Column by Alex Shaner
Citing collective defense, economic, social, political and environmental concerns, 28 states have banded together since the end of World War II to create a lasting forum for economic and political collaboration on a level not currently seen.
With the formation of a common currency, the Euro, the EU always has been looking for further interests and expansion of membership and ideals.
With this lucrative organization, many states are seeking membership and the benefits that come with such a membership.
One country in particular, Turkey, has been negotiating membership since the late 1960s.
Can Turkey complete the membership requirements and more importantly, will it be a “fit” within the EU?
I believe Turkey would make an excellent addition to shakeup the very “stuffy” EU.
However, with the current system of membership and the geo-political differences, Turkey will not be admitted for the foreseeable future for a variety of reasons.
Location, location, location. While several states including Cyprus lie beyond geographical Europe, Turkey’s geographic importance is not continental.
While it is true that Turkey is technically in Europe, only one-fourth of the country is located “in Europe.”
Geography does not always equate membership, however, in an “European” Union, it would make sense to actually be in Europe, or at least a majority.
Being on the same continent allows states to share common security concerns, environmental impacts and sense of a shared fate in collective decisions of the continent.
Second, there is a tremendous difference in culture between Turkey and the rest of the EU. An obvious difference, religion, can determine morals, political positions and cultural continuity between members.
The predominant religion in Europe, Christianity, allows for similar moral and ethical positions between the states.
While there are sizable Islam and Hindu populations within Europe, they are concentrated in urban areas and are not the majority of the population, as well as the governing beliefs as in the Church of England, for example.
This is not to say just because the majority of Turkey practices Islam, that it cannot be in the EU.
Several of the requirements within the “Chapters” of membership call for religious tolerance and freedom of expression, which currently is a problem within Turkey’s civil rights.
Besides the previous reasons, the membership process is quite lengthy, and the candidate’s status is defined into 35 chapters.
All of these areas must be completed and the guidelines met in order to be granted membership.
Out of the 35 chapters, Turkey has completed one.
Only 15 chapters are currently open, and most of them became open in 2007. The chapters range from science and technology, freedoms and liberties, free movement of capital and environmental sustainability.
These issues specifically with governing will take years for Turkey to make some effort.
While the EU can benefit from cultural diversity, the current political situation in Turkey and the lack of progress on the application process, the accession of Turkey to the EU will not happen for the foreseeable future if at all.
Shaner is a senior international relations and politics double major and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org