The AKP vote seems to becorrelated with a pro-EU stanceof the voters. It looks as if whenAKP support surged to close to50 percent, so did the attitudes toward the EU.
chie negotiator, Egemen Bağış, was getting rustrated, ashe began publicly to threaten and ume against the EUand EU member countries. Te media in urkey increasedreporting in 2009 and 2010 that the accession negotia-tions were being blocked unairly by French and Cypriot(Greek) vetoes. Te negativism in the declarations o boththe government spokespersons and o the media seemed tohave made an impact on the responses given by the peopleto
in 2010.Te urkish mood toward the EU has become moremarginal and sanguine, as the urkish economy continuedto register relatively high growth rates aer 2009 even aseurozone countries, especially Greece ollowed by Portugaland Ireland, began to show signs o economic disaster.In 2011, urkish national elections were also won by theJustice and Development Party (AKP), which has builta Europhile image among the voters. In a recent article(“Public Choice and oreign Aairs: Democracy and Inter-national Relations in urkey,”
New Perspectives on Turkey
, vol. 40 May 2009: 59-83), this author has shown that thereis some empirical evidence that the only oreign policy issuethat has any impact on the AKP’s support at the polls wasthe support or EU membership o urkey. Te AKP voteseems to be correlated with a pro-EU stance o the voters. Itlooks as i when AKP support surged to close to 50 percent,so did the attitudes toward the EU.It is also a matter o act that the Republican People’sParty’s (CHP) earlier Euroscepticism seems to have some-what subsided since the change o leadership in that party rom Deniz Baykal to Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu in 2010. Tenew leader, Kılıçdaroğlu, and associates are more avor-ably disposed toward the EU, as has been evident in their visits to EU headquarters in Brussels, contacts with theEU ocials in urkey and Europe, and their declarationsin the media. Te divide over the issue o EU member-ship between the AKP government and the CHP opposi-tion seemed to have dwindled since 2010. Consequently,ewer voters have been hearing Eurosceptic or Europhobicmessages rom the main party leaders in the country in thelast two years.Te overall image o the country seems to have alsoimproved rom 2010 to 2011, as the economy receivesplaudits or its perormance at home and abroad, and sodoes the image o Prime Minister Erdoğan and his party,who seem to boost public support or any issue that they stand or, whether it is the Middle East (Gaza and Pales-tine, Gadda or the Libyan ransitional National Council),the United States, or the EU. urkey in the eyes o theurkish voters does not seem to look poor any longer; itseems to be more respected and possess more so powerin the world. When the prime minister and other memberso the government speak, the world seems to pay moreattention, particularly since the 2009 Davos “one minute”incident between Erdoğan and President Peres o Israel.
also indicates that although the sizeo the country, with 75 million inhabitants, is still seen as aproblem, the preponderance o Muslims in urkey seemsnot to carry much weight in the assessment o entry intothe EU, either in the eyes o the urks or the Europeans. Tecurrent enriched and empowered image o the country inthe eyes o its citizens seems to have improved their evalua-tion o the chances o urkish entry as a ull member in theEU as well.Te EU and its member states seem to be increasingly enguled in worries about the daunting problems o slowgrowth, recalcitrant high unemployment, and insolvency o eurozone member countries. Enlargement seems to havedropped o the EU agenda, or at the least, lost its urgency in the EU circles, not only or urkey but also or the moreavored candidates as well. Tus, urkish entry into the EUseems to have become not less but more probable under thecircumstances in the eyes o the urkish voters.
Public opinion is changed by domestic and national eventso the time, and it is anything but stable. urkish public