Among all the countries that want to be a new member to the 28-member European Unions such as Albania, Bosnia, Turkey, etc., every single one has their own reasons think that both sides the EU and itself will benefit from the partnership. However, merely, few of those nations deserve to be a member of this great union according to the EU’s criteria. Coming to reasons what makes the EU one of the desirable union is that the EU is the one of the powerful economic and political union in the world that all countries besides Europe want to join the union in order to develop primarily economic weaknesses and life standards.
One of the member countries and still negotiating is Turkey where states between Europe and Asia, as well as the first Muslim country become a member. What makes Turkey wait such a long time is that the process applied to Turkey is exorbitant than given to any other member country. Even though Turkey that is patiently waiting to be a member of the EU, as should have been earlier, the EU should strongly consider Turkey due to the economic needs and benefits that both the EU and Turkey need.
There are primarily three preparation periods for EU membership created in order for Turkey to accord, which are preparatory period, the transitional period and the final period. Turkey first applied to the EU for a membership in 1959, and an association agreement between the European Economic Community and Turkey has been signed in 1963 (Gerhards, J., Hans, S. 2011). At the end of the transitional period, the customs union between Turkey and the EU has been envisioned to complete. Customs Union, signed on 1 January 1996, is an important step towards full membership in the EU, and the next target, as foreseen in the Treaty of Ankara, is determined as membership. On December 10 and 11 with the Helsinki Summit, Turkey's European Union membership candidacy has been registered. Held in Brussels on December 17, 2004, EU Heads of State and Government Summit in Helsinki, this decision has been approved, and the EU accession negotiations on October 3, 2005 have been decided to launch in (Morelli, V. L. 2013).
Both Turkey and the EU are at critical juncture. Joining to the EU, Turkey’s plan is mostly to gain a lot about economic side and as an increase in the standard of living, which would put Turkey as high as European standard of quality (Togan, S. 2004).
Beginning with Turkey’s economic situation, Turkey is appraised that it is in the upper-middle-income group, and its economy is in the developing position. Compare it with the EU, Turkey’s gross national income per capita (GNI) is quite lower than the EU’s. With 70 million of the people, Turkey is substantially close to a total of 10-European country’s populations. Turkey’s demographic trend is quite different from Europe; young generation in Turkey is more than Europe. As well, the population growth rate in Turkey is %1.8 while it is %0.2 in Europe (Commission of European Communities, 2004).
Turkey’s accession to the EU will be the compliment of the Custom Union in terms of some economic limitations that Turkey has been acknowledged such as agriculture. With a full membership to the EU, some limitation for tariffs on some products such as agriculture between Turkey and Europe will be abolished, and commercial integration will be increased (Commission of European Communities, 2004).
When considering the size of the market in Turkey, it is expected that Turkey’s participation into single unified market will increase the demand by European-nation countries. Consequently, this will result the prices in the market to decrease. Increased proactivity and competition in prices will contribute Turkey’s gross domestic product (GDP) to be significantly increased. It will also be anticipated that the employment would shift from the agricultural sector to service industry as well (Quaisser, W., Wood, S. 20014).
Over the last decades, capital flow between the EU and Turkey has liberalized. Despite this, some capital inflow, especially the ones come from Europe and The United States, during last 12-year period have stayed at the lowest level. However, it has been anticipated that Turkey would provide a potential market for foreign investment.
As a final point, Turkey, as a new member county, will join the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) of the EU after concession but does not have to accept Euro as currency; however, Turkey later should prepare to join the Euro zone (Commission of European Communities, 2004).
Even though, during this last period, Turkey’s image since 2014 has been damaged according the data received from the Eurobarometer (public opinion survey), there are some incontestable economic benefits that the EU will gain. According to Egemen Bagis, Turkey’s minister for European affairs, the remarkable advantages of this accession can be summarized in few words: “legislative harmony, new markets, commercial opportunities and investment potentials.”
World Bank statistic indicates that the 16th and sixth largest economy in the world and Europe, Turkey is anticipated that the country will be the fastest growing and the second growth economy by 2017 in Europe (Bagis, E., Michel, L. 2011). What makes Turkey to beneficial to Europe is that, Turkey as an indication of the custom’s union promises a lot more economic benefits to the EU. Moreover, the trade and economic relations with the European Union has been going through so intense and strong. The EU is Turkey's largest trading and investment partner. Currently, about 37 percent of Turkey’s foreign trade is with the EU-member states. It is being estimated to be 70 percent of foreign direct investment coming to the country from the EU according to Turkey’s foreign minister affairs.
Turkey’s participation will increase the size of the European internal market and the competitiveness of the EU in the global economy. Turkey, with its educated and dynamic population and prestigious location will constitute a real acquisition. Turkey, conducted by the EU, contributes humanitarian and military activities. Contributing to the country, this is not just about nominations for EU membership but supporting regional and international peace and stability, which is the key element in a multifaceted foreign policy. Special geo-strategic location and the large economic potential of Turkey's EU membership will bring tangible benefits as well. Throughout the participation to the EE, Turkey will provide added value not such burden (Bagis, E., Michel, L. 2011).
This relationship, with the ultimate goal, has a vital strategic importance to both Turkey and the EU. As discussed above, Turkey is not the only side that will benefit from this union. As Turkey will benefit, the EU has also very crucial advantages that cannot repudiates.
- Bagis, E., & Michel, L. (2011). Turkey and EU membership: a win-win situation. Retrieved from http://euobserver.com/opinion/114603
- Commission of the European Communities. (2004). Issue arising from turkey’s membership perspective. Retrieved from http://ec.europa.eu/enlargement/archives/pdf/key_documents/2004/issues_paper_en.pdf
- Gerhards, J., & Hans, S. (2011). Why not turkey? Attitudes towards Turkish membership in the eu among citizens in 27 European countries. JCMS: Journal of Common Market Studies, 49(4), 741-766.
- Morelli, V. L. (2013). European Union enlargement: A status report on Turkey’s accession negotiations. Congressional Research Service.
- Quaisser, W., & Wood, S. (2004). Turkey's EU accession: Political, economic and security considerations. Intereconomics, 39(6), 295-300.
- Togan, S. (2004). Turkey: toward EU accession. World Economy, 27(7), 1013-1045.
- Yildiz, O. (2011). Turkiye’nin ab’ye tam uyeliginin ab’ne ekonomik ve sosyal acidan saglayacagi katkilar.
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