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Turkish accession to the European Union Research Paper


This paper will contain information that pertains to Turkey’s accession to the European Union. It will contain research questions, an explanation as to how the research questions will be of help to the topic in question; through answering the research questions the topic of the paper will be fully and critically answered.

The literature review that will contain written literature that will discuss the history of Turkey and the European Union and how Turkey came to be interested in the European Union as well as literature pertaining to the discussions held by members of the European Union towards the request of Turkey being a part of the European Union.

This paper will contain a hypothesis that would be proven and supported or discredited through conducted research relevant to the content of the topic question. Methodology to be used in the research will also be included in the paper and finally a conclusion and bibliography will be included in the paper as well.

Research question

What is the European Union?

When and why did Turkey join the European Union?

The above research questions when addressed will be able to give us a brief history of the European Union and how it came to be. These questions will also give a brief explanation of why the European Union was founded and its activities. These questions will also give us an overview of the activities of the European Union and how and when Turkey came to be a member of the European Union.

These research questions are important they it will critically and analytically trace Turkey’s interest in the European Union up to the point it joined the union and the activities that turkey has helped with and carried under the European Union. Through addressing the research question we will understand and find out the reasons as to why Turkey joined the European Union and how the other members of the union reacted to this addition.

The research questions will also be able to give the advantages and disadvantages of Turkey joining the European Union both on the Turkish side and the European Union. Through critically analyzing these advantages and disadvantages one will be able to draw conclusions and decide for one self if Turkey’s choice of joining the European Union was a right move or a wrong move.

Literature Review

Macapahil (2008 45) states that the ruling party in Turkey, AK, is still very much at the fore front to the full accession to the European Union, however the citizens of Turkey appear to be more reluctant to join the European Union. This tells us the citizens of turkey have come to the realization that the current headship of the European Union is against Turkey joining the Union.

This coupled with the Citizens of Turkey also not wanting to join the Union, shows there is a grim hope of Turkey ever joining the Union. Resentment for Turkey to join the European Union does not come from Turkish citizens but other European countries a well namely; France, Spain, Italy, Germany, United Kingdom, Belgium and the Netherlands. (Bilge, 2000 45).

The main reason for this resentment comes down to the fact that Turkey is not in Europe and the members feel that its geographical position should be a reason as to why Turkey should not join the European Union as it was formed for the European Countries and not countries located outside Europe. The Turks feel and understand this discrimination hence why they do not want to join the European Union as they know they will be prejudiced against due to the fact that their country is not geographically located in Europe.

According to Schimmelfennig (2009 25), the resolution by the European Union to open up talks that would lead to the appointment of Turkey to the European Union was one of the topics that brought about great controversy. This was because rejection was extremely high among the influential people as well as the public as well. The question as to why Turkey was not invited to join the Union during the Brussels EU Council held in December 2004 by any of the Members Veto power was raised.

This is to show that the member states did not want Turkey to join the European Union; from this piece of literature we can easily conclude that the member states of the EU did not want new members and in addition they did not consider Turkey to be in Europe or want it as a member of the Union. The issue comes in the sense that not all veto wielding countries are in agreement of allowing Turkey to join the European Union.

Steinmo 2008 argues that the choices presented to the member states in the year 2004 had been inhibited by the resolutions made in the previous years. These decisions can be retraced to the verdict at the Helsinki summit to propose candidature to Turkey.

During the Helsinki summit the member states only agreed and consented to identify and be acquainted with Turkey as a candidate for membership. This in simple terms states that Turkey would have to go thorough a rigorous series of political and economic improvement that are up to the standards of the European Union member States so as to be accepted as a member of the union.

If Turkey was to fail or not comply with these political and economic standards then it means their proposed candidature to the European Union would be revoked taking away all the hopes of Turkey ever becoming a member of the European Union. The changes needed in the political and economic sectors would adequately affect the citizens of Turkey and it would force them to assimilate the political and economic ways of the European Union member states so as to be at par with them.

In reference to George and Bennett (2005 20-55). Turkey was offered candidacy to the European Union as a wide effect of variations brought forth by the end of the cold war. Some of these changes encompassed and inclined the guidelines of decisions to be made in this case the proposal of Turkey to be offered candidature seemed to be a brilliant idea and was thought to be essential.

With such an offer on the table the Turks were very much persuaded to undertake a serious domestic reform for the constitution and the relationship between Ankara and the EU was strengthened. The problem then came with the issue of the geographical area of Turkey with some of the members denying Turkey membership because it was not in Europe geographically.

During the cold war the eastern and western countries were at war of ideologies with each other. Each of the sides wanted to have the more allies than the other and therefore these countries offered economic assistance to the developing countries so as they could join one of the sides; capitalism or communism.

It is during this ideological war that the European Union saw a golden chance of offering candidacy to Turkey so as Turkey could join and become part and parcel of the capitalist countries. The candidacy was offered to Turkey so as the capitalism countries could continue to spread their ideas to this country. The European Union put in a lot of money in form of financial and economic assistance so as to ensure that Turkey was on the capitalist side.

According to Ankara-Hurriyet Daily News 2010 the British Prime ministers fully supports Turkeys bid to join the European Union and that he would fight for Turkey to be accepted into the union. The prime minister stated that the other members should look at the things Turkey has done including the Turkish soldiers in Afghanistan alongside the European troops keeping the peace, protecting Europe as it is a NATO ally.

All these aspects should be looked upon and considered alongside Turkey’s bid to the European Union. This simply shows that the British are fully supporting the bid by Turkey while at the same time some European countries that are member states of the union are not supporting this cause. This shows the reason as to why Britain feels the need to try and convince the other members to accept the bid by Turkey as it has to be a unilateral decision by all member states on order to accept a new member.

Prime Minister Cameron went ahead to state that there were three different groups of people who were championing the rejection of the bid by Turkey to join the European Union. The fist were the protectionist that viewed Turkey as an economic threat, the second were the polarized they based their rejection on the history of the country and a conflict of cultures and last but not least the prejudiced who based their rejection on religion.

The fact that majority of Turks are Muslims seems to be a hurdle to some of the member states of the European Union even though that Turkey is a secular and democratic state. Through these statements we are able to conclude that the European Union is a secular organization that is not run according to any particular religion, this drives home the fact that some member states of the European Union are clutching at any straws so as to deny Turkey membership in the European View.

According to Bilge (2000, 63), the European Union did not act accordingly in the Greek-Turkish conflict when this took place. These two countries were historical rivals and its resolution involved leaders of both countries holding talks and coming up with general collective characteristics that both countries shared, and also entertain ideas of a union between Greece and turkey to be called Greek-Turkish union. The idea of the Greek-Turkish union however happened way before the formation of the European Economic Community which was converted to European Community which eventually became the European Union.

Greece and Turkey both applied to join the EEC in 1959 when the relations between the two countries were already unpleasant because of Cyprus. Due to this dispute over Cyprus, the rejection by other members of the union came into play. The nature of conflict was to escalate after a while whereby, the member states would be forced to ally themselves with either of the countries and this is why the member states rejected both countries as they did not want to be forced to choose sides.

The European Union watched as these two countries fought over Cyprus and border disputes. The European was expected to set in and offer a solution to this conflict but they choose to stay at the sidelines. Despite the fact that both countries were candidates to the European Union and they both maintained close ties with the Union while the relationship between the two countries remained hostile to each other. (Hurriyet Daily News 2007)

The European Union proved to be unsuccessful as it did not have any optimistic influence on the conflicts between these two states. This was due to the fact during the conflicts the European Union did not act out its part and only started getting actively involved on such matters after 1999 in both countries.

However the Unions involvements in dispute settling have been quite limited and development on Turkey’s membership has been connected to the resolving of the border dispute with Greece. This resolution put in place a structure and an agenda that would be used by both parties when disputes arose in the future.


H1-Turkey does not possess the right qualities to be a member state of the European Union.


In order to prove the above hypothesis, case studies, written literature and research articles will be used. These methods will provide a good strong base whereby one can draw conclusions pertaining to either way. Sources that are to be used to answer the research question and prove the hypothesis will range form E-books, internet articles, case studies and literature reviews previously conducted on the relevant topics. Through answering the research question one will be able to test the hypothesis and draw conclusions from the research carried out.

Literatures reviews concerning the topics have been critiqued therefore leaving it open for any person to draw their own conclusions on the topic of Turkey joining the European Union.

Then again the literature reviews give insight on the process of the application by Turkey to be part of the union since 1959 when the Union was known as EEC. From 1959, debates by member state have been carried out so as to know if it would be advantageous to add Turkey to the union. This shows us that there are some member states that are relentless when it comes to opposing the membership of Turkey.

In conclusion there are different reasons as to why the European Union would integrate or reject Turkey. This all depends on the member states and how they vote. The debates whether to include Turkey have been active since 1959 and these debates are still on going. The Member states of the union need be on the same page when it comes to Turkey’s integration and this has proven difficult in the application of turkey.

Some member states that are rejecting Turkey are basing their arguments on the geographical area of Turkey. The fact that Turkey is not located in Europe yet it wants to join the European Union seems to be a challenge to some of the member states. Another factor that seems to be a basis for rejection of Turkey is the economic activities that the European Union will undertake if Turkey becomes a full member. Some of the members argue that it would be a loss to allow turkey to join them, hence the rejection based on financial abilities.

This paper has come up with research questions that when fully answered will prove or disapprove the hypotheses of this paper. With the help of literature reviews on the relevant topics that are concerned with and linked with the topic in question one would be able to know if Turkey has what it takes to be a full member of the European Union and if the advantages will be experience on the Turkey side or on the European Union side.


Bilge, A.S., 2000., Buyuk Dus: Turk-Yunan Siyasi Iliskileri [Megali Idea: Turkish-Greek Political Relations], Ankara: Yuzyil Yayinlari.

George, A. & Bennett, A., 2005. Case studies and theory development in the social sciences. London: MIT Press.

Hurriyet Daily News, British PM says he will ‘Passionately fight’ for Turkey’s EU bid. Ankara – July 27, 2010. Web.

Macapahil, B., 2008. . Web.

Schimmelfennig, F., 2009. Entrapped again: The way to EU membership negotiations with Turkey. International Politics 46:4, pp 413-431.

Steinmo S., 2008. Historical Institutionalism in Approaches and methodologies in the social sciences.” London: Cambridge University Press Cambridge.

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"Turkish accession to the European Union." IvyPanda, 27 Nov. 2019,

1. IvyPanda. "Turkish accession to the European Union." November 27, 2019.


IvyPanda. "Turkish accession to the European Union." November 27, 2019.


IvyPanda. 2019. "Turkish accession to the European Union." November 27, 2019.


IvyPanda. (2019) 'Turkish accession to the European Union'. 27 November.

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