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Should Turkey Join the EU?

German conservatives have turned to colleagues in France for help in blocking Turkey's bid to join the European Union. DW readers weighed in on whether Turkey should indeed become part of the bloc.

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The EU will in October conditionally start accession talks with Turkey


The following comments reflect a cross-section of the views of our readers. If you would like to have your say on this or another issue, please click on the feedback button below. Not all reader comments will be automatically published. DW-WORLD reserves the right to edit for length and appropriateness of content.

Turkey has legislated laws in view of full EU membership and these have been acknowledged on numerous occasions in the conclusions of European Council summits. The 1993 Copenhagen Criteria is being slowly but steadily met. The question lies on the grounds whether the EU can manage to include Turkey. If we take into consideration the present 2004, has the EU digested the new member states? Should it embark on another huge project of enlargement so fast? Are religion and Cyprus insurmountable issues? Should the EU step back? Accession of negotiations should initiate with mutual understanding that it is going to take a long time for the EU to be ready to absorb Turkey and for Turkey to implement the legislation which it changed over the years. The issue of recognition of Cyprus is to be dealt with right before the start of the talks in order to have it out of the way. On other issues, it should be treated as other candidates have been treated. Religion is not an issue if it is not mixed up with politics. France (for instance) desires a secular Europe and on similar ground, therefore, religion should be left to theologists not to politicians. -- Joe Borg Camilleri

I believe that conservatives' views are not in the interest of whole EU. They have backward views of Europe and will isolate Europe further in the world and diminish their role in Central Asia and the Middle East (energy and oil centers), especially (as the) current US and Israeli power in the region will grow if the EU doesn't produce new policies. The exclusion of Turkey will further divide the world map based on religion (and) create further instability for world peace. Turkish entry to EU will create a dynamic Europe economically as well as politically, and cultural exchanges will create new harmony between religions rather than further divide. -- Dr. Guven Uzun

I urge all Germans to recognize the long-term strategic importance to world peace that the entry of Turkey into the EU will bring. The EU talks the talk of tolerance -- it's time for actions to match words. Forcing Turkey to recognize Cyprus is ill-advised at best at this time. All people should work to make this union work, not create more obstacles. -- Blanton Ray

Tayyip Erdogan's comments reveal that Turkey has a long way to go before its political culture and institutions are changed to comply with EU norms. How can the EU admit a country whose laws permit the government to discriminate against and persecute ethnic and religious minorities such as the Kurds, Greek Orthodox, Roman Catholics and other Christians? If any other EU country where to have the same legal restrictions on non-Christian religious practices and property that Turkey currently has on its non-Muslim minorities, the world would be outraged. There is simply no evidence that Turkey's government is willing to allow its non-Muslim minorities, such as the Greek Orthodox, to have the same legal and property rights as Muslim citizens. -- Michael Pasquale Sasso

Turkey certainly belongs to Europe in a political, military and economical context. In terms of culture and faith, there is no doubt that Turkey is also deeply rooted in the East. Turkey already belongs to the COE, OSCE, OECD, NATO, EEA, EU Customs Union, Europol-partnership and many more. Istanbul will host the UEFA football Champions League Finals in 2005; Ankara is often the main venue for European security and police meetings etc. Most people who strongly oppose Turkey have basically never been to the country.
The Muslim-dominated identity of Turkey should not obstruct Ankara's EU membership process. Discrimination because "they are Muslims" is completely against the fundamental EU values and I hope the EU public will oppose ethno-fascist and racist forces. Turkey has proved in the last 50 years (that it) functions respectfully in leading European security and economic institutions. The time has come for Turkey to further harmonize its system with the EU. -- Atilla A. Iftikhar

One of the important goals of the European Union is to provide a peaceful, prosperous future free from the petty hatreds, divisions and wars that almost destroyed Europe in the not so distant past. The denials of some overt and covert European racists, notwithstanding, Turkey has been a European country for centuries. Historically, its Muslim population has been kinder to and more tolerant of other religions and peoples than the Christian Europeans have been to each other. It is only fitting that Turkey should be a member of the EU as it has embraced the ideals of democracy, peace and Western civilization. Furthermore, this question of Turkey's entry to the EU has already been answered in the affirmative many times by the EU itself. -- Robert Erel, USA

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