Turkey and the European Union



More than 40 years ago Turkey started its cooperation with the EEC. In October 2005 the country began official talks on becoming a full member. However, in contrast to other countries that have joined the EU over the past years, Turkish membership brings along many problems.

Inside the EU many arguments can be heard against a full Turkish membership:

  • Turkey belongs to Asia not to Europe.
  • Thousands of Turkish immigrants will spread to Europe.
  • Turkey is too big and will have too much power in the EU.
  • Turkey is too poor and will cost the EU too much.


Others say that Turkey will bring good sides to the union

  • The country will help bring together the western Christian and the Muslim world.
  • Turkey may help to make the Middle East more stable and peaceful.
  • Turkey is a member of NATO. It could give Europe more military power.
  • Europe’s population is getting older an older. Young Turkish workers may help Europe’s economy.
  • The EU can do business with a large market of over 70 million people.



One of the problems that is blocking Turkey’s membership is Cyprus. The southern part of the divided island is a member of the EU and has a Greek population. The northern part is under Turkish influence.

The EU says that Turkey must recognise Cyprus as an independent country. It also must open up its harbours and airports to Cyprus.

The Kurds are another problem that Turkey has. They make up about 20% of the country’s population, but they don’t have their own country and the Turkish government is oppressing them.

The EU has said that Turkey will not become a member unless it improves human rights.

In the end, it could take 10 to 15 years for Turkey to become a full member of the EU , but there are many who want Turkey to stay out of the European club.



The European Union- Table of Contents



The European Union- Exercises


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Related Topics


  • argument = a situation in which two parties or people do not share the same opinion
  • block = to stop something from happening
  • cooperation = to work together
  • divide = to separate into two or more parts
  • economy = the buying and selling of products in a country
  • government = group of people who govern or rule a country
  • harbour = place where ships go to load and unload goods
  • however = but
  • human rights = the main rights that all people in the world should have
  • immigrant = a person who moves to another country to live and work there
  • improve = to make better
  • in contrast = on the other side
  • independent = free , not controlled by another country
  • influence = power, control
  • make up = form, are
  • membership = being a member of a club or community
  • NATO = North Atlantic Treaty Organisation = military organisation that was founded after the end of the Second World War. Members are many countries of Europe as well as the United States and Canada
  • official = real, formal
  • oppress = to treat someone badly or unfairly
  • recognise = to officially accept a country
  • spread = to move from one place to another
  • stable = calm, quiet