It is implausible to assume thatTurkish perceptions have not been
inuenced by the euro zone crisis.
process. Large parts o the urkish public, as well as many policymakers, are rustrated with Europe. urkey has beenwaiting on the doorsteps o the European Union since theurkish application to the European Economic Commu-nity (EEC) in 1959, shortly aer the Greek application.In 1963, urkey and the EEC signed the “Ankara Agree-ment” that established a three-phased customs union. In1987, urkish Prime Minister urgut Ozal applied or ullmembership. In considering the application, the EuropeanCommission at the time underlined the need or compre-hensive cooperation and acilitation o the Customs Unionby 1995. In 2004, the EU decided to start accession nego-tiations with urkey due to the reorm package that thegovernment o Recep ayyip Erdoğan initiated. However,since then the accession negotiations have ground to anoticeable halt. So ar, 13 chapters ranging rom scienceand research, industry, consumer and health protection, tointellectual property law have been opened. However, theEuropean Council halted negotiations on eight chaptersthat relate to urkey’s restrictions regarding the Republic o Cyprus in 2006.
Public opinion in both Europe and urkey has ollowedthis general trajectory. Te
show that in 2004, 62 percent o urks supported urkey’smembership to the EU. However, as the accession negotia-tions slowed down, the approval rates also went down dras-tically. Te 2011 Eurobarometer survey shows that only 45percent o the urkish public considers urkey’s member-ship to the EU as “a good thing.” Te more worrisomendings o the same survey is that in 2011, the percentageo survey participants who consider joining the EU as a“bad thing” jumped rom 12 percent in 2004 to 26 percentin 2011.
Having once been thought o as the solution tourkey’s many domestic problems, Europe is suering roman image and perception problem in urkey. It is impos-sible to quantiy the role the euro zone crisis has played inthese numbers. Yet, it is implausible to assume that urkishperceptions have not been infuenced by the crisis.Although the ocial urkish position remains supportiveo Ankara’s accession to the EU, a loss o motivation romurkish leadership is apparent. When the Justice andDevelopment Party (AKP) came to power in November
2 Turkey 2011 Progress Report3 http://ec.europa.eu/public_opinion/cf/showchart_line.cfm?keyID=5&nationID=30,&startdate=2004.10&enddate=2009.11
2002, many secular parts o society eared that the party would pursue a “hidden agenda” to gradually Islamize theRepublic. However Erdoğan and his party became the most vocal advocates o accession to European Union whileAtaturk’s party, the Republican People’s Party (CHP), aswell as the urkish army voiced opposition. In 2004, only two years aer the urkish elections, the EU decided tostart accession negotiations with urkey due to the reormpackage that the AKP had initiated. Te EU thereby vindi-cated Erdoğan and handed him a major domestic victory.Yet, the ri between Erdoğan and then French PresidentNicolas Sarkozy as well as German Chancellor AngelaMerkel paralyzed urkey’s relations with Europe. Aerthe French Parliament passed a bill making it illegal todeny the massacre o Armenians in 1915 as genocide,Erdoğan warned Europe: “Tis is a racist and discrimina-tory approach; i you cannot see this, then you are dea tothe ootsteps o ascism in Europe.”
Erdoğan’s emotionalresponses have rustrated many European leaders. Yet,President Gul still advocates and still seems to believe thatthe EU is vitally important or urkey’s democrazation andreorm process. However, despite his position as the presi-dent, Gul’s infuence in oreign policy has been in declinesince the euro zone crisis. Given his more moderate dispo-sition and rhetoric as head o state, as in other Europeancountries, the more extreme nationalist and populist voiceshave drowned the President’s voice out.
Turkey and Europe Still Need Each Other
Te EU is no longer the sole driver o reorm now thaturkey is coming o age as a regional power in the midst o the Arab Spring and euro zone crisis. Reorm must comerom within. Yet the EU is needed as an anchor. In act, itis needed more now than ever beore, especially in orderto encourage the pro-reorm grand coalition that the AKPsucceeded in rallying in its rst decade in oce. Tis coali-tion is now in disarray and o course, as curtailments o