Turkey’s bid to become a part of the European Union is taking longer than expected, but it may be a ‘blessing in disguise’ for eurozone countries. The fiscal crisis seen in eurozone countries after the worldwide financial crisis stalled growth in the weaker EU nations and now it seems that the stronger economies of Germany and France are also feeling the negative effects.
The decline in economic growth that has been seen in these new countries is a cause of concern and the fact that they have to bear the burden of recovery means that the downturn is expected to continue sometime in the future as well. If Turkey is added, more shoulders would be able to bear the burden and it can be distributed in a more even manner over all the parties involved. The recession and debt crisis in countries like Greece and Italy have meant a sharp decline in its key industry like travel and hospitality.
Turkey can help in that case as Turkey’s booming travel industry can supplement the lost revenue and contribute towards the solution. In addition, Turkey was mostly insulated from the global financial crisis and it will take some time for the economic growth of the country to fall so it can provide a prolonged level of support. In addition to all this, the increased trade and economic cooperation with a new country will give some sort of stimulation to the economy that is needed on the whole.
The recent visit by Recep Tayyip Erdogan to Germany is a push to pass the bid for Turkey’s membership that has been dragging on. The German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, has shown positive signs to a new change; however, she has said that long rounds of talks are still ahead before any meaningful steps can be taken.
Germany has advocated a special relationship for Turkey but not a full EU membership as there is opposition to adding a Muslim nation into the fold and one that has had human rights violations in the past. Giving legitimacy to someone like that will be a mark on the whole of EU.
There have been treaties and agreements between Turkey and the EU making it as good as a member already and it is a mere formality to make it a member from here on in. Recent polls in Germany have shown that 30 percent of the people support the inclusion while 70 percent remain undecided. There has to be a perspective and a paradigm shift that has to take place in order to allow Turkey to become part of the EU as they have to leave the perception of its past behind and move to become the embodiment of what it has become. A secular vibrant society which has become a gateway between Europe and Asia. Even though its history has been plagued by dark periods, the country as a whole is moving out of these shadows and into a new era of social and economic transition.