In May 2004, 10 new nations join the union, they are all from central and eastern Europe, including Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia, Malta and Cyprus. After the join of these candidate countries, European Union will enlarge from fifteen to twenty five member sates. This will create the biggest scale of the enlargement of the European Union. The total population will be 4.5 billions.

Romania and Bulgaria also gain the member states from the European Union, they will join the EU in 2007.

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Turkey is the only nation cannot gain the negotiation for joining the European Union. So the destiny of Turkey becomes the focus.

Turkey is located mainly in southwestern Asia, and part of it is includes in the European area. Its population is about 67,310,000, 80 per cent are Turkish, and 20 per cent are Kurdish. 99.8 per cent of the people are Muslim, and the remaining are Christian and Jews.

(Sources from

Turkey applied for the European Union membership on 14th April 1987. And finally its application was recognised in 1999. However, the process to deal with Turkey is much slower than the other candidate countries, EU unwilling to start the accession negotiation with Turkey yet. EU decided to start negotiate with Turkey in 2004 in the Copenhagen Summit that was started on 12th December 2002.

Copenhagen criteria

During the European Council in Copenhagen, in June 1993, the Heads of State and Government of the EU Member States concluded that candidate countries should be able to satisfy a number of important economic and political conditions. According to the ‘Copenhagen criteria’, candidates must be able to demonstrate:

* the stability of institutions guaranteeing democracy, the rule of law, human rights, and respect for and protection of minorities;

* the existence of a functioning market economy, as well as the ability to cope with competitive pressures and market forces within the EU; and

* the ability to take on the obligations of membership, including adherence to the aims of political, economic and monetary union.

(Sources from Europa)


Turkey finally gains the start of the accession negotiation about joining the EU in 2004. It tried to satisfy the above criteria. Turkey has made significant progress against the Copenhagen criteria for EU membership. Turkey was rejected to start the accession negotiation with the EU after 1999 because of its political, human rights and the protection of the rights of the minorities have conflicts with EU criteria.

In 2002 August, Turkey parliament passed a series of reforms, including abolish the death penalty (although Turkey did not execute death penalty after 1984) and relax the press freedom.

Now Turkey allows the Kurdish using their own language in education. Before the reform, the National Program states that Turkish is the country’s official language, but other languages and dialects can be used in daily life. But the EU required much more. It believes Turkey should allow Kurds to broadcast and educate children in their own language. It also end the punishment towards those people who criticize the government framework and institutions. The limitations for public demonstration and the foreign organizations work in turkey are loosened. The measures for fight against illegal immigrants are strengthened. The freedom for the minorities who are not Muslims is less restricted.

In the economic aspect, one of the economic problems is the public finance system. The Turkish government is implementing a strict economic programme in cooperation with the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. Turkey is removing state interventions in the market economy by establishing a new banking system and introducing independent regulatory bodies.

Actually, many European companies have connection with Turkey, they are going to move the product line from Europe to Turkey. The management and technique level in Turkey is very near to Europe, but the cost is much lower. So if European Union accepts Turkey to join EU, the whole Europe can enhance the competing power, also a new path will be opened for the European industries.

These improvements in human rights, political and economic reforms are fully welcomed by the EU. All these can show the sincerity of Turkey.

Supports from other countries

Turkey is a country full of Islamic culture, Turkey can become the ally of the Middle East countries, for example, Jordan, because their political attitudes are tend to more open. This can help to support the Arabian regions strengthen the reconciliatory power towards Israel.

The war between US and Iraq start up can give a chance to the Kurdish autonomy power to develop their self-strength, since the Kurds are being suppressed by the Turkish, Ankara regime must prefer oppose the war. Its situation can contribute the left wing of Berlin’s diplomatic position that is strongly opposing the war to start up. Germany sates that it supports turkey to join EU.

Not only Germany, the US also shows its friendship to Turkey. The US thinks Turkey is a model for other Muslim countries, and the EU membership can encourage Turkey to develop a secular democracy. Also the US wants to gain the support from Turkey by its strong military power in return. The US thinks that Turkey is one of its closest allies in military, security, economic and trade fields. Turkey is cooperating with US in the fight against international terrorism and commanding the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan. The US president, Bush praised the human rights and political reforms carried out in Turkey in the direction of fulfilling the criteria for EU membership and stated that the United States would continue to spend utmost effort to support Turkey’s EU membership.

Britain also strongly recommends Turkey be the member state of EU. Britain thinks Turkey has been a loyal European ally in NATO for half a century, making a major contribution to the defense of the continent throughout the Cold War. And the majority in Turkey are Muslims, and still it accepts the conception of liberal democratic values, this can contribute to the stability of Europe and also a model for the entire world.

Obstacles for turkey

Cyprus Problem

The EU has decided to accept Cyprus even without reunification. The European Union still cannot find a solution for the split of Cyprus. Cyprus was split since 1974 because the Athens government instigated coup d’etat in order to gain the unification of Cyprus and Greece, and created the chance for Turkey occupied one third of the northern Cyprus. Cyprus is an important strategic island in eastern Mediterranean.

In 1999, EU set the term limit for Turkey government to settle the Cyprus problem with Greece before the end of 2002, and also solve issue of the reunification of Cyprus. However, in these three years, between the Greek Cyprian and Turkish Cyprian, also between Greece and Turkey, unlimited disputes were created, but the problems still remain unsolved, there was no evidence to show the possibility of compromise. So the EU member states are very dissatisfy with Turkey, and disagree to let Turkey join the EU in the near future.

Although Cyprus is separated, but the Greek political power gain the international recognition, so only the Southern part of Cyprus was being invited to join EU because it is controlled by Greece. But Turkey warned it will annex the occupied north of the island if that happens, a move that would destroy its chance of EU entry

Geographical problem

In geographical aspect, Turkey is a Asian country, ninety five percent of its land is located in Asia, and ninety eight per cent of its population is in Asia. If the entry of Turkey is permitted, the European Union will exceed the European boundary, the Middle East and North Africa countries may follow the lead of Turkey.

Cultural conflicts

In many European people attitude, they do not treat Turkey as a part of Europe, they think Turkey is a Muslim country. If EU permits its entry, there are many problems being created. The cultural and religious differences can cause many conflicts between EU and Turkey. From the historic angle, European people treat themselves as Christian club, so Turkey of course does not qualify for this criterion. Turkey has a population of 70 million, it is one of the biggest Muslim countries, and many EU member states treat it with wariness. The difference in religious beliefs led to some member states regard Turkey as different. But Turkey argued that it is not a religious society, so this criterion cannot use as an excuse to reject it.

Economic and Social problems

The economic level of Turkey is too low, the EU worry that after accepts Turkey will influence the EU economic order. The total average national productivity of Turkey in 2001 is less than $3,000 US dollars, which is ten times lower than the EU rich countries. Even compare to other EU member states, the gap is still too far. Additionally, the continuing economic crisis makes the economy of Turkey even worse, EU worry that the entry of Turkey will increase the pressure. The EU may need to give a large amount of money as the financial support for Turkey.

Large scale of migration may occur after Turkey joins the EU because the living standard in Turkey is much lower than the EU. This can bring many social problems. The boundary of the EU will extend to the Asian region, and this may lead to the large amount of illegal immigrants from other non-European countries, and create the problems like social conflicts, racial discrimination, and increase in crimes.

Military aspect

In the defence affair, the EU thinks that Turkey demand too much. The EU decided to organise a troop with sixty thousand people in 2002. But Turkey brought forward that this troop can use the military base of NATO in turkey, but it cannot intervene the Cyprus internal conflicts and the issues surround Aegean. Also Turkey need to participates the decision of the EU military defence directing institution. The EU is very antipathy with the toughness attitude of Turkey, and until now the EU does not agree with the requirement. So the troop is still cannot carry out at this moment.


Turkey wants to join EU for a long time mainly of the consideration of self-economic advantage. When it gets the strong economic circumstance of the EU, Turkey can accelerate its economy development process, so that it can become one of the rich developed countries. But not only Turkey gains benefits from the EU, the EU also need the entry of Turkey. The EU wants the Greece and Turkish in Cyprus can reunify as a whole to join the EU, and the problem is mainly depends on the Turkey’s position. Also the troop that EU wants to organize and to strengthen its force in Middle East also needs the support from Turkey. For the long-term development of the EU, in order to maintain its economic advantage, accept Turkey is a must. The EU lacks of coal and oil production, moat of the resources are come from Iran and other Middle East countries. Turkey is border on some Middle East countries like Syria, Iraq and Iran, and it is a Muslim country, when it becomes part of the EU, then EU can has a firm base in Middle East, this is the target of the EU for several decades. That’s why the EU wants to solve all the above obstacles to fulfill the enlargement.

Actually only few countries opposed the entry of Turkey, like Holland and Austria. But the US also sent an obvious signal to the EU to accept this country, which has been the NATO member since 1952.

The rejection and extension of negotiation with Turkey is compensated by the EU to double the funding it sends to Turkey as part of its membership preparation package. Europe will also increase its attention to Turkey’s efforts to carry out political and human rights reforms recently passed by parliament.

At present, the obstacles between the EU and Turkey is only temporary problem, the enlargement of the EU and extension of the border to the Middle East area will be the fact sooner or later.




Candidate country- Turkey

BBC news

Turkey’s EU membership argument

TV and radio reports

CNN specials

CNN news

Turkey cloud over EU enlargement

Turkish shadow over EU summit

Turkey in the enlargement process: from Luxembourg to Helsinki

Cyprus issue threatens to derail Turkey-EU relations

The European Union’s Luxembourg Summit and Turkey-EU relations

Basic information of Turkey

Investment in turkey


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