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European Integration and the Turkish Dilemma

Above all there two major issues that have to be addressed: •

Are Turkish identity and Turkish values compatible with full membership in the EU?

Which Turkey will accede and what will the EU be like when it does. In this regard it is important to assess different scenarios in relation to these changes.

In relation to Cyprus it is essential to recall that Turkey does not recognize the right of the Republic of Cyprus to exist. Furthermore we should mention the issue of the settlers, the occupation troops, the exploitation of Greek Cypriot properties, the destruction of Greek cultural heritage in occupied Cyprus. Also indicative of the problem is the recentTurkish Ministry of Education decision that Turkish Cypriots who study in high schools, colleges and Universities in the Republic of Cyprus will not be accepted at Turkish Universities. More recently there were press reports that the free movement of capital is also being violated. Moreover, the recent crisis in the Eastern Mediterranean and Ankara’s stance in relation to Cyprus’ exploration rights in its exclusive economic zone is indicative of an assertive and revisionist stance. The challenges for Turkey today The Cyprus question remains a serious obstacle to Turkey’s accession. Not only doesTurkey not recognize the Republic of Cyprus; but it continues to occupy, since the summer of 1974, almost 40 per cent of its territory. Even though (with the reserved consent of Cyprus), the EU started accession negotiations with Turkey in October 2005, Ankara still seems to be reluctant to implement even the minimal obligations undertaken in relation to Cyprus (and by extension the EU), which derive specifically from the Ankara Protocol and from European political culture in general. This behavior may be indicative of attitudes in Turkey – attitudes that seem to address these obligations in an a la carte manner and which do not bode well for how Turkey will operate once it joins the Union. Perhaps the strong support that Turkey has been receiving from various countries has encouraged this policy pattern. Nevertheless, as already mentioned earlier, in December 2006 the European Council froze eight negotiation chapters for Turkey. 76

ANDREAS THEOFANOUS

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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