The Accession of Turkey to the EU: Yes or No?
Introduction to European Integration
October 17, 2008
Whether or not Turkey should be accessed to the European Union - or its predecessors - has been a controversial topic ever since the countries application to the European Economic Community (EEC) in 1959. When the Ankara Agreement, which associated Turkey with the EEC, was signed in 1963 it recognized Turkey as a European country and aimed at a preliminary Customs Union as well as at eventual membership.
The prospect of EU membership has inspired remarkable progress and reforms in Turkey from the very beginning. One might speculate that these might not have occurred as swiftly, had they not been driven by the ambition of joining the EU: Abolishing the death penalty, broadcasting in Kurdish on state television and enhancement of the protection of women, to name a few. According to Michael Lake, former EU ambassador in Turkey and European Commission official, these reforms are irreversible. Not because “the Prime Minister wishes them to be so, but because civic society, inspired by the charter for reform […] is firmly behind them.”.
Nevertheless, accession negotiations with the European Union were not opened until almost half a century after the EEC application, on the 3rd of October 2005. There doubtlessly are valid reasons for this delay and the expected negotiation period of at least 10-15 years. Some of these reasons will be assessed in this paper under the subject of whether Turkey should be accessed to the European Union or not. For means of clarification it should be stated that it is probably rather a question of time, when Turkey is granted EU membership after all. Conclusion and focus of this paper will therefore be if and in which form Turkey should be accessed in the foreseeable future, taking into consideration not only whether Turkey is ready for the EU, but also...