Dr. Brantz History 3134
November 13, 2007
Should Turkey Be Admitted into the European Union?
Since the creation of the European Union, there have been many debates on which country is a proper candidate for entry into the Union. Beginning in the early 1980s, the European Union has undergone a number of changes to the construct of the Union. The number of applicants to join into the union has increased dramatically. The status of Turkey’s admission to the European Union has become a matter of major significance and considerable controversy in recent years. Turkey applied for associate membership of the EU in 1959. The application resulted in an Association Agreement in 1963 whereby Turkey and the EU would conditionally and gradually create a customs union by 1995 at the latest. The customs union was considered as a step towards full membership at an unspecified future date. The EU granted Turkey financial assistance and protective tariffs in the first stage, but the second stage of gradual, mutual reductions in tariffs and non-tariff barriers was delayed due to economic and political conditions in Turkey in the 1970´s and the early 1980´s . However, in the 1990’s Turkey made progress by helping the allies in the Middle-East. Turkey was officially recognized as a full time candidate in 1999 at the Helsinki summit and will be a decade until an answer about Turkey’s admission is finalized. As of 2002 a more positive outlook for Turkey is clear . There are many reasons why Turkey would want to join the EU. The economies of both Turkey and the European nation’s part of the Union would have a boost in their economies, and it would help to industrialize Turkey; who is underdeveloped compared to other western countries. Another positive for both sides is that it opens the doors to a huge populated country open for development. If Turkey joined the union is that it would open the doors between the western world and the Islamic world. This would serve as a symbol of the positive effect of transforming an originally authoritarian system into a democracy . Turkey joining the union would serve as a positive example for other Middle Eastern countries.
There are many positives for Turkey joining the European Union, but Turkey would certainly benefit the most from the changes. An important aspect of Turkey joining the EU is that the economies of the countries already in the union and Turkey will improve. If Turkey is accepted into the EU then there will be substantial economic benefits and it will help to stabilize the economy and help to improve democratic values in Turkey. However, Turkey has had a weak economic background in the past. By the end of World War II the economic systems hadn’t been changed for a hundred years. The population remained mostly agricultural and using outdated farming methods. Cities and towns lived off the countryside and transportation was mainly on the coast. After the 1950’s the country suffered economic disturbances where an industry led to a period of rapid expansion, marked by a sharp increase in exports, which resulted in a balance of payment crisis, the worst of these crisis was in the late 1970’s, where inflation reached triple digits, unemployment had risen about 15 percent, and the government was unable to pay any interest on foreign loans. However, in January 1980, Deputy Prime Minister Turget Ozal began to shift Turkey’s economy toward more exports. Ozal called for import-substitution policies to be replaced with polices designed to encourage exports that could finance imports giving Turkey a chance to break out of a pattern of rapid growth and inflation. Although inflation eased in 1985 and 1986, it still remains a primary issue. In the 1990’s the pattern of economic rise then fall was similar. In the 1996, agriculture contributed 15 percent to the GDP and 43% of the labor force was engaged in agriculture. As of today Turkey’s economy is complex mix of agriculture...