Sedat Laciner, Mehmet Ozcan and Ihsan Bal: European Union with Turkey: The Possible Impact of Turkey’s Membership on the European Union
Turkey’s 22 July 2007 parliamentary elections resulted in a clear victory for the ruling Justice and Development Party, in Turkish known as Adaket ve Kalkinma Partisi or AKP. AKP is part of the right-wing, conservative spectrum of the Turkish political arena. In the West (with the post 9/11 scenario of distrust of anything smacking of ‘Muslim revivalism’) as well as among Turkey’s secular-minded elites and many citizens, the AKP is often perceived as ‘Islamist’ and thus as a danger and detriment to Turkey’s EU membership, regardless of the fact that it had been the AKP government which carried out drastic reforms of its legal and economic, and institutional system. Based on what it views as merely lukewarm support for its accession to the EU and alleged double standards in its negotiations, the Turkish public has become increasingly ‘eurosceptic’ in recent times, as revealed by several surveys. Ankara has been trying desperately to comply with EU legislation and standards, but Brussels has so far refused to back 2013 as a deadline for Turkey’s EU membership. It is believed that the accession process will take at least 15 years, if not longer. In spite of Turkey’s impressive record in terms of moving towards regional integration, the issue of the country’s future EU accession constitutes to date the central controversy of the ongoing enlargement of the EU. Among the Turkish public as well as the present Turkish government (both of which had been rather enthusiastically supportive of the bid for EU membership in the past) significant changes of ‘mood’ in this regard are noticeable.