POSITIVE AND NEGATIVE IMPACTS OF TURKEY'S EU ACCESSION
European Union proves to be a success story. On the continent, where the most blood on the globe had previously been spilled, it has brought peace and stability. To its citizens, it has provided quality of life and ensured progress. But now, after two decades of its existence, the Union is beginning to lose its momentum. Serious disagreements are starting to arise among the Member States concerning its future; its population is ageing; the global economic crisis has led the European Community to the point where decisions must be taken whether to continue the expansion and where its borders should lie.
At the same time, Turkey has awakened at the EU’s geographical outskirts. During the last decade, this country has experienced an economic boom and has made its way from what used to be called "the Bosporus patient" to a most influential entity in the Middle and Far East area. By its global economic importance, Pacek and Thorniley (2004, p. 157-158) rank it fifth, just behind Brazil, Russia, India and China (the BRICs); following the International Monetary Fund Report, Turkey is quoted as the "economic centre of South-east Europe, Middle East and Eurasia, whose gross domestic product has increased by a total of 242% during the last decade (Foreign Economic Relations Board, 2011, P.3)."
Due to the changed power balance, it seems that the EU now needs Turkey more than vice versa. But in fact, there is a mutual interest for cooperation. With the 1964 Ankara Agreement, Turkey established closer links with Europe more than fifty years ago and is the country with the longest accession process in the history of EU. Its desire to accede has been the major driver for political and economic changes, leading Turkey to the formalisation of relations with the EU in 2004; in spite of these efforts of higher or lesser success, Turkey has so far not become a full EU member. There are multiple reasons for this: as a...