Journal of International Relations, European, Economic and Social Studies
ture of European countries. Despite a relative decline, compared to other economic power centres, Europe will continue to be one of the most important economic forces in the world. That is why a number of European nations, including Turkey, still wish to join the EU. Turkey Turkey has made tremendous progress economically, educationally, technologically, industrially, and in terms of defense. However, a number of serious problems persist. Most importantly, Turkey evidences some shortcomings in terms of its democracy. In general our democratic standards today are not at the level we deserve; in the last decade, they have even declined in terms of freedom of the press and gender equality. If you look at the findings of several, reliable international organizations and think tanks, Turkey ranks below a number of Western democracies. There is a lively discussion going on in Turkey regarding the need for further democratization and the need for the preparation of a new constitution. Fifty-seven journalists are currently in jail, together with professors, party leaders, officers, military officers, lawyers and intellectuals. All are awaiting sentencing from trials that were initiated as far back as four years ago. Although the ruling party won a clear majority in the elections of 12 June, garnering about half of the votes, many people in Turkey question the election process, as we still have a 10% threshold. Economically, Turkey has recovered from the setbacks of the international crisis to a large extent and has continued to increase its gross national product for the last six quarters. The rate of its growth is among the highest in the G-20 countries. Still we continue to suffer from high unemployment (more than ten per cent.) There are reports from international media about an â€œoverheatingâ€? of the Turkish economy. In terms of the population, Turkey has a serious problem vis Ă vis income distribution among its citizens as well as income distribution by region. Life expectancy in different parts of the country varies substantially. The informal economy is yet another problem. We continue to face attacks from terrorist organizations based in Northern Iraq. Turkey on the European doorstep
A Publication based on the International Conference organised at the European Parliament/Brussels by Dr. ELENI THEOCHAROUS, Member of the Eu...