The European Union has been able to sustain itself for decades because of its long term commitment to peace and international stability. The willingness of member nations to come together on a single platform and cooperate for the greater good has strengthened the organization extensively. The EU has been extremely cautious, more or less, when it comes to adding new members as it does not want to risk losing cooperation and balance, which it has worked hard to maintain. Turkey’s application for membership to the EU poses a great concern for the EU as it exposes questions on its current membership policies, questions to which none of the member nations will respond. The EU has been quite clear about its membership policies, however, when it comes to the admission of Turkey, the path becomes murkier.
Turkey had acquired an Associate Membership in the EU since the Association Agreement which came into effect on 1st December 1964. Formally, Turkey applied for EU membership on 14th April 1987. During the time of the application, Turkey was undergoing a political and economical transitional phase, which included issues between Turkey and Cyprus. During the summit of Helsinki European Council in 1999 problems between Turkey and Cyprus were overlooked and Turkey was found fit as a candidate due to its improved conditions with other member nations.
The fate of Turkey’s admission was brought up again in the Copenhagen European Council in 2002. Member nations, although not a majority, found Turkey to be stable enough to take the discussion forward. On October 3, 2005, EU leaders decided to reopen the topic of Turkey’s admission. However, the talks were again hindered due to Turkey’s internal political tensions and continued tensions with Cyprus. The talks were haulted on December 2006.
Today, Turkey is struggling to overcome the hurdles that are preventing its ability to satisfy the EU of its stability. According to a source, the chapters that are a part of the negotiations have been filled, but still out of thirty-five chapters many still remain unfilled. As a matter of fact, out of the thirty-five chapters, six chapters were blocked by Cyprus. This action shows the disintergrating relationship between Turkey and Cyprus and contributes to a bigger picture as to why the EU and its member states struggle to fully proceed with the negotiations and for Turkey to become a full member of the European Union.
There are member nations in the EU who strongly oppose Turkey’s admission to the EU. Involvement of the UN amid tensions between Cyprus and EU highlights this. In the past, several disputes have occurred between the Greek Cypriots and the Turkish Cypriots. Additionally, actions taken by the EU and the UN are in northern Cyprus. Due to its complicated nature, the conflict has been “frozen.”
Thus, in spite of being tackled globally, no concrete agreement has been reached. Within Turkey censorship and the use of violence such as torture of the Kurdish minority has worsened an already deteriorating situation. Many nations have questioned the admission of Turkey as “unethical” due to repeated human rights violations. Issues such as this have sparked heated arguments between the leaders of Turkey and the EU. Turkey is a part of EU; however in its connection to the organization, it has failed to abide by the Ankara agreement. This recently has escalated into a large problem and has led to the EU questioning the decision of allowing Turkey to become part of the Union.
The primary reason why few nations have expressed negative opinions with respect to Turkey’s stand is due to “small independent lobbies” within the EU. If one nation opposes it, many nations will follow suit. “The Ankara agreement was broken,” hence this issue has brought stress on EU leaders. Experts propose that talks should be held to propose a solution; compromises are a must, hence both sides should compromise in order to reach a mutual solution. But in diplomacy no one is ready to compromise. Due to the lack of compliance, many sanctions have been placed on Turkey. This has complicated the issue even more. This step could have been used as an incentive to convince Turkey to set aside certain controversial policies in order to achieve economic growth and expansion.