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Turkey’s ambitions of joining the European Union (EU) were always going to be countered with some resistance due to the very fact that the nation is situated right between Europe and Asia. However, despite all the odds, Turkey should go ahead and make its way into the EU. First of all, there are several factors that should not even in the least be considered while contemplating Turkey’s inclusion in the EU. The issue of religion should not arise at any point. Indeed, most of Turkey’s population is Islamic unlike many if not all EU countries which present largely Christian populations. From this viewpoint alone, one would rationalize Turkey’s exclusion from the EU. However, the very dictates of the European Union are that it is fundamentally a non religion – based entity or body. Its constituents are bound by political orientation and structure while religion is not considered a primary baseline. Excluding Turkey from the EU on religious grounds would be gross misrepresentation of the EU’s mandate because Turkey is becoming an increasingly secular government. And even if not, the Muslims represented in the EU by their parent countries are well over millions.
Yet again, another argument would arise hinging on Turkey’s capital (Ankara) being wholly inside the Asian continent. Naturally, the EU would prefer having its constituents’ powerbases located in Europe. However, the Union’s authority focuses on a Nation’s political setup and regional influence and so factors such as capital cities and Geographical positioning should not be considered while vetting the candidature of a nation.
Lengthy debate regarding Turkey’s EU membership is already straining its economic and political ties with nations falling under the European Union. Resistance to Turkey’s candidature would eventually do more harm than good to the already existing relationship between the country and other EU states.
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At the moment, Turkey’s progress towards EU membership seems to have stalled but this should not be mistaken for lack of effort or will on the Turkish government’s part. Having completed only thirteen chapters since the inception of membership consultations in 2005, Turkey appears to be well - pressed for time. But it is not entirely Turkey’s doing. Incidentally, most of the subsequent chapters have been blocked by EU states whose capitals are in dispute with Ankara.
Cyprus has been on a collision course with Turkey many times. The South Cypriot benefits from EU coverage while the Cypriot North is not internationally recognized as an EU affiliate. Yet Turkey has closer ties to the latter and when the Southern government expressed interest in oil and gas drilling Turkey protested. It is hard to understand how a nation like Cyprus would achieve EU membership in view of the conflict between the Northern and Southern factions, while Turkey’s membership is subjected to debate over minor technicalities like the treatment of Kurdish Turks.
Turkey’s non recognition of Cyprus as an EU member makes it by extension EU opponents, which is not the case. Cyprus is a certified EU member since 2004, so how come only the Cypriot South benefits from EU membership? If Turkey was to be made an EU state, it would naturally become the second most influential state by virtue of its population, after Germany without even bearing in mind its rapid growth rate. This influence of Turkey in the EU is what most nations are opposing. But then again, why have a member under the Union without welcoming its influence in the first place?
Turkey has an agreement with only Turkish Cypriots regarding gas and oil exploration. Therefore the presence of Turkish navy and air force together with oil exploration vessels along the Mediterranean is a cause of concern for the Cyprus government, especially in view of the ongoing dispute over the ownership of the Cyprian resources between the Northern and Southern parties. While Turkey maintains that they will explore all avenues of peace in their dealings, they insist that their interests as a nation will be protected at all times. Such a firm stance is frowned upon by the EU, further hampering Turkey’s bid for EU membership.
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Turkey’s European Membership could yet be a long in coming, but the state has valid ground to push their agenda for EU membership.
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