After nearly six decades of various attempts to unite the European states through a democratic process, the integration of a new state within the conglomerate has never been as difficult and disputable as is the case of Turkey. …
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Since 1959, when Turkey sent in its application to join the European Union (then known as the European Economic Community), Europe has been pondering over the fact whether a primarily Islamic nation lying mostly outside European geographic borders can really be made a part of the Union. While Turkey and EU have a common past of contractual relationship for many years, which led to the negotiations for accession in 2005, the former has always been perceived as an outsider, with whom Europe established relationships primarily for security reasons. The decision to start official talks on Turkey’s EU membership was made on 16 December 2004, while the accession negotiations started on 3 October 2005. This met with a hurdle, when Austria and Germany asked for permissions to allow ‘privileged partnership’ for Turkey without actually making it a full member. With other member states not agreeing to this clause, accession negotiations started, aimed at a full membership. However, negotiations have been adjourned on many instances since 2006, primarily due to objections raised by Cyprus, which is against Turkey’s accession to the EU membership (Barber, 2009). This is owing to the fact that currently the island of Cyprus is divided, wherein the Turkish troops have occupied its northern part and its ships are denied entry into Turkish ports. Austria and France have also declared their intention of holding a referendum on Turkey's EU membership. Currently, out of 35 accession chapters eight have been adjourned, which has effectively interrupted the membership negotiations. Owing to this, there has been a sharp fall in pro-EU support amongst the Turks, where a majority believe the accession process is biased and close-ended (Sayfa, 2013). A closer study reveals that majority of the EU member states never considered the EU-Turkey relationship as an essential part of the EU integration. Even after nearly five decades of EU’s relationship with Turkey, the perspective did not change, on the other hand the feeling of alienation increased on both sides (Cendrowicz, 2009). While a majority of the Europeans viewed Turkey as an outsider, the Turks felt that Europe as a political entity cannot be trusted, especially after the Treaty of Sevres post WWI, and furthermore after viewing unwillingness on part of the EU to assist Turkey once the accession negotiations started. In this context, the essay analyses the highly controversial issue of Turkey’s integration into the EU, and highlights the main arguments for and against Turkey's entry to the Union. Discussion Hurdles to the EU accession based on legal principles There were six member states that created the European Community for Coal and Steel (primarily states from Western Europe) in 1952, later known as the European Economic Community or EEC (1957), and which is now referred to as the EU. The preamble of the EEC treaty stated very clearly that this treaty aimed at creating a close union among the European people. In the same treaty, Article 237 stated that all European states are eligible to become a part of this Community. This article has since them become the foundation for integration, and is an essential aspect in the political and legal basis of the EU and the Union’s policy to unite Europe. This aspect has been reiterated in the 1993 Maastricht Treaty and had been considered in the proposal for 2004 drafting of the treaty for the Constitution for Europe, ratified by all EU member states. This treaty states in Article I-58 that all European states are free to enter the Union. Thus, here the main emphasis has always been on ‘European states,’ and all contractual provisions become a part of the common law framed by the different European treaties, binding
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