Thursday, November 28, 2019

Turkey And The European Union - A Unique Case In The Process Of Enlarg

Turkey And The European Union - A Unique Case In The Process Of Enlargement The European Union, formerly known as the European Community until the Treaty of Maastricht in 1992, has undergone massive changes since its inception. The European Community was an institution primarily designed to achieve Franco-German reconciliation, but has since grown to become a powerful economic and political bloc worldwide, with a diverse range of member states and objectives. The project of the European Community changed dramatically after the demise of the USSR, with the establishment of policy favouring the accession of the Central and Eastern European States. Fundamentally, for accession to the EU, this new wave of applicant states had to possess a ?European Identity', be able to maintain a stable Democracy and market economy. At this point, it is interesting to introduce the question of Turkey. Turkish involvement with, and desire to join, the European Union is a long-running episode in the history of post-war Europe. However, it was only this year that the EU attributed ?Applicant State' status to Turkey. The issue of Turkey as possessing a ?European Identity' raises various doubts; due mainly to Turkey's predominantly Muslim population, and it's geopolitical position. The EU insists that various issues require resolution before Turkish accession can take place. Such issues include Turkey's unsatisfactory human rights record, such as the treatment of the Kurdish minority and the undemocratic penal system. The issue of Turkish accession is thus proving to be a unique case in the process of EU enlargement. It is necessary, if Turkish accession to the EU is to take place, for Turkey to be seen as possessing a ?European Identity' . Although it has never been stipulated in any of the agreements formed between Turkey and the European Community, it is vital that the present constituency of the EU regards this as so. It is therefore necessary to look at the strength of Turkey's relations to Europe in recent history. The Republic of Turkey was founded in 1923 from Turkish remnants of the Ottoman Empire, which in turn created the only Muslim State with a secular democracy. The Ottoman Empire was a key player in the ?Concert of Europe', and in the aftermath of World War II, Turkey ? albeit mainly in an attempt to guard itself against an invasion from the USSR ? became eager to anchor itself in various European institutions. Turkey has since built a diverse network of bonds with Europe, and regards these ties as signs of a European Identity. Turkey was included in the post-WWII Marshall Plan, ho lds Association Status in the WEU, is a founder member of the UN, holds NATO membership, and is a member of the Council of Europe. Relations between Turkey and the EU are governed by the Ankara Agreement of 1964; which envisaged the establishment of a Customs Union, and eventual Turkish membership of the Community. This Agreement got off to a shaky start, but since January 1996 there has existed a Customs Union between Turkey and the EU. However, very few citizens of the EU are aware of such ties , so it is necessary for both Turkey and the EU Member States to educate their respective constituencies of the extent to which such mutual ties expand if integration of Turkey into the EU is to take place. Another reason for the lack of faith in Turkey's Europeanness is its geography. Turkey lies at the southeastern periphery of Europe, and is part of both the Asian and European Continents, the major part of which lies in Asia . Its neighbour states include Greece and Bulgaria to the West, Cyprus to the South, as well as Georgia, Armenia, Iran, Iraq and Syria to the East. It is nonetheless situated on all major trade routes, and during the Cold War, Turkey's geopolitical position meant that she played a great role in countering the strategic threat from the East, which as a result strengthened her ties with the USA, and in turn NATO. In spite of Turkey's numerous ties to Europe and the USA, opponents to Turkish accession contend that Turkey's close proximity to other Muslim countries is a security concern. A closer analysis of Turkey's relations with its neighbours

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