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To be in the EU or not – does Turkey belong?

January 28, 2010

According to Germany’s Welt am Sonntag newspaper, Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos said in an interview that “Turkey is a part of the European family of peoples. It is better to have Turkey inside the EU than to leave it standing outside.” Spain holds the EU presidency until the end of June and hopes to open accession talks with Ankara in four new policy areas.

Inclusion of Turkey could assist in more peaceful relations with regional neighbors, such as Iran, but many EU member states and citizens alike struggle with the fact that Turkey is a dominantly Muslim country. A recent poll which questioned people in Britain, France, Germany, Poland and Spain about the prospect of Turkey’s EU membership was split right down the middle: 47% of people said they were in favour of Turkey joining the Union, 47% opposed it, and 6% had no opinion. One of the biggest sticking points is religion – 39% of those surveyed said Turkey was “a Muslim country … not compatible with the common Christian roots” of Europe.

Will Turkey ever fit into the EU’s vision for itself?

For more information on Turkey’s membership bid, see the following articles:,

One Comment leave one →
  1. January 28, 2010 1:15 pm

    The geographer in me wonders if this survey were expanded to each EU country, what kind of spatial trends would there be? It would be interesting to examine if there is north-south or east west divide 0r if there is a difference between the opinions of people in older and newer EU states. Are people in countries that have recently been admitted into the EU more likely to be sympathetic to Turkey’s desires for membership? Are people who are further away from Turkey more open to their admission (Would Spaniards be as open to Moroccan membership?)? Or is strength of economy a factor? Perhaps something totally unexpected. Hopefully this study will broaden a bit more because it could reveal some surprises. Thanks for the post, Kallan!

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