Many people believe that the debate regarding Turkey's adhesion to the European Union (EU) is modern and recent; it actually goes back quite a long time. As a matter of fact, it dates back to the 1960s; the issue was raised in 1963, when Turkey signed a customs union with the E.U. This agreement, mainly economic, mentioned that Turkey would eventually join the EU in the years to come. The same year, the President of the European Commission declared that "Turkey [was] part of Europe" and that "one day, a final step would be made: Turkey would be a full member of the European Commission".
In 1987, Turkey officially asked for its admission ; however, at the time, the Commission considered the admission to be premature because of its economic and political situation. However, the candidacy was not completely rejected.
In 1992, the Copenhagen criteria were defined by the members of the EU. Those criteria have to be respected by a country planning on joining the EU. For example, the criteria demand the existence of a market economy, the respect of Human Rights and democracy. Turkey did not respect the latter condition and its candidacy was rejected again. Finally, in December 1999, the Council declared that Turkey was a country that had a vocation to join the EU, and in 2001, an "admission partnership" was signed. In 2005, the negotiations regarding the membership of Turkey opened. It is possible to notice that this problem was not present with other countries waiting to join the EU: for example, in 2004, ten new countries became members of the EU without referendum or so many questions. Turkey is treated in a different way. The very controversial issue about the possible adhesion of Turkey to the European Union has been for quite a while now the object of many debates between the members of the Union.
[...] Cultural and religious differences between Turkey and European countries seem to create a wide gap that will be hard to overcome in order to integrate Turkey in the EU. The social and economic situation of the country also raises problems for the Turkish adhesion. Turkey is not yet as developed as countries of the EU may be. Its economic delay could drag down the whole economic system of the Union and this is why some countries are opposing the adhesion of Turkey. [...]
[...] Then the existence of a custom union with the E.U goes in the same direction. Turkey is the only country which has this kind of union wihout being member of the EU which proves the privileged relation Turkey maintains with European countries. It is the only non-member country of the Union to be integrated into the European common market. Thanks to its fortunate position within the European Union, Turkey really seems to be ready to join it.; especially since it is already familiar with the functioning of the Union. [...]
[...] Most of the European countries do not want to support Turkey, economically speaking, especially in times of global crisis. Identity and economy are the first main limits we can put to the Turkish adhesion in the EU, but other reasons can explain the difficulties Turkey has to face for its candidacy. The question of Human Rights. The non-respect of the Human Rights is the argument systematically evoked by the opponents to Turkey's adhesion. This accusation is partly true, and several pieces of evidence can illustrate this reputation. [...]
[...] II)Yet, important oppositions remain, because Turkey does not carry out the convergence criteria The question of the European identity and the importance of economic interests. The first argument we can raise is that Turkey does not actually belong to the European continent. It is a well know geographical fact that Turkey is not located within the European continent itself. Only a very small portion of its territory with Istanbul included) is located in Europe, the rest of the country is officially part of the Asian continent. [...]
[...] The football team of Turkey belongs to the UEFA and the country participates in the European championships. Now football has an important function in societies and also this is a not an inconsiderable argument in favor of the Turkish integration in the EU. Thanks to football championships, Turkey is considered by a part of the population as a full member of Europe. Football also allows Turkey to be considered as European in its mentalities. Turkey can also be considered as a full member of Europe. [...]
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