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Turkey Renews Bid to Join European Union Amidst Controversy
Erdogan's Surprising Link between NATO and EU Membership
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has renewed Turkey's bid to become a member of the European Union, but political experts remain skeptical of his intentions. Erdogan made the surprising move of linking Sweden's bid to join NATO with Turkey's accession to the EU, despite the fact that these are two separate processes for two different institutions. While some view this as a strategic move by Erdogan to gain leverage, others see it as a desperate attempt for financial support.
The Challenging Relationship between Turkey and the EU
Turkey's relationship with the EU has been fraught with challenges over the years. Ankara first applied to join the EU in 1987, but talks froze in 2018 due to political reforms that were seen as moving Turkey further away from the bloc. One of the policy changes that angered the EU was a 2017 referendum that granted Erdogan more executive powers. Despite these obstacles, Erdogan is determined to pursue EU membership.
Erdogan's Motivation for Renewing the Bid
According to an EU official, Erdogan's decision to bring up the issue of EU membership again is driven by the need for financial support. The EU agreed to disburse 6 billion euros in 2016 to help Turkey deal with an influx of refugees, and the country still holds significant negotiating power due to the presence of approximately 4 million refugees within its borders. However, it is not just about money for Erdogan; he also seeks a more special relationship with the EU, including high-profile visits from European leaders.
The EU's Structured Process and Erdogan's Potential Alternatives
The European Commission has stated that the process of joining the EU requires candidate countries to follow a structured set of steps. However, some experts, such as Özgür Ünlühisarcıklı, believe that Erdogan may not actually want full membership. Instead, he may be more interested in customs union modernization and visa liberalization, which would bring economic benefits to Turkey without introducing unwanted measures. Nevertheless, issues such as historic disputes with Greece and Cyprus and concerns over Erdogan's ties to the Kremlin make it difficult for the EU to grant significant benefits to Turkey.
Hot Take: Potential Impact on a New Business
The renewal of Turkey's bid to join the European Union amidst controversy has the potential to impact new businesses in several ways. Here's a "hot take" on how this topic could affect aspiring entrepreneurs and start-ups:
1. Trade Opportunities: If Turkey were to successfully join the EU, it would open up significant trade opportunities for businesses. Membership would provide access to the EU's single market, consisting of more than 450 million consumers. This could create a larger customer base for new businesses looking to expand their reach and increase profitability.
2. Economic Stability: EU membership would require Turkey to align its economic policies and standards with those of the EU. This could lead to greater economic stability, attracting foreign investment and providing a favorable environment for new business ventures. The implementation of EU regulations and standards may also enhance the quality and consistency of products and services offered by these businesses.
3. Funding and Support: Turkey's renewed bid for EU membership implies a desire for financial support from the EU. If successful, this could mean access to EU funding programs and grants specifically designed to support new businesses and stimulate economic growth. Such financial assistance could provide a significant boost to start-ups and entrepreneurs seeking capital for their ventures.
4. Increased Competition: On the flip side, EU membership could also result in increased competition for new businesses. Access to the EU's single market means facing competition from well-established European companies. New businesses would need to strategize and differentiate themselves to thrive in a more competitive landscape.
5. Uncertainty and Challenges: The controversial nature of Turkey's bid and the strained relationship between Turkey and the EU introduce uncertainty. Delays, negotiations, and potential roadblocks could create challenges for new businesses hoping to benefit from EU membership. It is important for entrepreneurs to carefully assess the risks and uncertainties associated with this process before basing their business plans solely on the potential advantages of EU membership.
In summary, while Turkey's bid to join the EU presents exciting opportunities for new businesses, it also comes with potential challenges and uncertainties. Entrepreneurs should closely monitor the progress of Turkey's accession process and adapt their strategies accordingly to leverage the potential benefits while navigating the complexities that lie ahead.
Article First Published at: https://www.cnbc.com/2023/07/11/erdogans-push-for-turkeys-eu-membership-is-being-met-with-skepticism.html