POLITICS > Turkey losing appetite for EU bid, says survey


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Two-thirds of the Turkish public lean closer to the view that Turkey should not become a full European Union member, a recent survey has indicated. Source: AA

Two-thirds of the Turkish public lean closer to the view that Turkey should not become a full European Union member, a recent survey has indicated. Source: AA

Domestic support for Turkey’s European Union membership is losing its momentum, as two thirds of Turks say they’ve lost their appetite for the EU bid and believe Ankara should abandon its pursuit of full membership, a recent study has shown.

The survey demonstrated that while one third of those surveyed agreed Turkey should persevere with the goal of becoming an EU member, two-thirds of the public lean closer to the view that Turkey should not become a full member. TNS-Turkey undertook the survey on behalf of the Center for Economy and Foreign Policy Research (EDAM) with the participation of 1,509 people aged 18 and above whom represented a cross-section of the country’s urban and rural populations.

Participants were asked, “On the 50th anniversary of EU-Turkey relations and the eighth year of accession negotiations, which of the following policies do you think Turkey should follow in the next five years?”

There are also differences of opinion among eurosceptics. Twenty percent of respondents support the idea that Turkey should abandon its work toward a full membership and formulate a new relationship with the EU based on common interests.

Despite these numbers, over 50 percent of the public still view a partnership with the EU in a positive. One quarter of the public believes that full membership should be abandoned and that a new relationship with the EU is not needed, while another 15 percent responded that after full membership is abandoned, a rival regional organization should be established.

There are also significant differences of opinion regarding the future of Turkey’s relations with the EU among the constituents of different parties. While 34 percent of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) voters believe that the country should “persist with her aim of full membership,” this ratio falls to 30 percent among the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) voters and to 15 percent among the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) voters. Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) voters are apparently avid defenders of the EU goal, with a support level of 88 percent.

The survey also discovered differences of opinion on what to do once the membership path is abandoned. While 27 percent of the CHP voters agree that “relations based on common interests should be established,” this ratio is 21 percent among MHP voters. While 40 percent of MHP voters think that Turkey should act on its own after the full membership goal has been abandoned, this ratio is 27 percent among CHP voters.


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1/27/2013 10:29:15 PM

Red Tail, as I have pointed out to you in Yusuf Kanlı's column, the EU funds are not hidden. Various government bodies and municipalities publish the amounts and the purposes for the EU funds. An average person who follows politics may not know the actual amount, but they would know of EU's financial contribution. If they take the trouble, they can easily find out how much. The government attacks the EU unnecessarily, but can you deny that they might be frustrated by the EU's attitude?


1/27/2013 10:15:01 PM

"if you receive something without anything in return, it is a gift". This is where your argument fails, Red Tail. The funds are there to prepare a candidate's infrastructure to be compatible with the EU. This is done to avoid a union where different areas operate different rules. It benefits the EU as well as the candidate country. Without EU-wide uniformity of infrastructure, EU cannot function. The funds are carefully worked out and their application is audited. This is why it is not a gift.

ilker avni

1/27/2013 9:26:50 PM

David cameron referendum speach has boasted his party by five points in oppinion polls cutting Labours lead and cutting UKIP by five points,this is the party that wants out,they had a 15 per cent now down to ten.Its very clear with the British public they want out,its the politicians who want us in.When Britains leaves others will follow and stay as EFTA members just like Sweden and Norway,Switzerkand,Turkey, staying in the single market.Turkey receives transit fees from the EU not handouts.

Cem Ian Hanley

1/27/2013 7:12:40 PM

Turkey may not be in the EU, but there is no doubt that in its efforts to be accepted, this country has come on in leaps and bounds. The process to become a member has benefited us more than actual membership may have. It shou8ld still be an objective but not an obsession..

mara mcglothin

1/27/2013 6:04:32 PM

RED TAIL I would compare the billions of dollars in economic aid to an engagement ring. When the couple breaks up, the perspective bride rarely gives back the ring:) Turkey should not be concerned with membership in the EU. They should only be concerned with bringing the rights and laws of the Republic in keeping with EU norms to form a stronger democracy in Turkey. When they get to that point, then they can decide. Simple.

Red Tail

1/27/2013 4:49:14 PM

Chris Green. The reason I bring up the 6 billion is that people in this country do not know about it. The government is doing everything it can to cover up its lack of progress by presenting EU as evil. And it does not fit the image of "evil EU" to give Turkey 6 billion Euros. And it is a gift. if you receive something without anything in return, it is a gift. My daught received a lap top as a gift from her school recently. All her class mates did as well. But it was still a gift paid by someone

Chris Green

1/27/2013 2:48:57 PM

M.B, yes you are quite right in your point and soon the UK will feel the full force of Schengen as herd and herds more Romanian and Bulgarians in the form of gypsies come here, no doubt to tap, leach-like to tap into the weary and diminishing arteries of our benefits system, bringing nothing with them in return yet their own version of criminality! This point was brought home to me quite force-ably last Monday at lunch by my Polish lady friend who was vociferous on this matter!


1/27/2013 2:33:04 PM

Chris, I agree with your comment. 6.2 Bn is not a gift and Turkey is under no obligation to give it back. Besides, the main reason why the feeling in Turkey has changed is the EU's indecision on whether it wants Turkey as a member or not, and its attempts to block or slow down Turkey's membership.


1/27/2013 2:10:13 PM

Chris Green, it is also under EU law that citizens of candidate coutries can travel in Schengen region without any visa restriction. For example, even though Serbia is not a canditate country, the Serbians can travel with their biometric passports among Europe, however Turks cannot. What about that?

Chris Green

1/27/2013 11:19:26 AM

Red Tail, I know you are an ardent Europhile and this is your choice and I respect that whereas I am the complete opposite albeit from a different perspective. But you keep bleating on about this 6.2BN Euro's from the EU as being a 'gift'; it is NOT! It is the entitlement of ANY EU aspirant nation that has been accepted as a candidate for EU membership. If Turkey back out or more likely they will either be vetoed or the Turkish people vote against, they do NOT have to repay! OK?
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