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Turkey and the European Union - Essay Example

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Turkey and the European Union

It will also be considering the significant impacts Turkey's accession would have on the Union, how such an enlargement could be managed, and how this would affect the future of the European Union.
Since signing the accession agreement in 1963, Turkey's declared objective is to become a full member of the European Union, and her first application was made in 1987. The reasons that she has not been accepted are based on issues concerning human rights, the Kurds, the Armenian massacre, her long-standing conflict with Cyprus and, perhaps, doubts that exist over whether she is truly European.
"Turkey confirms its traditional goal which is to align itself with [a] Europe that is politically plural, economically liberal, rich in cultural diversity and strategically necessary to the defence and security of the West" (FindArticles.com, Online Article, 2007).
While it would seem that the EU considers Turkey to be primarily an Asian country, Turkey evidently considers herself to be essentially European, and has been making efforts to 'Europeanise' herself for almost one hundred years.
The westernisation of Turkey began during the 1920s, under the leadership of Kemal Attaturk, who introduced a formal and fundamental policy based upon the ultimate goal of becoming part of the European Union. The reforms were extensive. The Latin alphabet was introduced, along with the European calendar, the Christian day of rest was adopted, and women's rights were formally recognised in 1922 (which was far more progressive than most other European countries - France, for example, didn't suffragette their female citizens until 1945!). The civil code was adopted from Switzerland, the penal code from Italy and, most importantly, Turkey brought in measures that assured the removal of Islamic political power, thus becoming a secular state like other European countries - with its only difference being that its members are predominantly Muslim rather than Christian.
Following World War II, Turkey was accepted into the West because of her strategic importance. In 1949 she became a member of the Council of Europe, in 1952 an important member of NATO, and she has been an associate member of the European Union since 1963. It is also clear that since the end of the Cold War her strategic importance has increased, rather than decreased - which is clearly demonstrated by her crucial role in the Gulf War - and this strategic position is extremely useful to Europe. Turkey could choose to align herself with the Middle East, or the ex-Soviet Republics of Transcaucasia and Asia, however, due to the political ...Show more

Summary

Turkey was officially accepted as a possible candidate for EU membership in December 1999, and in 2002 the European Council stated that if Turkey met the 'Copenhagen' criterion by 2004, it would immediately open negotiations. Since 1999, and in particular since the AKP government's election in 2002, Turkey has introduced radical reforms promoting democratisation, and has made considerable efforts concerning human rights…
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Turkey and the European Union essay example
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