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Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu urged France to more actively support Turkey’s application to join the European Union (EU). Turkey’s EU membership talks are currently stalled in the nation’s long quest to become a member of the world’s largest trade bloc. Mr. Davutoglu called on French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner to help accelerate the membership talks. France is opposed to Turkey’s membership, and Mr. Kouchner responded by telling Turkey that the “ball is in your court” to rescue its troubled bid to join the EU. Mr. Kouchner’s comments made it clear that Turkey faces resistance to progressing the membership talks, and that the burden will be on Turkey to meet the required conditions of all the member countries. However, Mr. Kouchner did promise to support Turkey in opening three areas of membership negotiations. Turkey recently has been increasingly vocal in calling for the EU to revive the membership talks.

QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION:

  1. One of the debates within the European Union is if the trade bloc should seek to “go broader” by bringing in as many countries as possible to promote the benefits of free trade or if it should “go deeper” by limiting new entrants, which would allow the current members to address more substantive policy issues. Turkey, Macedonia, Croatia, and Iceland have all applied to join the EU. Analyze the tradeoffs with expanding EU membership beyond the current 27 members.
  2. Discuss the benefits that would realized by allowing Turkey to become a member of the EU.
  3. Three factors that influence the success of a regional trade agreement are level of economic similarity, geographic proximity and cultural similarity among the member countries. Using these three criteria, evaluate the extent to which Turkey would meet these criteria as an appropriate candidate for the EU. What are the areas of concern with Turkey’s membership application to the EU?
  4. In order for a country to become a member the EU, its membership must be approved by every member country of the EU and by the citizens of the candidate country. Discuss the barriers Turkey will face in achieving those approvals.
  5. What are the potential negative implications if Turkey continues to be snubbed by the EU?

SOURCE: Champion, M. (2010, October 13). Turkey seeks EU bid support. Wall Street Journal, p. A13. (Retrievable online at http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703440004575547751406126316.html)

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