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EUROPE >Turkey, European Union relations experiencing ‘chilly’ period: Poll

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Turkey’s European Union membership has lost grounds in both Turkish and European societies, results of a recently published poll have revealed

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Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan (L) shakes hands with German Chancellor Angela Merkel (R) during Group of 20 meeting held in St.Petersburg in this Sept 6 file photo. AA photo

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan (L) shakes hands with German Chancellor Angela Merkel (R) during Group of 20 meeting held in St.Petersburg in this Sept 6 file photo. AA photo

Support for Turkey’s accession bid to the European Union has decreased both in Turkey and in the EU, according to the 12th annual Transatlantic Trends survey.

Turkish respondents still favor joining the EU, but their desire to do so has cooled considerably over the past decade, the survey revealed.

44 percent of Turkish respondents said EU membership would be a good thing, down from 48 percent last year and from 73 percent in 2004. 

Some 34 percent, up from 29 percent last year and 9 percent in 2004, said it would not be a good thing.

However, Turkey still remains more enthusiastic about joining the EU than most EU member states are about accepting it as a member. Twenty percent of European respondents said Turkey’s accession would be good, while 33 percent said it would be bad and 37 percent said it would be neither good nor bad.

Solitude prefered

Turkish respondents were most likely to say that Turkey should act alone rather than in cooperation with the EU, the United States, or its regional neighbors. 

Some 38 percent of Turkish respondents said Turkey should act independently on international matters, while 21 percent said it should cooperate with the EU.

Transatlantic Trends is an annual survey of U.S. and European public opinion conducted by the German Marshall Fund of the United States (GMF) and the Compagnia di San Paolo. Polling was conducted by TNS Opinion between June 3 and June 27, 2013. In Turkey, polling was suspended for a week, before being later completed by July 2, 2013.

Eleven EU member states were surveyed in total: France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom, as well as the United States and Turkey. 

“The Transatlantic Trends 2013 results highlight the fact that although Turkish public opinion continues to maintain a tendency towards acting alone on international matters, there is also a convergence with American, and particularly, European public opinions on specific foreign policy issues,” GMF’s Ankara Office Director Özgür Ünlühisarcıklı said.

When asked about Syria, Turkish respondents were even less enthusiastic about intervention than last year. Some 72 percent said Turkey should stay out completely, compared to 57 percent in 2012, while 21 percent said Turkey should intervene, compared to 32 percent in 2012.

Europeans and Americans are also not in favor of military intervention in Syria. Some 72 percent of Europeans and 62 percent of Americans were polled as being against their governments stepping into the conflict. Meanwhile, Turkish respondents remained divided on NATO, with 39 percent saying it is still essential. 

September/19/2013

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