Just 17% Turks believe Ankara will join EU

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Photo – EUobserver.com

The number of Turks who believe the country will acquire European Union membership has dropped sharply in comparison to last year, a recent poll suggested.

According to a poll conducted by the German-Turkish Foundation for Education and Scientific Research (TAVAK), the percentage of people of who believe that Turkey can become an EU member witnessed a decline from 34.8 % to 17 % during the last 12 months, the Daily Zaman reported.

The poll was conducted among 1,110 persons between 20-30 June 20 in Istanbul, Ankara, Izmir, Antalya, Kayseri, Gaziantep, Artvin and Trabzon. Merely 17% of Turks said ‘Yes’ when asked whether Turkey would become an EU member or not while 78% gave a negative answer. Again, on being questioned whether Turkey might finally become a member after a decade’s time, 15% gave a nod while 76% were against it.

Analysts believe the crises in the 27-nation bloc, particularly the economic turmoil, were the factors responsible for the decline in public opinion. “Turkey’s growth numbers in recent years reduced the belief of the Turkish people in full membership,”  Faruk Sen, project advisor the head of TAVAK, said in an interview. He added that the trend is most unlikely to reverse mainly due to the opposition of France and Germany to Turkish membership.

Respondents claimed that France is the leading country which has placed obstacles in Turkey’s path to EU integration. Other countries expected to block Ankara’s path to EU are Germany, Greece and Greece-dominated Republic of Cyprus.

Sen suggested that Turkey should adopt a more aggressive policy to alter this trend for instance the government should explain more about the benefits of membership, like freedom of movement or the benefits stemming from having access to EU funds. Meantime, 28% felt that Turkey should cooperate with Brazil, Russia, India and China (BRIC) as any hope of full EU accession has weakened.

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