The Importance Of Turkey In The European Union

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Since the rise and fall of ancient civilisations, Turkey has fulfilled a unique role as the crossroad between the Eastern and Western worlds, both geographically, and geopolitically. To this day Turkey still maintains that role as a country that is not truly Eastern, nor particularly Western either, but a measured combination of the two. Due to this unique position, Turkey has had numerous opportunities as a candidate to gain accession to the European Union (EU). Despite this, Turkey’s bid to enter the EU has been refuted in the face of numerous obstacles and events that have prevented its accession, both within the official written criteria of the European Commission, as well as the possibly more prevalent, informal “attitudes” carried by …show more content…
Due to the massive influence of Mustafa Kemal on the construction and survival of this new state, Turkey found its foundations as a European-styled, strictly secular state, built upon an inheritance of primarily Middle-Eastern culture and heritage. Turkey continued to show its willingness to continue strengthening its European influences in the decades following its establishment. With the looming threat of the USSR following World War II, Turkey allied itself with the US and Western Europe by joining NATO in 1952 . Europe then saw the establishment of the European Economic Community (EEC) in 1957, which would formally become the EU in 1993. Turkey took the opportunity of strengthening its ties to the west, and applied for associate membership in 1959, and the granting of this associate relationship was known as the Ankara Agreement. In 1987 Turkey then applied for full membership into the EEC. However it from here that problems began to arise in Turkish-EU negotiations. Although the EEC acknowledged their desire for Turkey’s eventual full membership, they cited poor relations with EEC member Greece and the conflict over Cyprus, as well as political and economic instability within Turkey itself as a reason to delay the process. These reasons continued to hamper Turkey’s accession negotiations for years, and even to this day, some of these reasons still …show more content…
The formal requirements for Turkey’s accession to the EU came in the form of negotiating adherence to the “acquis communautaire” (body of law) of the EU, of which they must achieve 33 of 35 chapters, which requires that Turkey perform significant reforms to a large manner of state matters such as freedom of goods, persons and services, science and research, financial control and justice, freedom and security. Upon satisfying enough of these chapters, a unanimous agreement between member-states of the EU must be reached to allow Turkey’s accession. However, leading up to and since 2005 then Turkey progress of reform has slowed to the point where some have labelled it ‘reform fatigue’. Numerous reasons have been raised for this slowdown in reform, namely the swings in EU public opinion have had a negative effect on Turkey’s own public, as well as the use of EU-orientated reform being used as a political tool of parties within Turkey, with the AKP rallying behind EU accession, and their nationalist opponents quick to criticize the process . Patton outlined the Turkish public’s feeling towards the accession process leading up to the 2005

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