What will happen if Turkey joins the EU?
On January 10 French Parliament by the majority of votes approved the bill forbidding students from wearing religious symbols in public. Both the President and the government of France were initiating this bill. Meanwhile, it raised protests within the Moslem community not only in France, but also in the neighboring countries.
Even Egypt had demonstration in support of French Moslems. This demonstrated how complicated the problem of integrating Moslems into the European community is. What will happen if Turkey joins the EU?
Turkey expressed the desire to become a part of the EU long time ago. In 1960s the European Economic Community and Turkey established joint association. In 1987 Turkey applied for joining the EU, but was rejected. Yet 12 years later the EU granted Turkey the status of candidate. The application will be considered in December 2004.
There are plenty of obstacles for Turkey on the way to the EU. Brussels doubts if democratic institutions of Turkey are strong enough because military regimes ruled the country for a long time. In addition, the issue of Kurds has not been solved yet. This problem was mitigated by arresting leader of Turkish Kurds Abdulla Odzhlann, but the conflict between Kurds and Turkish authorities is not over.
Also, disputes with Greece over the territory and deploying Turkish troops in the Northern part of Cyprus. But this is only a part of the problem.
The EU is concerned Turkey has high population growth. This Moslem country can become one of the most powerful EU members. Turkey will not agree with submissive role in the EU. Yet European politicians do not have one opinion on Turkey joining the EU. There are pessimistic opinions, but on other hand many politicians believe Turkey will join the EU anyway. Chairman of the European Commission Romano Prodi said in a Libre Belgic interview in the beginning of February that the EU expansion will finish after accepting Turkey and the Balkan countries. However, Mr. Prodi remarked that to join the EU, Turkey must fit its “political criteria”.
Such authoritative states as Great Britain and Germany, expressed their support to Turkey’s joining the EU. According to German Interior Minister Otto Shili, Turkey “can become a bridge between the West and the Moslem world”.
Meanwhile, the CEOs of the biggest European companies share different opinion. According to the survey, conducted by United Parcel Service company, only 11 percent of businessman supported the idea of Turkey’s joining the EU. December 2004 will demonstrate if politicians take this opinion into account.