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

    Video Democrats Clinton, Kaine Offer 'Very Different Vision' Than Trump

    Party's presumptive presidential nominee, her vice presidential pick deliver optimistic message in Florida as they campaign for first time together

    Turkey Wants Pakistan to Close Down institutions, Businesses Linked to Gulen

    Thousands of Pakistani students are enrolled in Gulen's commercial network of around two dozen institutions operating in Pakistan for over two decades

    AU Passport A Work in Progress

    Who will get the passport and what the benefits are still need to be worked out

    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.
    In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movementi
    X
    July 22, 2016 11:49 AM
    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Poor Residents in Cleveland Not Feeling High Hopes of Republican Convention

    With the Republican Party's National Convention underway in Cleveland, Ohio, delegates and visitors are gathered in the host city's downtown - waiting to hear from the party's presidential candidate, Donald Trump. But a few kilometers from the convention's venue, Cleveland's poorest residents are not convinced Trump or his policies will make a difference in their lives. VOA's Ramon Taylor spoke with some of these residents as well as some of the Republican delegates and filed this report.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video With Yosemite as Backdrop, Obama Praises National Parks

    Last month, President Barack Obama and his family visited some of the most beautiful national parks in the U.S. Using the majestic backdrop of a towering waterfall in California's Yosemite National Park, Obama praised the national park system which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year. He talked about the importance of America’s “national treasures” and the need to protect them from climate change and other threats. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Counter-Islamic State Coalition Plots Next Steps

    As momentum shifts against Islamic State in Iraq, discussions are taking place about the next steps for driving the terrorist group from its final strongholds. Secretary of State John Kerry is hosting a counter-IS meeting at the State Department, a day after defense ministers from more than 30 countries reviewed and agreed upon a course of action. VOA Pentagon correspondent Carla Babb reports.
    Video

    Video Russia's Participation at Brazil Olympic Games Still In Question

    The International Olympic Committee has delayed a decision on whether to ban all Russian teams from competing in next month's Olympic Games in Brazil over allegations of an elaborate doping scheme. The World Anti-Doping Agency recently released an independent report alleging widespread doping by Russian athletes at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. So far, only Russian track and field athletes have been barred from the Summer Games in Brazil. VOA's Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.
    Video

    Video Millennials Could Determine Who Wins Race to White House

    With only four months to go until Americans elect a new president, one group of voters is getting a lot more attention these days: those ages 18 to 35, a generation known as millennials. It’s a demographic that some analysts say could have the power to decide the 2016 election. But a lot depends on whether they actually turn out to vote. VOA’s Alexa Lamanna reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora