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

Missouri Town Braces for Possible Racial Unrest

Situation in Ferguson hinges on whether white police officer will be indicted for August shooting death of unarmed black teen; decision could come Monday More

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of 1930s Deadly Famine

President Poroshenko compares Soviet-era ‘genocide’ to current tactics of pro-Russia rebels in Ukraine's east More

S. Philippines Convictions Elusive 5 Years After Election-related Killings

Officials vowed to deliver justice as the nation marked the anniversary of the country's worst political massacre that left 58 dead, more than half media 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.
New Skateboard Defies Gravityi
X
November 21, 2014 5:07 AM
A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Gay Evangelicals Argue That Bible Does Not Condemn Homosexuality

More than 30 U.S. states now recognize same-sex marriages, and an increasing number of mainline American churches are blessing them. But evangelical church members- which account for around 30 percent of the U.S. adult population - believe the Bible unequivocally condemns homosexuality. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender evangelicals are coming out. Backed by a prominent evangelical scholar, they argue that the traditional reading of the bible is wrong.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Mexico Protests Escalate Over Disappearances

Protests in Mexico over 43 students missing since September continue to escalate, reflecting growing anger among Mexicans about a political system they view as corrupt, and increasingly tainted by the drug trade. Mounting outrage over the disappearances is now focused on the government of President Enrique Pena Nieto, accused of not doing enough to end insecurity in the country. More from VOA's Victoria Macchi.
Video

Video US Senate Votes Down Controversial Oil Pipeline - For Now

The U.S. Senate has rejected construction of a controversial pipeline to transport Canadian oil to American refineries. The $5 billion project still could be approved next year, but it faces a possible veto by President Barack Obama. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the pipeline has exposed deep divisions in Congress about America’s energy future.
Video

Video Can Minsk Cease-fire Agreement Hold?

Growing tensions between government troops and separatists in eastern Ukraine further threaten a cease-fire agreement reached two months ago in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. Critics of U.S. policy in Ukraine say it is time the Obama administration gives up on that much-violated cease-fire and moves toward a new deal with Russia. VOA's Scott Stearns has more.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Ferguson Church Grapples with Race Relations

Many white residents of Ferguson, Missouri, say they chose to live there because of the American Midwest community's diversity. So, they were shocked when a white police officer killed an unarmed black teenager in August – and shaken by the resulting protests and violence. Some local churches are leading conversations on how to go forward. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid