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Turkish EU accession bid
Turkish EU accession logo.svg
European Union Turkey Locator.svg
EU Turkey
PPP GDP ($bl.) 15,247,000 1,028.897[1]
Area (km²) 4,324,782 814,578
Population 501,259,840 71,517,100
Opened chapters: 13
Closed chapters: 1

Turkey's application to accede to the European Union was made on 14 April 1987. Turkey has been an associate member of the European Union (EU) and its predecessors since 1963.[2] After the ten founding members, Turkey was one of the first countries to become a member of the Council of Europe in 1949, and was also a founding member of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) in 1961[3] and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) in 1973. The country has also been an associate member of the Western European Union since 1992, and is a part of the "Western Europe" branch of the Western European and Others Group (WEOG) at the United Nations. Turkey signed a Customs Union agreement with the EU in 1995 and was officially recognised as a candidate for full membership on 12 December 1999, at the Helsinki summit of the European Council. Negotiations were started on 3 October 2005, and the process, should it be in Turkey's favour, is likely to take at least a decade to complete.[4] The membership bid has become a major controversy of the ongoing enlargement of the European Union.[5]




After the Ottoman Empire's collapse following World War I, Turkish revolutionaries led by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk emerged victorious in the Turkish War of Independence, establishing the modern Turkish Republic as it exists today. Atatürk, then Prime Minister and later President of Turkey, implemented a series of reforms, including secularization and industrialization, intended to modernize the country.[6] During World War II, Turkey remained neutral until February 1945, when it joined the Allies. The country took part in the Marshall Plan of 1947, became a member of the Council of Europe in 1949,[7] and a member of NATO in 1952.[8] During the Cold War, Turkey allied itself with the United States and Western Europe.


The country first applied for associate membership in the European Economic Community in 1959, and on 12 September 1963 signed the "Agreement Creating An Association Between The Republic of Turkey and the European Economic Community", also known as the Ankara Agreement. This agreement came into effect the following year on 12 December 1964. The Ankara Agreement sought to integrate Turkey into a customs union with the EEC whilst acknowledging the final goal of membership.[6] In November 1970, a further protocol called the "Additional Protocol" established a timetable for the abolition of tariffs and quotas on goods traded between Turkey and the EEC.[6]

On 14 April 1987, Turkey submitted its application for formal membership into the European Community. The European Commission responded in December 1989 by confirming Ankara’s eventual membership but also by deferring the matter to more favorable times, citing Turkey’s economic and political situation, as well its poor relations with Greece and the conflict with Cyprus as creating an unfavorable environment with which to begin negotiations.[9] This position was confirmed again in the Luxembourg European Council of 1997 in which accession talks were started with central and eastern European states and Cyprus, but not Turkey. During the 1990s, Turkey proceeded with a closer integration with the European Union by agreeing to a customs union in 1995. Moreover, the Helsinki European Council of 1999 proved a milestone as the EU recognised Turkey as a candidate on equal footing with other potential candidates.


The next significant step in Turkey–EU relations came with the December 2002 Copenhagen European Council.[10] According to it, "the EU would open negotiations with Turkey 'without delay' if the European Council in December 2004, on the basis of a report and a recommendation from the Commission, decides that Turkey fulfills the Copenhagen political criteria."[10]

The European Commission recommended that the negotiations should begin in 2005, but also added various precautionary measures. The EU leaders agreed on 16 December 2004 to start accession negotiations with Turkey from 3 October 2005.[11] Despite an offer from the Austrian People's Party and the German Christian Democratic Union of a privileged partnership status, a less than full membership, EU accession negotiations were officially launched.[12]

Turkey's accession talks have since been stalled by a number of domestic and external problems. Both Austria and France have said they would hold a referendum on Turkey's accession. In the case of France, a change in its Constitution was made to impose such a referendum.[13] The issue of Cyprus continues to be a major obstacle to negotiations.[14] European officials have commented on the slowdown in Turkish reforms which, combined with the Cyprus problem, led the EU’s Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn in March 2007 to warn of an impeding ‘train crash’ in the negotiations.[15] Due to these setbacks, negotiations again came to a halt in December 2006, with the EU freezing talks in 8 of the 35 key areas under negotiation.[16]


The earliest date that Turkey could enter the EU is 2013, the date when the next financial perspectives (the EU's six year budgetary perspectives) will come into force. Ankara is currently aiming to comply with EU law by this date,[17] but Brussels has refused to back 2013 as a deadline.[18] In 2006 European Commission President José Manuel Barroso said that the accession process will take at least until 2021.[19]


Turkey joined the Council of Europe in 1949 and is regarded as a founding member of the organization.
31 July 1959 – Turkey applies for associate membership in the European Economic Community.
12 September 1963Association Agreement signed, acknowledging the final goal of membership.
1 December 1964 – Association Agreement comes into effect.[6]
23 November 1970 – Protocol signed providing a timetable for the abolition of tariffs and quotas on goods.
1980 – Freeze in relations following the 1980 Turkish coup d'état.
1983 – Relations fully restored following elections.
14 April 1987 – Application for formal membership into the European Community.
18 December 1989 – European Commission refuses to immediately begin accession negotiations, citing Turkey’s economic and political situation, poor relations with Greece and their conflict with Cyprus, but overall reaffirming eventual membership as the goal.
6 March 1995European Union-Turkey Customs Union is formed.
12 December 1999European Council recognises Turkey as a candidate on equal footing with other potential candidates.
12 December 2002 – European Council states that "the EU would open negotiations with Turkey 'without delay' if Turkey fulfills the Copenhagen criteria."
2004 – Turkey & Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus back the Annan Plan for Cyprus.
17 December 2004European Union agrees to start negotiations.
3 October 2005 – Opening of 6 chapters of the Acquis: Right of Establishment & Freedom To Provide Services, Company Law, Financial Services, Information Society & Media, Statistics, and Financial Control.
12 June 2006 – Chapter on Science & Research opened and closed.
11 December 2006 – Continued dispute over Cyprus prompts the EU to freeze talks on 8 chapters and state that no chapters would be closed until a resolution is found.[20]
29 March 2007 – Chapter on Enterprise & Industrial Policy opened.[21]
25 June 2007 – Chapter on Statistics & Financial Control opened, but the opening of the chapter on Economic & Monetary Policy was blocked by French President Nicolas Sarkozy.[22]
20 December 2007 – Chapters on Health & Consumer Protection and Trans-European Networks are opened.[23]
17 June 2008 – Chapters on Company Law and Intellectual Property Law are opened.[24]
19 December 2008 – Chapters on Economic & Monetary Policy and Information Society & Media are opened.[25]
30 June 2009 – Chapter on Taxation is opened.[26]
8 December 2009 – Chapter on Environment is opened.[27]

Status of the acquis chapters

To accede to the EU, Turkey must first successfully complete negotiations with the European Commission on each of the 35 chapters of the acquis communautaire, the total body of EU law. Afterwards, the member states must unanimously agree on granting Turkey membership to the European Union.

Acquis chapter EC Assessment At Start Screening Started Screening Completed Chapter Opened Chapter Closed Chapter Frozen
1. Free Movement of Goods Further efforts needed 16.1.2006 24.2.2006 11.12.2006
2. Freedom of Movement For Workers Very hard to adopt 19.7.2006 11.9.2006 8/12/2009 (by CY)
3. Right of Establishment For Companies & Freedom To Provide Services Very hard to adopt 21.11.2005 20.12.2005 3.10.2005 11.12.2006
4. Free Movement of Capital Further efforts needed 25.11.2005 22.12.2005
5. Public Procurement Totally incompatible with acquis 7.11.2005 28.11.2005
6. Company Law Considerable efforts needed 21.6.2006 20.7.2006 17.6.2008
7. Intellectual Property Law Further efforts needed 6.2.2006 3.3.2006 17.6.2008
8. Competition Policy Very hard to adopt 8.11.2005 2.12.2005
9. Financial Services Considerable efforts needed 29.3.2006 3.5.2006 3.10.2005 11.12.2006
10. Information Society & Media Further efforts needed 12.6.2006 14.7.2006 19.12.2008
11. Agriculture & Rural Development Very hard to adopt 5.12.2005 26.1.2006 11.12.2006
12. Food Safety, Veterinary & Phytosanitary Policy Very hard to adopt 9.3.2006 28.4.2006
13. Fisheries Very hard to adopt 24.2.2006 31.3.2006 11.12.2006
14. Transport Policy Considerable efforts needed 26.6.2006 28.9.2006 11.12.2006
15. Energy Considerable efforts needed 15.5.2006 16.6.2006 8/12/2009 (by CY)
16. Taxation Considerable efforts needed 6.6.2006 12.7.2006 30.6.2009
17. Economic & Monetary Policy Considerable efforts needed 16.2.2006 23.3.2006 19.12.2008
18. Statistics Considerable efforts needed 19.6.2006 18.7.2006 25.6.2007
19. Social Policy & Employment Considerable efforts needed 8.2.2006 22.3.2006
20. Enterprise & Industrial Policy No major difficulties expected 27.3.2006 5.5.2006 29.3.2007
21. Trans-European Networks Considerable efforts needed 30.6.2006 29.9.2006 19.12.2007
22. Regional Policy & Coordination of Structural Instruments Considerable efforts needed 11.9.2006 10.10.2006
23. Judiciary & Fundamental Rights Considerable efforts needed 7.9.2006 13.10.2006 8/12/2009 (by CY)
24. Justice, Freedom & Security Considerable efforts needed 23.1.2006 15.2.2006 8/12/2009 (by CY)
25. Science & Research No major difficulties expected 20.10.2005 14.11.2005 12.6.2006 12.6.2006
26. Education & Culture Further efforts needed 26.10.2005 16.11.2005 8/12/2009 (by CY)
27. Environment Totally incompatible with acquis 3.4.2006 2.6.2006 21.12.2009[28]
28. Consumer & Health Protection Further efforts needed 8.6.2006 11.7.2006 19.12.2007 -
29. Customs Union No major difficulties expected 31.1.2006 14.03.2006 11.12.2006
30. External Relations No major difficulties expected 10.7.2006 13.9.2006 11.12.2006
31. Foreign, Security & Defence Policy Further efforts needed 14.9.2006 6.10.2006 8/12/2009 (by CY)
32. Financial Control Further efforts needed 18.5.2006 30.6.2006 3.10.2005
33. Financial & Budgetary Provisions No major difficulties expected 6.9.2006 4.10.2006
34. Institutions Nothing to adopt
35. Other Issues Nothing to adopt
Progress 14 out of 33[29] 1 out of 33[29]

Turkish membership issues

Effect upon the EU

Global map of the European continent (light green) and Turkey (dark green)
The Nabucco pipeline will deliver natural gas from the Caspian Sea basin to the EU member states.

Proponents of Turkey's membership argue that it is a key regional power[30][31] with a large economy and the second largest military force of NATO[32][33] that will enhance the EU's position as a global geostrategic player; given Turkey's geographic location and economic, political, cultural and historic ties in regions with large natural resources that are at the immediate vicinity of the EU's geopolitical sphere of influence; such as the East Mediterranean and Black Sea coasts, the Middle East, the Caspian Sea basin and Central Asia.[34][35]

The Turkish high-speed railway network and the Marmaray tunnel can play an important role in improving trade and commerce between the EU and Turkey.

According to the Swedish foreign minister, Carl Bildt, "the accession of Turkey would give the EU a decisive role for stability in the eastern part of the Mediterranean and the Black Sea, which is clearly in the strategic interest of Europe."[36] One of Turkey's key supporters for its bid to join the EU is the United Kingdom.[37]

Upon joining the EU, Turkey's 71 million inhabitants would bestow the second largest number of MEPs in the European Parliament.[15] Demographic projections indicate that Turkey would surpass Germany in the number of seats by 2020.[15]

Turkey's membership would also affect future enlargement plans, especially the number of nations seeking EU membership,[15] grounds on which Valéry Giscard d'Estaing has opposed Turkey's admission. Giscard has suggested that it would lead to demands for accession by Morocco. Morocco's application is already rejected on geographic grounds; while Turkey, unlike Morocco, has a small amount of territory in Europe. French President Nicolas Sarkozy stated in January 2007 that "enlarging Europe with no limit risks destroying European political union, and that I do not accept...I want to say that Europe must give itself borders, that not all countries have a vocation to become members of Europe, beginning with Turkey which has no place inside the European Union."[38]

EU member states must unanimously agree on Turkey's membership for the Turkish accession to be successful. A number of nations may oppose it; notably Austria, which historically served as a bulwark for Christian Europe against the Ottoman Empire whose armies twice laid siege to Vienna in 1529 and 1683; and France, where some are anxious at the prospect of a new wave of Muslim immigrants, given the country's already large Muslim community.

Negotiations to remove the French constitutional requirement for a compulsory referendum on all EU accessions after Croatia resulted in a new proposal to require a compulsory referendum on the accession of any country with a population of more than 5% of the EU's total population; this clause would mainly apply to Turkey and Ukraine.[39] The French Senate, however, blocked the change in the French constitution, in order to maintain good relations with Turkey.[40]

Bosphorus Bridge connecting Europe and Asia, with the skyline of Levent financial district in Istanbul, as seen from Çamlıca Hill.


Levent financial district in Istanbul, the largest city and economic capital of Turkey, and the former capital of the Roman (330–395), Byzantine (395–1204 and 1261–1453), Latin (1204–1261) and Ottoman (1453–1922) Empires.

Turkey has the world's 15th largest GDP-PPP[41] and 17th largest Nominal GDP.[42] The country is a founding member of the OECD and the G-20 major economies.

Turkish exports in 2006: 56.5% of Turkey's exports are to the European Union member states.

Turkey has taken advantage of a customs union with the European Union, signed in 1995, to increase its industrial production destined for exports, while at the same time benefiting from EU-origin foreign investment into the country.[43] In 2008, Turkey's exports reached 141.8 billion USD[44] (main export partners: Germany 11.2%, UK 8%, Italy 6.95%, France 5.6%, Spain 4.3%, USA 3.88%; total EU exports 56.5%.) However, larger imports amounting to about 204.8 billion USD[44] threaten the balance of trade (main import partners: Russia 13.8%, Germany 10.3%, China 7.8%, Italy 6%, USA 4.8%, France 4.6%, Iran 3.9%, UK 3.2%; total EU imports 40.4%; total Asia imports 27%).[45][46]

The opening of talks regarding the Economic and Monetary Policy acquis chapter of Turkey's accession bid was expected to begin in June 2007, but were stalled by France.[47]


İstiklal Avenue in Istanbul's cosmopolitan Beyoğlu district is visited by an average of 3 million people on weekend days.

As of 2005, the population of Turkey stood at 71.5 million with a yearly growth rate of 1.5%.[48][49] The Turkish population is relatively young, with 25.5% falling within the 0–15 age bracket.[50]

Turkey's large population would alter the balance of power in the representative European institutions. Upon joining the EU, Turkey's 70 million inhabitants would bestow it the second largest number of MEPs in the European Parliament.[51] Demographic projections indicate that Turkey would surpass Germany in the number of seats by 2020.[51]

Foreign relations with EU member states


The island of Cyprus was divided as a result of the Turkish invasion on 20 July 1974. Since then, Turkey has refused to acknowledge the Republic of Cyprus (an EU member since 2004) as the sole authority on the island, and recognizes the self-declared Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus since its establishment in 1983. The Turkish invasion in 1974 and the resulting movement of refugees along both sides of the Green Line; and the establishment of the self-declared Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus in 1983 form the core issues which surround the ongoing Cyprus dispute.

The self-declared Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus is recognized only by Turkey.

Turkey and the Turkish Cypriots backed the 2004 Annan Plan for Cyprus aimed at the reunification of the island, but the plan was subsequently rejected by Greek Cypriots on the grounds that it did not meet their needs. According to Greek Cypriots, the latest proposal included maintained residence rights for the many Anatolian Turks who moved to Cyprus after the invasion (and their descendants who were born on the island after 1974), while the Greek Cypriots who lost their property after the Turkish invasion would be granted only a restricted right of return to the north following the island's proposed reunification.[citation needed] Although the outcome received much criticism in the EU as well, the Republic of Cyprus was admitted into the EU a week after the referendum.

The Turkish government has refused to officially recognise the Republic of Cyprus until the removal of the political and economic blockade on the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.[citation needed] Turkey's non-recognition of the Republic of Cyprus has led to complications within the Customs Union. Under the customs agreements which Turkey had already signed as a precondition to start EU membership negotiations in 2005, it is obliged to open its ports to Cypriot planes and vessels, but Turkey refuses to do this.[52]

Turkey’s refusal to implement a trade pact between Turkey and the EU that requires the Turkish Government allow Greek Cypriot vessels to use its air and sea ports has prompted the EU to freeze eight chapters in Turkey’s accession talks.[52]

In November 2009, Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Cemil Cicek said "Either Cyprus or the EU, [then] Turkey’s choice will forever be to stand next to the Turkish Cypriots. Everybody should understand this." [52]


Greece has been supportive overall of Turkish membership, with Greek Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis declaring, "full compliance, full accession" in December 2006.[53] In 2005 the European Commission referred to relations between Turkey and Greece as "continuing to develop positively"[54] while also citing the lack of progress made by Turkey in dropping their claim of casus belli over a dispute about territorial waters boundaries.[54]

Recognition of Genocides in the Ottoman Empire

The Republic of Turkey, as the successor state of the Ottoman Empire, continues to deny the word genocide is an accurate description of the events of the Armenian, Assyrian and Greek genocides.[55] In recent years, it has faced repeated calls to accept the events as genocide. To date, twenty countries have officially recognized the events of the period as genocide, and most genocide scholars and historians accept this view.[56][57][58][59]


Originally a church, later a mosque, and now a museum, the 6th century Hagia Sophia built by Justinian was the largest ever cathedral building in the world for a thousand years, until the completion of the Seville Cathedral in Spain.

Turkey has a secular constitution, with no official state religion.[60] Nominally, though, 99% of the Turkish population is Muslim[61][62] of whom over 70% belong to the Sunni branch of Islam. A sizeable minority, about over 25% of the Muslim population, is affiliated with the Shi'a Alevi branch.[63] The Christians (Eastern Orthodox, Catholic, Gregorian, Syriac, Protestant) and Jews (Sephardic, Ashkenazi) were formerly sizable religious minorities in the country. Turkey would be the first Muslim-majority country to join the European Union, although Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Kosovo are also Muslim-majority, and have been recognized as potential candidate countries.[64]

Official population census polls in Turkey do not include information regarding a person's religious belief or ethnic background due to the regulations set by the Turkish constitution, which defines all citizens of the Republic of Turkey as Turkish in terms of nationality, regardless of faith or race.[65]

There is a strong tradition of secularism in Turkey. The state has no official religion nor promotes any, and actively monitors the area between the religions.[66] The constitution recognizes the freedom of religion for individuals, whereas religious communities are placed under the protection of the state; but the constitution explicitly states that they cannot become involved in the political process (by forming a religious party, for instance) or establish faith-based schools. No party can claim that it represents a form of religious belief; nevertheless, religious sensibilities are generally represented through conservative parties.[66] Turkey prohibits by law the wearing of religious headcover and theo-political symbolic garments for both sexes in government buildings, schools, and universities;[67] the law was upheld by the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights as "legitimate" in the Leyla Şahin v. Turkey case on 10 November 2005.[68]

Article 301

Article 301 states that "a person who publicly insults the Turkish nation, the State of the Republic of Turkey, or the Grand National Assembly of Turkey, shall be punishable by imprisonment of between six months and two years" and also that "expressions of thought intended to criticise shall not constitute a crime."

The EU was especially critical of this law during the September 2005 trial of novelist Orhan Pamuk over comments that recognized the deaths of thirty thousand Kurds and a million Armenians. Enlargement commissioner Olli Rehn and members of the European Parliament called the case "regrettable", "most unfortunate", and "unacceptable".[69] After the case was dropped three months later, Turkey's Foreign Minister Abdullah Gül indicated that Turkey may abandon or modify Article 301, stating that "there may be need for a new law".[70] In September 2006, the European Parliament called for the abolition of laws, such as Article 301, "which threaten European free speech norms".[71] On April 30, 2008, the law was reformed.[72] According to the reform, it is now a crime to explicitly insult the "Turkish nation" rather than "Turkishness"; opening court cases based on Article 301 require the approval of the Justice Minister; and the maximum punishment has been reduced to two years in jail.[72]

Kemal Kerinçsiz, an ultra-nationalist lawyer, and other members of Büyük Hukukçular Birliği (Great Jurists Union) headed by Kerinçsiz, have been "behind nearly all of [Article 301] trials."[73] In January 2008, Kerinçsiz was arrested for participating in an ultra-nationalist underground organization, Ergenekon, allegedly behind the attacks on the Turkish Council of State and Cumhuriyet newspaper,[74] the assassination of several Christian missionaries and Armenian-Turkish journalist Hrant Dink,[75] as well as allegedly plotting the assassination of Nobel laureate Orhan Pamuk.[76][77]

Women's rights

Eighteen female MPs joined the Turkish Parliament with the 1935 general elections, at a time when women in a significant number of other European countries had voting rights for the local municipal elections, but not for the national parliamentary elections. In 1993 Tansu Çiller became the first female Prime Minister of Turkey.

Turkey gave women the right to vote in 1930 for municipal elections. In 1934 this right was expanded for the national elections, while women were also given the right for becoming elected as MPs in the Turkish Parliament, or for being appointed as Ministers, Prime Minister, Speaker of the Parliament and President of the Republic. In 1993 Tansu Çiller became the first female Prime Minister of Turkey.

In its second report on women's role in social, economic and political life in Turkey, the European Parliament emphasized that respecting human rights, including women’s rights, is a condition sine qua non for Turkey's membership of the EU. According to the report, Turkey's legal framework on women's rights "has in general been satisfactory, but its substantive implementation remains flawed."[78]

Conscientious objectors

Turkey is one of the two states (with Azerbaijan) among the 47 members of the Council of Europe which has refused to recognize the status of conscientious objectors or give them an alternative to military service.[79]

Public reactions

In the EU

Public opinion in EU countries generally opposes Turkish membership, though with varying degrees of intensity. The Eurobarometer September-October 2006 survey [80] shows that 59% of EU-27 citizens are against Turkey joining the EU, while only about 28% are in favour. Nearly all citizens (about 9 in 10) expressed concerns about human rights as the leading cause. In the earlier March-May 2006 Eurobarometer, citizens from the new member states were more in favour of Turkey joining (44% in favour) than the old EU-15 (38% in favour). At the time of the survey, the country whose population most strongly opposed Turkish membership was Austria (con: 81%), while Romania was most in favour of the accession (pro: 66%). On a wider political scope, the highest support comes from the Turkish Cypriot Community (pro: 67%) (which is not recognised as sovereign state and is de facto not EU territory and out of the European institutions). These communities are even more in favour of the accession than the Turkish populace itself (pro: 54%).[81] Opposition in Denmark to Turkish membership was polled at 60% in October 2007, despite the Danish government's support for Turkey's EU bid.[82]

In Turkey

The opening of membership talks with the EU in December 2004 was celebrated by Turkey with much fanfare,[83] but the Turkish populace has become increasingly skeptical as negotiations are delayed based on what it views as lukewarm support for its accession to the EU and alleged double standards in its negotiations particularly with regard to the French and Austrian referendums. A mid-2006 Eurobarometer survey revealed that 43% of Turkish citizens view the EU positively; just 35% trust the EU, 45% support enlargement and just 29% support an EU constitution.[84]

Official points of view

  • On November 4, 2009 David Miliband, the Foreign Secretary of the United Kingdom, during a visit to Turkey underlined the UK government's support for Turkey's bid to join the European Union, saying:[85] "I am very clear that Turkish accession to the EU is important and will be of huge benefit to both Turkey and the EU."
  • Current French President, Nicolas Sarkozy, unlike his predecessor, opposes the entrance of Turkey in the European Union, but wishes Turkey to remain a partner of Europe. He has also often mentioned geographical reasons to justify his position, thus saying "I do not believe that Turkey belongs to Europe, and for a simple reason: because it is in Asia Minor. What I wish to offer Turkey is a true partnership with Europe, but not integration into Europe".[86]
  • German Chancellor Angela Merkel has advocated a privileged partnership and has opposed full membership of Turkey to the EU.[87][88] In 2006, Chancellor Merkel said "Turkey could be in deep, deep trouble when it comes to its aspirations to join the European Union" regarding its refusal to open up its ports to European Union member Cyprus.[89]
  • On April 5, 2009, Spanish Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero stated that "Spain firmly supports Turkey’s candidature to enter the EU, provided it meets the necessary requisites."[90] Zapatero told Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan that "Spain’s position is 'firm, clear and solid' in favour of Turkey’s candidature to enter the European Union."[90] "We must 'open the door' for Turkey to enter 'the EU peace and cooperation project', provided it meets the necessary requisites for integration," Zapatero added;[90] before remarking that "Turkey’s entrance is good both for Turkey and for the EU."[90]
  • On November 13, 2008, the Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi urged the EU to "accelerate Turkey's membership bid" and pledged to "help Ankara gain accession."[91] Berlusconi pledged to "try and win over those EU members resistant to Turkey’s application."[91] "Regarding the opposition shown by certain countries – some of which are important countries – I am confident we will be able to convince them of the strategic importance of Turkey, within the European framework, as a country bordering the Middle East," Berlusconi declared.[91]
  • On November 5, 2008, the Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini declared that "the Italian government will support the inclusion of Turkey in the European Union with all its strength."[92] He indicated that "the Italian Parliament will give a 'clear word' when necessary with the 'enormous majority' of the Berlusconi government, but also with 'the opposition' which it knows it can count on."[92] "Turkey's inclusion will not be a problem, but it will be part of the solution for strengthening Europe in relations with other countries, such as the Caucasus region" he added.[92]
  • On May 29, 2009, the French President Nicolas Sarkozy cancelled a visit to Sweden scheduled for June 2, 2009, in order to avoid a clash on the question of Turkey's EU membership just a few days before the European elections and a month before Stockholm took over the EU's rotating presidency.[93] The French President, who is an outspoken opponent of Turkey's entry to the European Union, did not want to highlight the strong divergence of views on this topic with Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt, the French newspaper Le Monde reported on May 28, 2009.[93] Sweden favours further EU enlargement, including to Turkey.[93] Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt told the French newspaper Le Figaro that "the EU has 'a strategic interest' in Turkey's EU integration and warned against 'closing the door' to Ankara."[93] "If we judge Cyprus to be in Europe, although it is an island along Syria's shores, it is hard not to consider that Turkey is in Europe," Mr Bildt said, referring to Mr Sarkozy's repeated statements that Turkey is not a European country and does not belong to Europe.[93] In the Le Figaro interview, Mr Bildt said: "My vision of Europe is not as defensive as I observe it with other people."[93] The French president's trip to Sweden was cancelled the day after the interview was published.[93] "Nicolas Sarkozy cancelled his visit because of the Carl Bildt interview," one French minister told Le Monde.[93] "The president wanted to avoid a clash on Turkey and did not want that his visit to Sweden interferes with the elections [five days later]."[93]
  • On June 28, 2007, Portuguese State Secretary for European Affairs Manuel Lobo Antunes affirmed that "Turkey should join the EU once it has successfully completed membership talks, which are likely to run for at least a decade."[94] "We think it is important and fundamental that Turkey joins the European Union once it fulfils all the conditions and all the criteria," he said, adding that "Portugal aims in the next six months to 'put the process on track'."[94]
  • European Commission President José Manuel Barroso said that Turkey is not ready to join the EU "tomorrow nor the day after tomorrow", but its membership negotiations should continue. He also called on France and other member states to honour the decision to continue accession talks, describing it as a matter of credibility for the Union.[95]
  • The EU Progress Report from 9 November 2005 stated that:

"On 29 July 2005, Turkey signed the Additional Protocol adapting the EC Turkey Association Agreement to the accession of 10 new countries on 1 May 2004. At the same time, Turkey issued a declaration stating that signature of the Additional Protocol did not amount to recognition of the Republic of Cyprus. On 21 September, the EU adopted a counter-declaration indicating that Turkey’s declaration was unilateral, did not form part of the Protocol and had no legal effect on Turkey’s obligations under the Protocol. The EU declaration stressed that recognition of all Member States was a necessary component of the accession process. It also underlined the need for supporting the efforts of the Secretary General of the UN to bring about a comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus problem which would contribute to peace, stability and harmonious relations in the region."[96]

  • In November 2006, the European Commission members decided to suspend parts of the talks with Turkey regarding accession, as Turkish officials said that they will not open Turkish ports to traffic from Republic of Cyprus until the EU eases its embargo on Turkish-controlled northern Cyprus.[97]
  • In November 2009 Greek President Karolos Papoulias stated that he would not support Turkey's accession "as long as Ankara behaves as an occupying force in Cyprus."[98]

See also


  1. ^ The World Bank: World Economic Indicators Database. GDP (PPP) 2008. Data for the year 2008. Last revised on July 1, 2009.
  2. ^ "EU-Turkey relations". European Information on Enlargement & Neighbours. 2004-09-23. Retrieved 2008-08-26. 
  3. ^ In 1948, Turkey became one of the original 18 members of 'Organization for European Economic Co-operation' OEEC which became OECD in 1961 OECD convention
  4. ^ "Interview with European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso on BBC Sunday AM" (PDF). European Commission. 2006-10-15. Retrieved 2006-12-17. 
  5. ^ "Fifty Years On, Turkey Still Pines to Become European". TIME. September 8, 2009.,8599,1920882,00.html. Retrieved 2009-09-08. 
  6. ^ a b c d "Turkey and EU". Embassy of the Republic of Turkey (Washington, DC). Retrieved 2007-07-04. 
  7. ^ "Turkey and the Council of Europe". Council of Europe. 2006-10-27. Retrieved 2006-10-30. 
  8. ^ "Greece and Turkey accede to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization". NATO Media Library. NATO. 1952-02-18. Retrieved 2006-10-30. 
  9. ^ "About Turkey and the EU". Embassy of the Republic of Turkey in London. Retrieved 2007-07-04. 
  10. ^ a b European Council: EU would open accession negotiations with Turkey
  11. ^ Independent Commission on Turkey
  12. ^ Today's Zaman: Turkey Starts Full Membership Negotiations with EU
  13. ^ Turkey, with eye on EU, says determined to reform, EUbusiness, 2009-03-15
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