EurActiv - Letters to the Editor

Turkey Must Join EU


Regarding ‘Leaders urged to unblock Turkey’s EU bid‘:

This is a long overdue need for us in the European Union to have Turkey as a member, as it would signal that the EU is more than a Club of European nations with vested interests to hold their aloofness apart from a deserving partner.

We need Turkey as much as they need us for their strident resistance to all things extreme. As a nation, they are and always have been a premier voice of moderation in a world that is becoming polarised between the hypocritical West and the Muslim and other religious sectarianists.

Whilst we must admit that not everything in Turkey is perfect, the same can equally be said for the rest of the EU. Having allowed some of the Balkan states to join [which were at war with each other less than 15 years ago] and now also the potential for other states to join, there can be little excuse here.

Yes, there are disputes around the Aegean and around the territories claimed by our partners in Greece, and there are remnants of historical horror surrounding various genocides, some of which are historic and some of which are not so and more recent.

Let it be said that whilst this was a serious issue in Turkey’s history, it is of far less significance than some of those perpetrated by the ”Western Powers” at the time and subsequently by others during the ”Russian-Soviet Period” in the decades that followed.

We cannot live by the past and must live for the future. We can forgive and we must forgive those actions that have caused such grief. But how long must this be allowed to stifle the benefits of embracing the Turkish nation in the EU?

Turkey needs to develop, and we can and we must assist. Trade is but one area of this issue, but lest we forget, political stability is also of great benefit.

For the future of the European Union, the call for action by Mr. Ahtisaari and others has to be commended for bringing forth the issue again. The European Union needs to think further than its own internal machinations, for without Turkey it is lost. The economic benefits and bastion against the extremists will remain uncontrolled without Turkey becoming a member, and I for one agree with this issue.

We must move forwards and pre-empt the potential for another organisation and Union of Countries that would arise should Turkey not be included.

Carol Horner

Author :


  1. I disagree with the article and I would like to go paragraph by paragraph to support my bid. First I do agree that EU needs Turkey as the latter needs us. However I see no need for Turkey to join the EU in order to reach the cooperation desired. EU is nowadays interweaving more than 27 nations into almost a European nation that, as much as it differs from East to west and North to South, shares a lot of cultural similarities and values. Turkey on the other hand never shared neither of those with the rest of Europe. Although we must give Turkey credit for trying to fit in one cannot expect Turkey to be fully “compatible” with our way of life – that is if we don’t want it to give up its values; and who are we to tell them what values they must follow. Therefore I believe Turkey should be in a union with EU so that it would have such rights as EEA members have, however it would not be involved in EU internal relations. Wishing for Turkey to join EU is as if one wanted for Mexico or Canada to be accepted into USA. The 3 counties can have close relations, but I do not see Mexico or Canada ever joining the US.
    As far as your thesis on Balkan relations and Balkan wars goes I believe that you haven’t done your “homework”. The Balkan wars in the 90’s were fought in Croatia, Bosnia and Kosovo. Neither of those countries has become an EU state. Regarding their relations with bordering EU states and consecutively their approach to the EU – two Balkan countries (Croatia and Macedonia) are official candidates; however both countries are being blocked by their EU neighbors on either border dispute issues or naming dispute. Nonetheless I believe these problems will be short lived and that all Balkan countries will become full EU member within next 10 years.
    I do however agree that Turkey will play an important part in EU’s future, therefore I agree with the idea of creating another organization or a Union between EU and its neighbors.

  2. I would agree with Miha.that Turkey has no place in EU.
    reasons are numerous.However.. just to site some…
    First of all.. Turkey as they profess , it is not a european nation.. means with all their chararacterisitcs.. I am sure readers and knowing Turkey will understand what I mean. They are white but not European!!!!!!!!!!

    Secondly, I strongly believe that turkey’s entry to EU.. will jepordize the integrity of European contries in the long run..Think about 30-50 years later what may happen in Europe and how the mozaic of Europe can change.. .. population growth of Turkey, Economy, unemployment, Islamic movement… etc. etc.. just think!

    Turkey can be and is now… friends of EU, do business as usual.. what is wrong with that.. turkey has no place else to go… but Europe or USA.. I do think they want to belong to East but to West.. but not being a member.

  3. Mike,

    Say what?

    First of all, I would like to give you a golden advice. When you write in English (or at least, that is what you have been trying), I strongly recommend you to look at your grammar and spelling, since I know my 3 year old brother can do better than you can. It doesn’t quite show reliability. Besides this friendly, but most importantly advice, I would now like to get to the point of this message.

    When you give your opinion, it may be handy to sustain them with sufficient arguments, because when you say (and I CITE, yes in normal English we write it with a C not with an S) Turkey is white but not European, you make me curious. Because what in Gods name is European? Can you tell by a person’s appearance? A person’s religion? Because the last time I checked, Europe is a unification of several countries.

    Your examination of what will happen with Europe in the long run doesn’t seem to be a scientific research, but more a invented story by yourself. Again, what you say is not reliable. I admire your courage to write something and to publish a non qualitative statement online, but still, you really have to come up with real arguments.

    Good luck with everything, no hard feelings and may the European boundaries be more and more extended!

    Kind regards,
    European inhabitant

  4. Some good points right here…now mine!
    While i support even closer ties with Turkey i must say that the country has huge issues which undermine it’s bid to join;to name a few:
    1.they are secular grey at best with religious extremism still beeing felt,which in the past meant that the army had to interfere and change regimes(also a big problem…who controls the army? if the state isnt).
    2.human of the main values promoted by the EU aint exactly popular at home: a)kurdish oppression and even worse, b)while literacy among men is at 95% women are at 79% which also tells us alot, etc.
    3.issues with Greece on borders, occupying northern Cyprus(which is a EU member).
    4.religion and ethnic tolerance.
    And those are the ones i can think of or know,there might be more.
    A huge thing to consider is also centuries of fighting between christians and muslims which wont fade over night.The peoples of europe are highly xenophobic,even amongst themselves, if you add Turkey to the picture is a recipe for unrest and worse.
    The elite politicians of both EU and Turkey might want this to work(and they might succede eventually) but the nations may react in unsuspected ways.
    Even if Turkey joins they will never fully adapt or be fully accepted for generations to come.

  5. European atheist,
    I kindly recommend you to read the history. Cyprus is not a Turkish occupied island. There are 2 different republics. The island was ruled by Ottoman Empire for 300 years and left to Britain with some tricky agreements in order to have Brit support against Russia. Greece sent an army to make the island belong to Greece and Turkey sent army to protect the Turks. Check the net to understand.
    If you answer the questions below ,you can understand the situation of Cyprus too.
    – Why Britain does not give the small part of Ireland back to them after having IRA ?
    – Why Spain does not let Bask region to be separate?
    These will also be the answer of the Kurdish situation. We gained the land after having too many wars, It is not so easy to divide.
    You are right,the economical situation might not be good because of having no colonies like the other European countries.
    Religion is not an issue in Turkey. There are differences between EU-TR. Like all the other nations have.
    At the end we do not need EU but EU will need…

  6. Gokhan,

    just for clarity, are you actually suggesting that Cyprus is not currently occupied by Turkey? and that there are 2 separate republics today?

  7. Dear Gokhan

    Let me refer to some points of yours:

    First, on Cyprus there is only one state as legal entity. The other entity is solely recognized by its creator and invader of the island ; Turkey. It lacks international recognition and if it has not occured in all this time since 1974, then one might reasonably assume that you will have to wait for quite some time more for that to happen.
    Second (and more important) : Turkey did not send its troops to protect the Turkish Cypriots but rather its own interests. If it were genuinely interested in Turkish Cypriots, it would not have allowed them to become irrelevant in their own country. Most have fled to Britain and the North got flooded by Anatolian immigrants.
    Thridly, it is at least ridiculous to equate the Cypriot government with the Turkish-Cypriot leadership. The former exerts real power (and frequently demonstrates it by rejecting key policy advices of its “motherland” Greece) while the latter is a puppet of Turkey in all respects. While respecting Mr Talat personally, it stretches my imagination to have him opposing Ankara on key policy issues …
    So much about Cyprus. Stay tuned for the next message reagrding Turkish Kurdistan …

  8. The subject of Turkey’s accession to the European Union is most interesting because it unleashes the very real prejudice which still resides, living and breathing under our European skin. There is little doubt that were Turkey not a predominantly Muslim nation, this would be a non-subject.

    If the Turks professed some brand of Christianity or preferably no religion at all, we Europeans would feel so much more comfortable and secure in welcoming them to our club… After so many years of mingling in Brussels and Strasbourg, it is a shame how we Europeans still find it within ourselves to express such irrational fear of the other, and yes, fear of the Muslim. Wake up Europe, there are Muslims living, breathing and (dare I say) breeding in every European capital, as proud European citizens.

    I can only reiterate the enigmatic question: what is a European? what entitles one people over another to define them in such way? Who decides where Europe’s geographic border commences and where it ends? Yes, Turkey presents an interesting case, but let’s not kid ourselves. This is not about geography or politics. It’s pure racism.

  9. Aside from the simple fact that Turks are not Europeans and Turkey is not a European country which seems to contradict the notion of the “peoples of Europe” in the EU Treaty, Turkey has a principle problems with regard to the EU. The Turkish Republic is built on a concept of national identity (embodied in Kemalism) which is utterly compatible with the EU’s core principle of shared sovereingty. Have Turks really understood that their highly emotional nationalism has no place in the EU?

    For most of the other arguments for Turkey’s EU membership counter-arguments can be made very easily.

    The much needed younger workforce? Well, more than half of Turkish boys in Germany leave school without a diploma. Most Turkish kids entering German schools don’t speak German. Is this the highly skilled workforce of the future Europe needs?

    Turkey as a bridge to the Middle East? Why would we need this bridge? And isn’t Turkey at loggerheads with ALL of its neighbours? Turkey can’t even get herself to honour its obligations under the customs union.

    Turkey as a big market for EU companies? The customs union provides already all the goodies.

    Helping Turkey to develop through being inside the EU? Well, the cases of Bulgaria and Romania show that the concept doesn’t work.

    Enhanced co-operation is the best solution for both sides. Full membership would lead to constant problems. Let’s avoid a big mistake.

  10. Dear Gokhan,
    It is you that need to read history, Cyprus because of its geo-strategic
    position in the Mediterranean and the bounty of its natural resources
    has been invaded and intermittently ruled over by many: Phoenicians
    Assyrians, Persians, Romans, English, Lusignans, Genoese, Marmeluks,
    Venetians, Ottomans, and again the English. The Ottomans invaded
    in 1571 and controlled Cyprus for three hundred years.
    But through all of its decidedly civilized history it has remained a Greek
    nation in language, architecture, art, music, culture
    and spirit.

    As for the so called “Turkish republic of North Cyprus”created by the illegal
    invasion by Turkey it is not recognized by the International community
    Turkey keeps 40,000 soldiers in this part of the island and has brought
    over 150,000 settlers from Anatolia in order to change the demographic
    carachter of this part of the island which is considered a Internation crime.

Comments are closed.