Domestic support for Turkey’sEuropean Union membership is losing its momentum, as two thirds of Turks say they’ve lost their appetite for the EU bid and believeAnkara should abandon its pursuit of full membership, a recent study has shown.
The survey demonstrated that while one third of those surveyed agreed Turkey should persevere with the goal of becoming an EU member, two-thirds of the public lean closer to the view that Turkey should not become a full member. TNS-Turkey undertook the survey on behalf of the Center for Economy and Foreign Policy Research (EDAM) with the participation of 1,509 people aged 18 and above whom represented a cross-section of the country’s urban and rural populations.
Participants were asked, “On the 50th anniversary of EU-Turkey relations and the eighth year of accession negotiations, which of the following policies do you think Turkey should follow in the next five years?”
There are also differences of opinion among eurosceptics. Twenty percent of respondents support the idea that Turkey should abandon its work toward a full membership and formulate a new relationship with the EU based on common interests.
Despite these numbers, over 50 percent of the public still view a partnership with the EU in a positive. One quarter of the public believes that full membership should be abandoned and that a new relationship with the EU is not needed, while another 15 percent responded that after full membership is abandoned, a rival regional organization should be established.
There are also significant differences of opinion regarding the future of Turkey’s relations with the EU among the constituents of different parties. While 34 percent of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) voters believe that the country should “persist with her aim of full membership,” this ratio falls to 30 percent among the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) voters and to 15 percent among the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) voters. Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) voters are apparently avid defenders of the EU goal, with a support level of 88 percent.
The survey also discovered differences of opinion on what to do once the membership path is abandoned. While 27 percent of the CHP voters agree that “relations based on common interests should be established,” this ratio is 21 percent among MHP voters. While 40 percent of MHP voters think that Turkey should act on its own after the full membership goal has been abandoned, this ratio is 27 percent among CHP voters.