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Turkey-EU Relations, Problems and Prospects

Turkish people support Arab Spring and sympathize with those who are fighting for freedom and democracy; but, obviously, the uprising and confrontations in our own region create security risks for Turkey. Further, we have unresolved problems with our neighbours--the Cyprus problem comes to mind, as does the Armenian issue, and the security situation in the Caucasus, especially after the suspension CFE Treaty. Our membership negotiations with the EU are stagnating. We started the negotiating process with the EU six years ago at the same time as Croatia, which has practically finished its negotiations and expects to join the EU family in 2013. Turkey was able to open so far only 13 chapters out of 35. The EU Council and some individual members have blocked 18 chapters. One country alone, France, has blocked five chapters, claiming that these may lead to full Turkish membership. In short, Turkey has achieved much, made much progress, and has made both tremendous progress while continuing to have some serious problems. The question is whether Turkish membership to the EU would ease European –Turkish relations, or strain them. The EU President, Prime Minister Olmert of Hungary, has said during the COSAC meeting held in Budapest at the end of May, that the only way to regain European competitiveness is to continue the enlargement of the Union. At that time, this author asked if there was not a contradiction between affirming this and, at the same time, blocking Turkish membership - a membership that would contribute to the competitiveness of Europe even more than other candidates thanks to its economic power and potential: •

A young, dynamic, and well-educated Turkish work force might also positively contribute to the solution of some social problems in Europe; for example, the impact of an aging population on its economy.

Turkey’s military power will certainly contribute to the building of a robust European army.

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ONUR OYMEN

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...

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