Turkey: To Be or Not to Be in the EU

In Turkey on August 7, 2011 by vmcfarre Tagged: ,

Turkey’s entry into the European Union has been a topic of debate for years, and has spurred several online conversations. Turkey’s bid to join the EU is currently stalled, with only one of 35 negotiations completed on policy areas. German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French P

resident Nicolas Sarkozy oppose Turkish membership, while last year, U.K. Prime Minister David

Cameron said to be the “strongest possible advocate” for Turkish accession. I took it upon

myself to see what conversations and groups were forming on Facebook and on the Internet, either for or against Turkey’s admission into the EU.

Turks Against Turkey Entering the EU

Over 18,000 people like sites against Turkey entering the EU. Some of the reasons and discussions are regarding Turkey’s capitol not being in Europe and because their economy is currently better than other European countries.

Turks for Turkey Entering the EU 

A group on Facebook titled I bet I can find 1,000,000 people who do want Turkey in the EU but they only reach 2000 followers.  This group includes several links noting the progress that Turkey is making on issues with Cyprus, their relationship with Armenia and notes their important role in European history.

According to a Ian Buruma is Professor of Democracy and Human Rights at Bard College, one highly educated Turk, working for an international organization, said: “We play football with them, sing songs with them on TV, do business with them, improved our human rights, and democratized our politics. We do everything they ask us to do, and still they don’t want us.”

Turkey is in a good position to guide other Muslim countries in a more liberal-democratic direction.

Now that the Turkish economy is thriving, there will be less reason for poor Turks to seek work in other countries, let alone “swamp” them. And if the EU’s hugely expanded membership were to stand in the way of a future federal state, this might not be such a bad thing. In any case, the addition of Turkey would hardly make the crucial difference.

Europeans Against Turkey Entering the EU

One group on Facebook called At least 400 million EU citizens don ‘t want Turkey in European Union!!! Has a list of reasons for why they should not enter, including illegally occupying Cyprus, denial of genocides against the Armenians, Kurds, Greeks and Assyrians. A large majority of European citizens (for example, more than 60 percent in France and Germany) believe that Turkey should not become part of the European Union. In addition to Facebook, given U.K. Prime Minister support for Turkey, there were several articles and discussions from London-based bloggers and newspapers.  The reasoning behind their disapproval for Turkey entering the EU has a lot to do with population growth, immigration and border security.  In comparison to Poland, which entered in 2004, Turkey’s population is officially 76 million people, and when entering the EU, any citizen of a EU country, has the right to live and work in any other EU state.

Speaking to some Belgium friends, the believe that the EU in its current state needs to first figure some of their problems out with the economy before thinking of letting anyone else in.

Europeans for Turkey Entering the EU

Largest labor force in Europe with 64% under 34 years old. This statistic could be a good one a couple of years ago, when countries such as Spain and Italy were looking and promoting people to have children giving their low number of birth rates. At this point, with the challenging economy and job crisis, more immigration means more competition for EU citizens and therefore this statistic is no longer a good one for Turkey’s cause to enter the EU.

What the Future Holds

Turkey is currently the fastest economy and is the best example of a blossoming country where Muslims and Christians can live together to create a unified, growing economy. There are always two sides to a story and in this case, this ongoing debate has several sides that at times are the same reasons with two different interpretations.

At this stage, while the Greek crisis is tearing at the seams of the euro zone, the Turkish economy is booming. I agree with some of the conversations, there are so many issues with the economy in so many of the European countries, I believe these problems need to be solved before allowing anyone else in.

One Response to “Turkey: To Be or Not to Be in the EU”

  1. While I’m not sure that I agree with your bottom line conclusion about whether Turkey should join the EU or not – you do a good job of turning a lens onto social media to share how polarizing these groups and opinions can be. A site like Facebook is interesting to see which mini-movement can start around a specific point of view … and how optimistic people tend to be about how many other fans they can get who agree with them and are willing to press the like button with them! Overall, it would have been interesting to relate some of these spikes in activity (which the act of creating a Facebook page would indicate) with whether you found any communities online that were having a sustained and more involved conversation about this topic. Is it something that dominates blogs or other forums online as well? Without going slightly deeper, your post shared some great examples but didn’t quite get to dig a bit into the subject to give a broader overall picture of how important it really was to people. (4)

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