even progress on these fronts may not solve the debate, as there is no cure-all solution for the delay in accession negotiations. If trends continue to progress in the same manner even after a significant Turkish policy shift, it may come to bear that EU accession is notin Turkey¶s best interests and other types of partnerships with European countries mightserve the Mediterranean power better.
ooted Norms of the European Union and Barriers to Expansion
The priority of the EU is to maintain stability, and the urgency for this need hasonly been exacerbated by the recent financial crisis. Unfortunately, another priority of theEU can also serve as a hindrance to this desired stability: EU expansion. Expansion has been a slow and laborious process, and as the EU expands, candidate states will bescrutinized more heavily to ensure that their accession will not undermine the stability of the European community. Turkey has been scrutinized even more heavily than mostcandidates, and it is possible that Turkey¶s delays in implementing political reform havecost the country dearly. Since the early 2000s, xenophobia and inward attitudes havegrown dramatically across the European continent, and Turkey is finding it increasinglydifficult to gain popularity with a European constituency. This change in attitudes has been reinforced by recent rhetoric from key European leaders who have hinted that evenif Turkey completes all the reforms necessary, it may not be accepted into the exclusiveclub of European states. For example, Valéry Giscard d¶Estaing ominously declared in2002 that, ³Turkey has a different culture, a different approach, and a different way of life«[Turkey¶s accession] would mean the end of Europe.´
This theme has beenelaborated by other prominent figures, most recently by Sarkozy¶s reaffirmation thatTurkey is not European and Merkel¶s lugubrious claim that multiculturalism in Germanyhas failed (important because four percent of Germany¶s population is of Turkishorigin).
The implications of these sentiments and statements are two fold: first, thatthere is an identity in the EU that Turkey cannot claim to be a part of, and second, thatTurkey¶s accession is increasingly associated with instability. Perhaps Jonathan Davidsonoutlined the real issues facing Turkey best during an event at the National Press Club inWashington, D.C. in 2005: ³The arguments for and against Turkish accession to the EU,in my view, can be grouped«into two groups: the identity issues, i.e., religion, culture,Turkey¶s affinity with Europe; and the issues of scale, i.e. the huge size of Turkey, the population«´
Davidson reaffirmed the implications made by other European leaders,and in his statement, he asserted that there is an identity within the EU and that Turkeydoes not seem to cut it as a European country in the perceptions of those that matter.The foundation of EU stability and identity rests on two pillars²Christianity anda delicate balance of power. There is much debate within the EU about finding a commonidentity, and there is considerable disagreement on many aspects of this identity, there isone element that assumes a resonant role in European politics²Christianity. Critics of this view will argue that the EU is not officially Christian, and two attempts to codify aChristian identity have been rebuffed by secularist forces. Furthermore, it has been proven that while a large majority of Europeans are officially Christian, many of them areunsure of their faith. For example, a 2005 Special Eurobarometer Survey found that only52 percent of EU citizens believed that there is a God, and 18 percent stated that they didnot believe in a God or any other spirit or life force.
But the major decisions within theEU are not made at the citizen level; rather, it is the elites that exert control over political