Turkey and European Union Expansion: Economic Potential vs. Religious Differences The issue of whether or not to admit Turkey to the European Union has been a pressing issue for quite some time, even before the European Union existed in its current form. Ever since applying for admittance into the EEC in 1959, Turkey has been fighting to accede into Europe. The country has been an associated member of the European Community since 1964, following the signing of the Ankara Agreement in 1963. They have been trying to become full members since and officially applied for admittance on April 14, 1987.
Because the EC was in the midst of forming a politically and economically tight European Union, the EIJ did not consider Turkeys application until 1993. They were not a candidate country until 1999. The EIJ had outlined 35 chapters for the country to comply with before their admittance is decided on a vote. Though Turkey still has room to improve on several mandates as given by the EIJ, Turkish economic potential cannot be ignored. Europe and Turkey extensively trade between each other. Turkey and the EIJ already have free trade between each other. Turkeys exports and imports are mostly ith Europe.
In 2007, 56. 4% of Turkish exports were to the ELI, and 40. 8% of their imports were from the EIJ (Euro Comm). Once admitted as a full member of the European Union, the European common market will expand to include millions of new consumers as well as a large labor force. As a member of the European Union, Turkeys economy will continue its trend of economic growth. As of now, Turkey is able to export and import goods to and from Europe, but does not export many services. As of 2006, 63. 5% of Turkeys GDP came from services rather than agriculture and industry (Euro Comm).
Should the EIJ admit Turkey as a member, Turks will be able to freely cross the borders and provide service across Europe. With the influx of service workers into Europe, both Turkey and Europe, nations and corporations, will benefit. European countries will be able to receive services at low costs, and the Turkish economy will not be flooded with service workers. With the additions of the services aspect to Turkish exportation the Turkish GDP will be greatly supplemented and enable the country to expand their agricultural and industrial programs. European companies themselves have their own relations with Turkey.
FIAT, HSBC, Nokia, and many other companies have partners in Turkey, mainly because of the large economy and population. Companies in Turkey are also involved in Europe, such as Holding, which has many European investments. Geographically, Turkey can supply Europe with energy, safety, and stability. With energy supplies in Europe running low, Turkey will be a key asset for hydrocarbons. The Nabucco pipeline will be able to supply the EIJ with the resources from the Middle East, through Turkey, that they need in order to have a sufficient energy supply. This flow of resources is beneficial to both the EIJ and to Turkey.
With Turkey as a member state, the EIJ would receive energy at a fair cost while Turkey will have a included, will be better off with a reliable energy infrastructure that will prevent future energy crises, and lower energy costs, boosting the European economy. Located between Europe and Asia, Turkey can provide Europe with connections in other parts of the world. Turkey has good foreign relations in the Black Sea, Russia, Central Asia, the Middle East, and the Balkans. Utilizing Turkey as the Eurasian bridge between both the cultures and economies of East and West, Europe can expand their market.
It will be easier to trade with nations in these areas, generating a net increase in European exports. With increased exportation, comes increased production. As a whole, the EIJ has a strong economy, but with the addition of Turkey and its foreign connections, the European economy will become even stronger, helping it grow as a world power. In addition, Turkey has the second-largest army in NATO, representing a significant military presence as well that could help quell regional instability (Inst. Strat. Studies 2001). Admitting Turkey into the EIJ will benefit more than Just Europe and Turkey.
Having a predominately Islamic population, Turkey will bridge the gap between the western world and the world of Islam. Because of the secular government in place where religion is completely separated from the government, Turkey is a prime candidate. The EIJ and Turkey will send a message to the Islamic world that the two differing cultures can both work together in peace. Turkey has slowly moved towards democracy over the years, and they will become a true democracy once included in the ELI. Being admitted into the EIJ will show that regardless of cultures, countries can work together to achieve economic nd political unity.
Setting this example may even encourage other Islamic countries in the Middle East to move toward democracy. Cultural differences aside, economic and political ties between Europe and the Middle East, along with peaceful relationships, can be achieved with the accession of Turkey. Some countries in the EIJ are fearful of the large Islamic community in Turkey. If admitted, Turks will be able to freely migrate among European nations. Certain states in the EIJ believe that Muslims cannot fully assimilate into western society.
Also, if admitted, countries elieve that due to their large population, Turkey will have significantly stronger voting power than the smaller governments. They fear that although a secular democracy now, they may move back to their militaristic or religious governments that they had in the past. European countries want to ensure that the EIJ stays democratic, and free of religious influence. However, under the Nice Treaty, which currently determines voting power, if Croatia accedes as well, Turkey would have about the same voting power as Germany, France, Italy, Poland, Spain, and the U.
K. Therefore, if the Islamic community gained power in Turkey, although unlikely, the rest of the EIJ would still be highly influential, and could out-vote turkey if there was ever a problem. One of the main factors that makes Europe uneasy about accepting Turkey into the EIJ is Turkeys history of human rights violations. During World War One, there was mass killing of Kurds. Also, in the 1980s and 1990s, many citizens from rural parts of the country were moved to Southeastern Anatolia, followed by the burning of the vacant villages.
In 1991, Leyla Zana was the first Kurdish woman elected in the Turkish parliament. In 1994, she was sentenced to 15 years imprisonment for the oath of loyalty in Turkish. Following her inauguration, she said in Kurdish, “l take this oath in the name of fraternity between the Turkish and Kurdish peoples. ” There was a ban on speaking Kurdish in Parliament, as Turkish is the national language. Her actions were separatist propaganda, and she was also charged with being a member of the PPK, which classified her as a traitor.
Although the Kurdish genocide does not reflect the current form of Turkish government, the EIJ is concerned with the displacement of Turks and the imprisonment of Zana. What those in the EIJ do not understand is that these acts were done in Turkeys best interest. Even though the movement of rural Turks to Southeast Anatolia was a burden on those displaced, the government did so in order to protect its’ people from the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, also known as the PKK. The PPK is a separatist organization that violently fights for Kurdish independence, and they are regarded as a terrorist organization by the EIJ and the US.
Their goal is to form their own state, and break away from Turkey. If the Turks had not been moved from their homes, they would have been attacked by the PPK. The Turkish military proceeded to burn the villages so that they would be rendered useless to the PPK. Despite its unfortunate history, Turkey is looking to the future to enact the necessary reforms that would make EIJ membership a possibility. The EIJ requires that Turkey meet 35 chapters before accession, which politically appears to be almost an impossible task to achieve.
Both parties have started talks on eight of them, but the EIJ refuses to open negotiation on 27 of them until Turkey opens its ports and airports to Cyprus, as well as recognizing it as a country. Turkey as agreed to open its ports and airports to Cyprus, as long as the isolation of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus is put to an end. The EIJ tried to put forth legislation to open trade between the TRNC and the ELI, but Cyprus will not agree to the compromise. There is a long history between the Turks and the Greeks concerning Cyprus, with both countries claiming rightful ownership of the island.
Even though around the world Cyprus is seen as Greek, the fact remains that the island should not be under the Greek rule. When Cyprus gained independence from Britain in 1960, it was agreed by both Turkish and Greek Cypriots not to become nified with either Greece or Turkey. The constitution put in place set up a sovereign and independent republic. In 1963, the president, Mihail Christodoulou Mouskos, proposed thirteen amendments to the constitution in order to move power toward the Greeks. This action was highly unconstitutional and it enabled the Greeks to wrongfully push the Turks out of power.
It is only fair that Turkey be recognized as rightful owners of Northern Cyprus, but the Republic of Cyprus will not compromise. The inflexibility of the Cyprus government is the main hindrance for Turkeys struggle o Join the EIJ. Turkish accession to the European Union will have nothing but positive results. Turkey has been very cooperative with the ELI, and has been trading with Europe for decades. The majority of Turkeys imports and exports are with the ELI, and it has signed various agreements and treaties with Europe since the founding of the EEC.
Both Turkey and the EIJ have been working hard for years to negotiate and discuss the 35 chapters for accession, as well as working to compromise on issues such as trading with Cyprus and isolation of the TRNC. The Turkish government is willing to rder to move on with negotiations, but Greek Cyprus has not yet made any efforts to comply, even though Greece itself supports Turkeys accession into the ELI. Admitting Turkey into the European Union will propel Europe into the role of a super power. Their large market economy and their strong workforce will strengthen both economies.
With the addition of the Nabucco Pipeline, which may come as early as mid 2014, Europe will have a reliable source of energy for years to come, preventing energy crises, and lowering costs. Most importantly, Europe will have a member state with one of the largest militaries in the world and member that has ood relations with countries in regions that are not regularly involved with the ELI. This will promote expansion of the European economy, peaceful relations between nations, and will show Islamic nations that democracy works.
Denying Turkey accession to the EIJ not only prevents Europe from becoming a super power, it may also drive Turkey away from the western world, which will hurt the European economy, and may pose a threat to European safety. Once Turkey is able to get a better grasp on the reforms it must enact to Join the ELI, its membership candidacy should be taken much more seriously by the ELI. There is tremendous potential for Turkey to provide Europe with the economic and cultural bridge to the East which would immensely benefit all parties involved.
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