Citizens Support Turkey’s Accession to EU, But Don’t Believe It will Come True

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  • December 30, 2019
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While 60 percent of citizens support Turkey's accession to the European Union (EU), only 23 percent believe that the country will ultimately become a member of the union, says a survey participated by 4,506 people from 35 cities.

The Economic Development Foundation (IKV) has released its "Turkish Public Opinion Survey on Support for European Union (EU) Membership and Perception on Europe 2019".

Jointly commissioned with the Economic Policy Research Foundation of Turkey (TEPAV) and supported by the Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey (TOBB), the report is based on a study conducted by the research company MetroPOLL.

While the survey was conducted with the participation of 4,506 people from 35 provinces, its results have published only in Turkish so far.

Click here to read the full report in Turkish

Some highlights from the report are as follows:

* 60 percent of the participants support Turkey's accession to the European Union (EU); however, only 23 percent of the society believe that the country will ultimately become a EU member.

* The highest support for Turkey's EU accession comes from southeast with 66 percent and the lowest one comes from the northeast with 59 percent.

Women support EU membership

* While 64 percent of women support Turkey's EU membership, this rate is 57 percent among the male participants of the survey.

* According to age groups, the highest rate of support for the country's EU accession is among the 18-24 age group with 66 percent. When considered in terms of educational level, graduates of high school and university support EU membership the most, with 67 and 66 percent respectively.

* 23 percent of the participants believe that Turkey will become a member of the EU. While this rate was 30 percent in 2015, it was 36 percent in 2016 and 31 percent in 2017. The participants from southeast Turkey see Turkey's accession to EU the most likely with 34 percent. This belief is at its lowest level in western provinces with 19 percent.

Expectations

* Of the ones expressing support for EU membership, 75 percent say that they support it for welfare and economic development, 57 percent for democracy and improvement in human rights, 45 percent for opportunities of mobility, residence and education in Europe.

* Of the ones not supporting EU membership, 59 percent say that it will harm identity and culture, 24 percent say the EU does not have a future and 20 percent believe that it will undermine foreign affairs.

* While expectations for economy and freedoms come to the fore as reasons for supporting the EU accession, a possible harm on identity and culture seems to be the main reason for rejecting Turkey's accession to the union.

* While the EU means welfare and economic development for 37 percent of the participants, it means democracy and freedom for 21 percent, deterioration and collapse for 12 percent and free movement and elimination of borders for 12 percent of the participants.

* Of the ones supporting Turkey's accession to EU, 49 percent define the union as welfare and economic development and only 2 percent see it as deterioration and collapse. Of the ones not expressing support for the accession, 31 percent define it as deterioration and collapse and only 16 percent see it as welfare and economic development.

* Social polarization and different conceptions of the world have been cited as the main reasons for this drastic difference between the opinions of the ones who support Turkey's accession to the EU and the ones who do not.

'Prejudices are an obstacle'

* 78 percent of the participants think that the major obstacle in the way of Turkey's EU accession is the prejudice caused by cultural and religious differences. While 29 percent refer to the level of economic development as the major obstacle, 28 percent say that problems and human rights prevent the country from becoming a member of the EU. The society in general seems to think that there is a prejudiced attitude towards Turkey.

* When asked about the primary item on the agenda of Turkey-EU relations, 38 percent refer to the "refugee crisis", 27 percent refer to accession negotiations, 17 percent to visa liberalization and 13 percent to the Customs Union between Turkey and the EU. 64 percent are of the opinion that both Turkey and the EU will benefit from the modernization of customs union.

* 60 percent of the participants think that Turkey has the necessary administrative and institutional capacity for EU accession. 57 percent are of the opinion that Turkey has fulfilled the obligations for EU membership.

'Speed up the reforms'

As reported by the state-run Anadolu Agency (AA), IKV Chair Ayhan Zeytinoglu has commented on the findings in following words:

"The EU has to reciprocate this awareness of Turkish people and to take steps to enliven the accession process of Turkey. We expect the new cabinet of the European Commission, the new chair of Council of Europe and other officials to take initiative about this issue.

"We also call on our government to speed up EU reforms again and to keep taking steps for judicial strategy and visa liberalization."

Source: English Bianet