For Turkey, For Europe

Turkey is now, finally, negotiating with the European Commission the terms of its possible membership in the European Union. But whether “possible” becomes “eventual” remains very much an open question. Indeed, completing the negotiations is likely to prove as difficult as the decision to start them.

Recall that Turkey made its first application to join in 1959, and that since 1963, the European Economic Community, the forerunner to today’s EU, responded with a delaying tactic: a request for a customs agreement. At the same time, having never had to take “no” for an answer – and after receiving a series of nods and winks that hinted that membership might one day come – Turkey’s expectation of eventual EU integration became increasingly palpable.

But ordinary Europeans have begun looking at maps, and the geography that they see cannot be denied: 95% of Turkey’s territory and 80% of its population is in Asia. As a result, the fierce and lively debate – in Turkey and much more emphatically in the EU – about whether Turkey really belongs to Europe has continued, despite the start of negotiations.

We hope you're enjoying Project Syndicate.

To continue reading, subscribe now.

Subscribe

Get unlimited access to PS premium content, including in-depth commentaries, book reviews, exclusive interviews, On Point, the Big Picture, the PS Archive, and our annual year-ahead magazine.

http://prosyn.org/083y9bD;

Cookies and Privacy

We use cookies to improve your experience on our website. To find out more, read our updated cookie policy and privacy policy.