Why Turkey needs referendum on EU accession with predetermined outcome?

By Rufiz Hafizoglu

One of the most discussed issues in Turkey is Ankara's full membership in the EU. Some Turkish experts believe that Turkey's EU membership is not in the interests of Ankara.

 

For example, Naciye Selin Senocak, chair member at UNESCO Cultural Diplomacy Governance and Education, Center for Diplomatic and Strategic Studies (CEDS) believes that Ankara's EU membership is of no benefits for Turkey, as any economic problems in the EU can damage the country's economy.

 

The longer the situation lasts with Ankara's EU accession and non-abolition of the visa regime between the sides, the more Turkey believes that the main cause of obstacles in this issue is a religious factor. That is, Turkey will never be able to become a full member of the EU as it is a Muslim country.

 

Turkish authorities have repeatedly hinted at this aspect. For example, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has repeatedly stated that the delay in the process in connection with Turkey’s EU full membership proves once again that the EU is a "Christian club".

 

Earlier, the Turkish Ministry for EU Affairs told Trend that Turkey has fulfilled 67 out of 72 commitments to the EU to introduce the visa-free regime. And, as it is known, Turkey will not fulfill the remaining five commitments as they have to do with country’s security.

 

The issue is that the EU urges Turkey to soften its fight against terrorism, namely, against the PKK, by accusing the country of violating the rights of its citizens.

 

While commenting on this issue, Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said that Turkey will not change its interests for the sake of the EU and will not soften the fight against terrorism in the country, even if the EU does not cancel the visa regime with Ankara.

 

All this suggests that the remarks made by Erdogan June 22 that Turkey can hold a referendum on continuing the talks on accession to the EU was quite expectable.

 

Erdogan further said Europe doesn’t want Turkey’s accession, as it is a Muslim-majority country and noted that this is a discrimination.

 

However, in reality, Turkey doesn’t need to hold a referendum on continuing the talks on accession to the EU, since the country’s government can on its own make a decision on refusing to negotiate. Then, how does one take Erdogan's words?

 

The issue is that if Turkey’s government refuses from negotiating with the EU, the organization will take the advantage of this to put political pressure on Turkey.

 

There is no doubt that if Turkey holds a referendum on his issue, the country’s people will vote for suspending the talks. Turkish authorities understand that this is the only way to avoid political pressure from the EU which has made the country to wait for years.

 

 

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27.06.2016

 

 

 
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