Membership support to EU dropped: Poll

Membership support to EU dropped: Poll

Membership support to EU dropped: Poll

Turkish EU Minister Bağış (2nd L) is welcomed by Danish counterpart Wammen (R) and EU Commissioner Fule in Brussels. Belief for Turkey’s EU membership drops in 2012. EPA photo

The number of Turks who believe the country will ultimately acquire European Union membership has dropped significantly in comparison to last year, a recent poll has revealed.

The percentage of people who say “Turkey will become an EU member” decreased from 34.8 percent to 17 percent in just a year, according to a poll conducted by the German-Turkish Foundation for Education and Scientific Research (TAVAK).

When asked whether they believed Turkey would become a member or not, only 17 percent of respondents said “yes,” while 78 percent said “no.” Asked whether the country might finally become a member after a decade’s time, even fewer – 15 percent – said “yes,” while 76 percent replied in the negative. The project’s adviser, Faruk Şen, linked the sharp decrease to negative developments in the 27-nation bloc, particularly the economic crisis. “Turkey’s growth numbers in recent years reduced the belief of Turkish people in full membership,” said Şen, who is also the head of TAVAK. The trend is not likely reverse due to the stances of France and Germany, which have been vocal in their opposition to Turkish membership, Şen said.

‘Explain more about benefits’

According to respondents, France is the most likely country to place obstacles on Turkey’s path to the EU; the next most likely countries to hinder Ankara’s progress are Germany, Greece and Greek Cyprus. The Turkish government should pursue a more aggressive policy to alter this trend, Şen said. “The Turkish government should explain more about the benefits of membership, like freedom of movement or the benefits that come from [having access to EU] funds.”

The poll was conducted among 1,110 people between June 20 and 30 in Istanbul, Ankara, İzmir, Antalya, Kayseri, Gaziantep, Artvin and Trabzon, daily Habertürk reported.