Turkey EU: Why It Will Never Happen

Turkey has been attempting to the join the European Union for years with no success. In fact, ever since it started applying, countries like Slovenia and Croatia have been accepted and Serbia, Macedonia, Montenegro, Bosnia and Kosovo are being groomed to join. Mind you that Turkey first applied to join while those countries were still one country as Yugoslavia.

While the EU has virtually put Turkey’s application on what seems like a permanent “hold” status, a large number of the Turkish people are disappointed in the EU’s lack of response. "I guess that nobody wants to say that we are not going to continue with the accession process, neither the EU nor Turkey," said Turkey's ambassador to the EU, Selim Yenel.

Turkey will never be accepted into the EU for two major reasons.

1. Culture/Religion

Many influential EU leaders have rejected the idea of allowing a Muslim country be a part of the EU. Many fear that unlike the smaller European countries that had smooth accession, a large Muslim country would stand out and integration with the rest of the European Union would not be easy.


2. Geography

Turkey is truly unique, at the cross roads of Europe, the Middle East and Asia. Turkey both culturally and historically represents a linkage between the West and East and even though its location has so much historical significance, it also has some negatives. Ultimately, the European Union would never be willing to share a border with Syria, Iraq, Armenia and Iran. Should Turkey join the EU, these four countries would be the new neighbors of the European Union.

This is precisely why the European Union has implemented the Neighborhood Policy. Essentially, this policy uses the EU’s direct neighbors as a buffer zone, almost like an artificial border. Under the Neighborhood Policy, countries like Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Syria, Turkey, Maldova and others, receive various forms of economic aid and trade subsidies from the EU to integrate their markets under conditions that would force them to become more democratic. The EU says that it is an effort to democratize their neighbors and assist them with economic growth. However, it essentially boils down to these countries' being used as a buffer zone to act as a border, separating the EU from countries like Mali, Chad, Syria, Iraq and Belarus. Turkey is a crucial Neighborhood Policy member that the EU wants to permanently use as a buffer.

  


Despite these two reasons, Turkey should be glad it is not joining the EU. Joining the EU may bring many benefits such as access to the world’s biggest trading zone, free mobilization throughout the 28 member states, funding for infrastructure and of course the elite title of being a European Union member. However, Turkey is the gateway to Asian and Middle Eastern markets and as a member of the Neighborhood Policy, Turkey is getting all sorts of funds from the EU without the risks of being a part of the European Union and dealing with the Euro zone.

Second, being a European Union member may actually draw some animosity from Turkey's neighbors which are not too fond of the EU or the west. Joining the EU might actually become a national security concern as Turkey could become a bigger target, as the only Muslim country in the EU furthering relations with the west.

So as an independent nation, Turkey can enjoy economic growth and expanding trade with the Middle East and Asiafree from European elitism, the unstable Euro, and animosity from extremist groups.

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Teklehaymanot Yilma

Political Science student at San Jose State University, California. Studied European Integration and Middle East conflict resolution while studying abroad at Science Po Lille, France. Have worked for the district office of Congresswoman Anna Eshoo, Organizing for America and the Department of Veterans Affairs

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