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Turkey and the EU – The Frequently Asked Questions

28th March 2016

Turkey’s relationship with the EU is complicated to say the least and you may have heard many different things about Turkey’s relationship. Turkey is often the victim of misconceptions and this has spread to its relationship with the EU.

I myself have heard many conflicting opinions from friends and family for example some have said Turkey is leaving the EU, Turkey is applying for membership and some believe Turkey is already a member and has been for years.

So like I said it’s complicated but Turkey’s relationship with the EU is something every expat or potential expat should try to have a least a basic knowledge of. So to help clear away any misconceptions let’s look at some of the most frequently asked questions about Turkey and the EU.


“Is Turkey a member of the EU?”
No Turkey is not currently a member of the EU and it has never been a member before either, however that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have any sort of relationship with the EU. For example the recent refugee deal that was done between Turkey and the EU, and Turkey has been an associate member since the 1960’s. This means it’s eligible to be considered for full membership.


“Has Turkey applied to become a member?”
Negotiations for Turkey to become a member of the EU started in late 2005, but progress has been slow and there are many arguments for and against membership. Currently Turkey’s membership status is classified as being in the “negotiation” phase.


“How does the Turkish public view the EU?”
Like any country the public’s reaction to the EU is mixed and there are many passionate arguments for and against membership. The opening of talks for membership was celebrated by many in Turkey but as the process as dragged on public opinion as become more sceptical.
A Transatlantic Trends survey carried out in 2013 showed that 60% of Turks have an unfavourable view of the EU. However in the same survey it was found that 44% of Turks did believe that EU membership could be good for the economy.


“Why does Turkey want to join the EU?”
Becoming a member of the EU can offer boosts in many ways and there are indeed many perks to membership. One of Turkey’s primary reasons for requesting membership is because of the amount of Turkish people in Europe and because of the importance of trading between the two.
When asked if Turkey still wished to become an EU member in 2012 Turkish Prime Minister Erdoğan said the following: "There are 5 million Turks in Europe and 3 million Turks in Germany alone. We are a natural member of the European Union”
He followed up by saying: “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”


“So will Turkey become a member of the EU?”
While Turkey’s application as certainly been slow it is still on-going however other countries have been vocal in their disagreement of Turkey becoming a member and public opinion as suffered over time. This doesn’t mean that Turkey won’t become member in the end but you do have to wonder how much longer they’ll wait for a decision.


Written by David Varty - YellAli Content Team






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