe- in the Middle East and beyond. Perhaps it will be a stabling influence for Iraq more so than if it were whisked away to the EU.

  10. Turkey’s goals haven’t changed. Turkey wants to increase its power and influence. European membership was attractive when Turkey felt like it could become more…everything—rich, strong, influential. Take your pick.

    Turkey doesn’t want to be involved in the liability that Europe has become. They do, however, see huge potential in the Middle East. Turkey has ALWAYS seen itself as the rightful leader of the Middle East. Turkey is the old Caliphate and it wants to be the new Caliphate.

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