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Turkish Accession to the EU: the “Piranha’s” Threat and the German “Ghost” YIANNOS CHARALAMBIDES*

1. Introduction Since Kemal Ataturk established the Turkish Republic in 1923, all subsequent governments which came to power were devoted to a single aim: to drive their country towards Europe (Ahmad 1993, pp 52-53, 63). Once Ataturk consolidated his revolutionary regime, Turkey followed a European orientation although it was a Muslim state with a different cultural character and mentality (Giallourides 1999, pp. 56-62). On October 3, 2005 the European Council gave the green light to Turkey to push forward its political and strategic aspirations as the European leaders decided to open the procedure of Turkish accession negotiations with the EU (Council of the European Union 2005). Turkey was the first state with a Muslim cultural character and mentality on the EU doorstep. This Muslim identity and different mentality seems to be a significant obstacle and a pretext that hinders Turkey from attaining full membership. Hereupon, a relevant question is raised and focuses on whether Turkish and European mentality and culture could harmoniously coexist in the institutional and social frame of the EU (Charalambides 2010, pp. 65-70, Legendijk 2007, cited in Charalambides p. 70). Certainly, cultural diversities are not the only difficulty and barrier that Turkey faces in achieving its European strategic goal. The fundamental issue that Turkey should deal with, focuses on the problems stemming from the policies, which are implemented by the traditional EU leading countries and rely on the concept of the “power game’s” theory. The relevant question is whether the EU leading countries, and especially France and Germany are ready to share with Turkey the power that they now enjoy within the EU. Turkey presents itself as a regional power (Obama 2009), and most probably it will be one of the main EU leading countries if it joins the EU as a full member state (Charalambides, 2010 pp. 144-147). From a historical and strategic point of view, Turkish accession to the EU reminds * Doctor of International Relations and European Studies.

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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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