Meandering Turkey and the European Union relations: fatigue or doom
Kalaycıoğlu, Ersin (2012) Meandering Turkey and the European Union relations: fatigue or doom. In: Müller, Peter-Christian and Haluk, Kabaalioğlu, (eds.) Turkey and the European Union: Different Dimensions. Nomos, Baden, Germany, pp. 67-85. ISBN 978-3-8329-7546-3
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Turkish application for European Union (EU) membership dates back to 1987. As an associate member since 1963 Turkey holds the record for EU candidacy. Recent data analysis indicate that the split in the attitudes of the voters toward the issue of the EU membership make some impact on domestic party politics. However, we do not know whether the reverse is also true. Does the long term and oscillating prospects for membership lead to any hardening of attitudes toward the EU in Turkey and reinforce political biases and prejudices in the country? Since Turkey is the only candidate country with a Muslim majority Turkish membership prospect is to have large repercussions the Muslim states and societies of the world. This paper, using the results of surveys of nationally representative samples of Turkish voters before the 2002 and the 2007 legislative elections in Turkey, analyzes who among the voters are most likely to vote for Turkish membership in the EU if a referendum were to take place on the issue at the same time as the elections over the course of two general elections. Therefore the paper examines whether the factors contributing to attitudes toward the EU are time or context specific, or not. The findings of this paper also indicate how stable is the opposition to the EU in Turkey, on the one hand, and what types of popular alternatives to the EU membership are likely to emerge in Turkey if Turkey and the EU fall apart, on the other. The latter finding also has wide relevance to Turkey’s regional and global international relations, which in turn have large scale influences on Muslim attitudes toward the EU and beyond.
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