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

China Investigates Former Powerful Security Chief

Former security chief and member of Politburo Standing Committee, Zhou Yongkang, under investigation for suspected 'serious disciplinary violation' More

India, US Look to Reset Ties During Kerry Visit

This week's talks will be first high level interaction between two countries since Prime Minister Narendra Modi took charge More

Video Young African Leadership Program Renamed to Honor Mandela

YALI program, launched by President Obama in 2010, aims to build skills in business, entrepreneurship, public management and civic leadership 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.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid