Turkey and the European union
Let us begin this by looking at what the EU wants from Turkey. The criteria for EU membership adopted by the Copenhagen European Council in June 1993 require that a candidate country has achieved stability of institutions guaranteeing democracy, the rule of law, human rights, and respect for and protection of minorities; has a functioning market economy as well as the capacity to cope with competitive pressure and market forces within the Union; and has the ability to take on the obligations of membership, including adherence to the aims of political, economic and monetary union.
Thus we can look at what Turkey is facing now. The main problem that faces Turkey is that it is still not a functioning and stable democracy that has the rule of law, that is respecting human rights and protecting minorities. The sporadic disappearances of people in the custody of the authorities and also the suppression of the right of free press and expression in connection with the Kurdish problem has been a stalemate. Also the EU’s concerns about the role of the army in political life have to be addressed. Furthermore, under the democracy and human rights agenda Turkeys not so disturbing actions towards its own Kurdish citizens and their rights in a modern democracy is another tripping stone for it, So a solid problem in connection with government and rule persists.
A growing Islamist movement and the continuing gain in popularity of the pro-Islamic political parties is another problem that Turkey faces at home, the European Union not taking too kindly to such orientation inside Turkey. Radicalism of this sort is definitely a minus point in their bid for membership. Here too we see the connection with government and law. This growth of support for such movements may be attributed to the blatant European rejection of Turkey at the Luxembourg summit. People have grown weary of continuous rejection and probably the growth in popularity for the alternative parties an be attributed to such matters.
Finally the Turkish economic burden on the EU’s budget represents the greatest obstacle for its membership in the union. Once a member Turkey would qualify for assistance from the EU funding bodies and could bankrupt the EU funds for such areas as economic improvement and structural growth. The admission of Turkey would release a flood of economic refugees into the other member states. This is not something that Europe would look forward too. Turkey still has to cope with, such as high inflation rates and rising public debts, which have remained comparatively static. High unemployment within Turkey have meant that the government has been reluctant to continue its privatization policies until the employment situation improves. Therefore, as a result of Turkey’s weak economic infrastructure, it will become a loss rather than gain to the EU were it to become a member.
In conclusion I think Turkey will not be admitted to the EU in the near future but
a definite possibility in the long run. On the political side its democracy still fails to meet Western standards in terms of individual civil and political rights, it is clearly more developed than most of the other current candidate countries’ political system. Also key to the improvement of candidacy status have been the abatement of repression on the Kurds. A further positive sign has been the, for a revision of the constitution, and such legislative action as well. It only remains to wait and see.
1.Readings from course packet
2. Moustakis, Fotis, Contemporary Review v. 273 no1592 (Sept. 1998) DePaul lib databases.
3. European Union Country Report (EIU), 1999 4th Quarter, p16, 4p, DePaul lib data bases