Pondering the Prospects of the Negotiation Process Between the European Union and Turkey
Abstract: This paper is in some way a speculative work that ponders over the kind of problems, likely to be encountered during the negotiation process for Turkey’s entry into the European Union (EU), which may undermine the extensive public support, which the cause of Turkish membership of the EU enjoys in Turkey. Considering that incorporating Turkey has been the greatest challenge to the absorption capacity of the EU, the process of negotiation between Turkey and the EU is almost certain to last for well over ten years. This suggests that negotiations between the parties will be long, arduous and painful, with the accompanying risks of political wrangling. Seen through the eyes of Turkey, the usual course of negotiations may be upset on account of the following developments: Turkey may be given extremely limited financial support from agricultural, structural and other funds; the EU may exaggerate the grievances of non-Muslim minorities and other numerical minorities, while displaying scant interest in the freedom of religion and conscience of mainstream Muslims; Turkish workers may be denied the right of free movement in the EU member states for an indefinite period; negotiations for Turkish membership may drag on far too long to the extent of exhausting the Turkish people’s patience; the EU may fail to provide flexibility in some chapters such as environmental adjustment and agricultural restructuring which are likely to overburden the Turkish budget; European political circles and media may relentlessly make derogatory remarks about Turkey, portraying the country as ‘the poor man of Europe’ trying to ‘siphon off European funds’. This will be taken in Turkey as an insult to national pride. Such pitfalls and difficulties are likely to characterize the negotiation process between the EU and Turkey.
Keywords: Negotiation process, derogations, free movement of workers, agricultural funds, structural funds