News / Europe

Turkey Frustrated Over Stalled EU Membership Bid

Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, during a press conference in Ankara, Turkey, in this July 2011 file photo.
Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, during a press conference in Ankara, Turkey, in this July 2011 file photo.
Dorian Jones
The Turkish government is voicing increasing frustration over its stalled bid to join the European Union. Ankara is now warning that the country’s future does not necessarily lie with the EU.  What is driving Ankara’s growing concern -- and does it have a viable alternative to the EU?

With Turkey’s bid to join the European Union stuck in the doldrums, the country's minister for EU membership, Egemen Bagis, recently said he believed it was unlikely the bid would be successful. Meanwhile, a senior advisor to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan called for an end to the bid in a newspaper article published Wednesday.

Cengiz Aktar, a political scientist and columnist for the Turkish newspaper Taraf, said Ankara is not ready, for now, to give up on its EU aspirations. But he but warns of the consequences of anti-EU statements.
 
"These things will remain at the level of rhetoric; those who [make] these sort [of] declarations probably think that they will gain good points in the public opinion by hitting at the EU," Aktar noted. "This being said, of course it's harming already-cool relations."
 
Opposition from some EU members has resulted in Turkey failing to open a single EU membership chapter in the past three years. That impasse has resulted in a dramatic fall in Turkish public support for the country's EU bid, according to Murat Bilhan, vice chairman of the Turkish-Asian Center for Strategic Studies.

"The distance between the EU and Turkey has widened during the last two and three years. And the Turkish population has given up looking at the European Union...according to opinion polls, not more than 30 and 40 percent [of the] Turkish people are supporting the idea of an accession of Turkey. So they don’t see that prospect," Bilhan said.

Observers said that with the ruling AK Party facing crucial local and presidential elections next year, an anti-EU stance could play well with voters. Earlier this year, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan suggested the Shanghai Cooperation Organization could be an alternative to the EU. That regional security bloc includes four Central Asian nations with close cultural ties to Turkey -- Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan -- along with China and Russia.

But analyst Bilhan warns that given Turkey's NATO membership, hopes that it can have close ties with the SCO are unrealistic. "It [the SCO] does not want to embrace Turkey, because they see it as the Trojan horse of the West," he stated. "But Turkey wants to be in it as an observer, but even observer status was not given to Turkey."

Bhilan notes that Turkey and the SCO members stand on opposite sides of the Syrian conflict. Observers point out that Ankara’s strong support for the Syrian opposition is not only at odds with Moscow and Beijing, but has also alienated Turkey’s neighbors Iran and Iraq.

Political scientist Aktar said Ankara is facing increasing diplomatic isolation. "All these search for alternatives have failed. Not only they failed, they are also now harming the existing strategic bonds of the country -- i.e., NATO and EU," he said.

Observers argue that such diplomatic realities mean that Ankara, despite its frustration, will likely continue with its bid for political union with Europe -- a quest that started five decades ago.

You May Like

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Bosnian Massacre Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs UN countermeasure More

UN Report Exposes Widespread Boko Haram Atrocities

Damning report graphically details pattern of vicious, widespread atrocities committed by Islamist militants More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: ogundana akinwande from: Nigeria
September 28, 2013 12:25 AM
Turkey should not be allowed to become a member of EU because of their support for most of EU countries'enemies.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountaini
X
July 02, 2015 4:10 AM
Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs