Eurobarometer: Turks seem ambivalent on EU membership

Majority of Turks do not favour EU membership with 40 percent while 33 percent perceive country’s EU bid as positive, according to survey conducted by Eurobarometer in May

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Most of Turks regard the country’s undulant integration with the European Union as a “negative” process and seemed ambivalent towards the EU membership, an EU sponsored public poll, which was carried out by the Union’s official statistic department, Eurobarometer, revealed on Sunday.

Participants to the Eurobarometer survey, which was carried out between May 16 and 27, were asked whether Turkey’s EU membership would be “a good thing,” a “bad thing” or “neither good nor bad” thing.

Eurobarometer survey revealed that almost 40 percent of Turks perceive the EU membership as a “bad” thing for the country’s political and economic future whereas 33 percent said it would be good for Turkey, a proportion that indicated 5 percent increase in Turks’ support for Ankara’s bid to join to the 28-nation bloc in comparison with a six months ago survey results.

However, the same survey also unrolled that 55 percent of the respondents believed Turkey would benefit from being a member in the EU, while 36 percent responded negatively, as saying the country would not benefit from being a member in Europe.

Turkey and the EU have been negotiating since 1963 Ankara Agreement, but Ankara was given a membership perspective in 1999 and the EU opened negotiation chapters in 2005.

So far, the EU and Turkey have fulfilled the negotiation of 14 chapters out of 35 and 17 others remain blocked, including the ones on economic and monetary policy as well as on education and culture.

Turkey or any candidate must fulfil political (Copenhagen) and economic (Maastricht) criterias (conditionality) which are the only measures for a country to become a member in the EU.

Turkey’s accession talks had stalled in 2013 when some countries in the EU, most notably Greek Cypriots and France, have blocked Turkey’s negotiation chapters due to the Cyprus problem and 1915 Armenian events, which are not considered as part of the conditionality.

However, the eurozone economic crisis negatively affected Turkish public’s stance towards a prospective EU membership as some social and political issues like Islamophobia, anti-migrant sentiments and refugee problem in Europe also complicated the Union’s eastward enlargements in the recent years.

TRTWorld, AA