In line with the traditional Western orientation, relations with Europe have always been a central part of Turkish foreign policy. The country, which became a member of the Council of Europe in 1949, established a partnership relationship with the European Economic Community (which later turned into the European Union) in 1963. After many years of political negotiations, Turkey applied for full membership to the EEC in 1987, became a joint member of the Western European Union in 1992, joined the EU Customs Union in 1995, and started full membership negotiations with the European Union in 2005. Today, membership of Turkey in the European Union is regarded as a strategic goal and state policy.
The European Union is currently Turkey’s largest trading partner. In 2018, for example, about 50 percent of Turkey’s exports were to the European Union, as well as 36 percent of its imports from the European Union. About 70 percent of foreign direct investment comes from EU member states. Following the accession process, some common developments have taken place in EU member states. First of all, as expected, exports to the European Union are on the rise, with the average purchasing power of citizens growing by an average of 20 percent in the medium term and the budget deficit being kept below 3 percent by the Union due to close oversight. In addition, there have been positive developments in issues such as human rights, judicial independence, and the rule of law. As negotiations between the European Union and Turkey continue, with the criteria set out in the agreement reached in 2016, if refugees are organized by Turkey, the European Union is expected to provide visa liberalization for 66 countries for Turkey.
Advantages of Turkey’s Membership in the EU
Citizenship: Citizens of Turkey will be citizens of the European Union and, as citizens of the European Union, will enjoy all legal rights. Given that foreigners can also become citizens of Turkey by buying real estate for $ 250,000, those who become citizens of Turkey under this law will also become citizens of the European Union. In other words, Turkey becomes an intermediary through which one can become a citizen of the European Union by investing $ 250,000 in the country’s real estate sector.
Right to Vote: Turkish citizens in EU countries will have the right to vote on equal terms with the citizens of that country.
Visa-Free Travel: If Turkey is a member of the European Union, Turkish citizens can travel freely to all authorized countries without a visa, just like EU citizens.
Work Permission in the EU: By joining the European Union, Turkish citizens are considered citizens of the European Union and will, therefore, be allowed to work in EU member states.
Study in the EU: After Turkey’s membership in the European Union, Turkish citizens have the right to study freely and without restrictions in EU member states. For example, a Turkish citizen who wants to study in Germany can use a scholarship for German citizens. In the case of non-free education, Turkish citizens pay exactly the same amount as a German student.
Market Expansion: EU membership provides an opportunity for Turkish citizens to offer their goods and services in the EU’s large market. Therefore, Turkish citizens can expand their labor market to the European Union in addition to obtaining a work permit in EU countries.
Multiple Choices in Purchasing: After Turkey’s accession to the European Union, all companies located in European countries, as well as countries wishing to cooperate with the European Union, will come to Turkey more and more, and this will lead to an increase in product diversity. Every citizen can choose their own product according to their taste.
Increasing Job Opportunities: If Turkey joins the European Union, Turkey will be considered a European country and more investment will be made. Therefore, new job opportunities are created in the country.
Supporting Youth: EU institutions want to strengthen solidarity and tolerance among young people, ensure the active participation of young people in society, develop their entrepreneurial spirit and help them gain knowledge, skills, and competence. If Turkey joins the European Union, EU member states will take steps to achieve these goals for Turkish citizens.
Increasing Insurance Selection Options: Insurance companies located in the European Union can freely offer their services in other EU member states, and consumers can also benefit from insurance services in each of the EU member states. Therefore, a license issued by a Turkish insurance company is valid in all EU member states. After Turkey’s membership in the European Union, insurance companies in Turkey will be able to provide insurance services freely in the huge EU market. Similarly, Turkish citizens will be able to choose insurance from other EU countries.
Increase European Brands: After Turkey’s membership in the European Union, all European companies can operate freely in Turkey as they do in their home country. Therefore, European brands will be seen more and more in Turkey.
Changing the World’s Attitude: If Turkey joins the European Union, Turkey will be officially recognized as a European country, and this will change the attitude of the whole world towards Turkey.
Rural and Agricultural Development: If Turkey becomes a member of the European Union, it can take advantage of the financial opportunities provided to farmers by the European Union, leading to rural development and agricultural production. The European Union also sets standards for the environment, including animals, plants, land management, etc., which increases the country’s standards.
Expanding Relations and Exchanges: Following Turkey’s accession to the European Union, countries seeking to engage with the EU are expanding their ties with Turkey as a member of the EU.
Increasing Life Quality: If Turkey joins the European Union, it will be more and more obliged to comply with the standards of European countries in the field of urban planning, law, health, etc., which will lead to an increase in the quality of life in Turkey.