Arguments for Turkey not becoming a Member of the EU


Argumentsfor Turkey not becoming a Member of the EU

Argumentsfor Turkey not becoming a Member of the EU

Itis clear that, the history of union among the European countries canbe traced way back from 1951 with the formation of the European Coaland Steel Community, and this has steady being achieved throughtreaties and establishment of common trading blocks. This way, memberstates have significantly benefited in various ways such as improvedbargaining power in the international markets, raised securitylevels, as well as cautioning member states from financial collapse.This is as witnessed from 2010 when member states such as Greece,Portugal and Iceland faced the threat of economic collapse due to theglobal financial crisis, but rescued by the financially stable statessuch as Germany, France among others. It is notable that, there aremany factors considered prior to allowing member states to join theEU, like historical-cultural background, economic geographical, andinto some extent religious factors.

Thereare divisions of power within the EU, which helps this organizationto perform its function well, such as being able to make soundjudgment before admitting a new member. This includes the EuropeanCommission, the European parliament among others. However, despitehaving met all the requirements to join the EU, Norway andSwitzerland have openly refused to join the EU, while others likeTurkey have made frank efforts to join the EU for many years with nosuccess. With this in mind, the papers will address some of theissues which have made it have made it hard for Turkey to join theEU.

Argumentsagainst Turkey Joining EU


Asan economic criterion, EU advocates for afunctioning market economy and the capacity to cope with competitivepressure and market forces within its internalmarket. There are various economic factors which makes it hardfor Turkey to be a part of the EU. One of the most salient featurescited by majority of the opposing members’ states is the size ofTurkey. It is evident that Turkey is a large country with more than75 million people, a figure that is expected to significantlyincrease in the coming days (Open Society Foundation, 2014). The mainworry is that Turkey would have immense effect on voting weights inthe European Union, in actual fact with such a big population itwould assume equal votes as Germany which is the largest paymaster. In reality, Turkey is a poor nation with a gross domestic product of$10,000 and which is 28% of the European Union average (Toghill,2012). It is therefore eminent that, Turkey would require massive aidand resource assistance to get out the economic mire. For Turkey tobe a part of the EU, the following are the stages of economicintegration it has to undergo.

Customs Union

Trade + Common external tariffs

Free Trade Area

Customs union + free trade area

Common market

Free trade area + free movement of people, services and capital

Monetary Union

Common market + common currency

Economic Union

Monetary Union + Common financial policy


Geographically,Turkey cannot be considered a European nation, since close to 90% ofthe country’s territory rests in Asia as seen in the map below.

Inaddition, it is clear that, the European Union is loath and does notconjure sharing borders with volatile states such as Iraq and Syria(OpenSociety Foundation, 2014). In this respect, if Turkey is admitted into the union, this wouldopen a flood gate to candidates from Eastern Europe, and the entireregion which may be too immense for the union to absorb.

HistoricalRelationship between EU and Turkey

Formany years, the relationship between Turkey and Europe has not beensmooth. Turkey applied for membership in 1958 and five decades laterthe state has been kept at a distance, serious debate commencing onin early years of 2000. This is after the EU accorded candidatestatus to 12 states from Eastern and Central Europe hat had appliedfor consideration (Bahr,2014).From that date, it has only been considered as a potential occurrencewith no tangible progress ever taking place. The situation has beencompounded by the myriad of economic reforms, and administrativedifficulties encountered by newly admitted state. This is perhapsreminding the member states that, they might have acted rather tooswiftly in circumstances where it was paramount to give room formajor reforms before admission. Even though accession discussions hadcommences from October 2005, the candidacy of Turkey was openlyquestioned and challenged by Austria and Germany.

Thisis because, these states felt that Turkey should not be accorded thefull member status, but rather should get the ‘privilegedpartnership’ status (Bahr,2014).This decision did not augur well with other member states, and soaccession discussions were eventually initiated with the sharedintent of full membership. Even then, many other states shared Germanand Austrian sentiments and posed a strong opposition to Turkeybecoming a full EU member. For example, France conservatives havebeen skeptical about Turkey membership citing institutionalinefficiencies and dismal human right record (Bahr,2014).


Asa political criterion, the EU calls for stableinstitutionsin orderto guarantee democracy, the rule of law, human rights and respect forand protection of minorities.Based on this premise, on the political realm, Turkey cannot beregarded as a mature democracy. Its politics are a scuffle between adomineering military and islamists of unstable tinge. It is a knownfact that, Turkey’s democratic evolution is far from complete, withongoing and brutal violations of human rights, especially of marginalgroups such as the Kurdish (Toghill,2012). Amnesty International report of the Turkey’s record of humanrights has been crammed with accounts of abuse of freedom of speech,failure to protect minority groups especially women, unjust trialsand torture of dissenting individuals. The institutions in Turkey arenot strong enough to warrant democracy to flourish. It is worthnoting that, democracy is one of the main factors considered beforeadmission of new members to the EU, and Turkey has failed to passthis criterion (OpenSociety Foundation, 2014).In addition, admission of Turkey would mean that the whole bodyinherits the obstinate Kurdish issue. It is not a wonder that, publicopinion in the European Union is awesomely opposed and the Turks arehalf-hearted about joining.


Formthe foregoing discussion, it is evident that, Turkey does not meetnor has it fulfilled most of the criteria agreed upon by members inthe Copenhagen summit on the admission of new member states into theEU. The summit specified candidates seeking for admission must haveattained stability of institutions ability to cope with marketpressure posed the stiff competition among members, support andguarantee democracy, have a functioning market economy, respect ruleof law, human rights and the rights of minorities groups. Even thoughTurkey has made massive strides in various facets of the economy,little stands to be seen in the aforementioned criteria which areprimary consideration before admission. The huge population, poorlyperforming economy, dismal human rights record, fragile politicalinstitutions and shaky market system, all but dim the chances ofTurkey becoming a member of EU and have been cited by member nations,are the major bottlenecks hampering the admission of Turkey.


Bahr,E.(2014).WhyTurkey should join the EU.Retrieved from: Foundation. (2014). Argumentsfor and against Turkey’s EU membership.

Toghill,J.(2012).Arethe official economic and political obstacles to Turkey`s EUaccession merely a `fig leaf` covering real unofficial cultural andreligious reservations?.Polis Journal Vol. 6, 2012 .Retrieved from: