This paper attempts to enclose the ongoing debate about accession of Turkey to the European Union (EU) and political ramifications that it will entail. Another important task that the author undertakes is to evaluate whether integration might facilitate global economic and political welfare.
A growing body of evidence suggests that accession of Turkey to the EU will be mutually beneficial. It would make military, political, and economic sense if Turkey joined the organization. It so felt out historically that Turkey is located at the crossroads of two continents – Europe and Asia. This unique geopolitical situation makes Turkey a springboard for the EU establishing closer ties with the Middle East and Central Asian countries, while Turkey gains broader access to European markets. Participation of Turkey in the EU will definitely minimize the likelihood of confrontation between two powers. The unfathomable bounty lying under Turkey’s vast terrain can significantly boost the economy of the EU. On the other hand, uncertainties ensuing from the brand-new level of bilateral cooperation will loom large in the settlement of the ongoing conflict between the Republic of Cyprus and Turkey. The Cyprus dispute is still smoldering from the Turkey’s invasion in 1974. Once Turkey enters the EU, the subsequent uncertainties will be hard to iron out.
By and large, if Turkey joins the EU, it might become the union’s new economic turbo-charger. Simultaneously, the country will be able to pursue its own economic, political, and agricultural interests in Europe. The downside is that accession of Turkey to the EU can possibly reignite conflict with Greece and Cyprus. History and reality tugs Turkey in different directions.
The Greek-Turkish relations have been always characterized by the rotation of protracted confrontations and ephemeral reconciliation since Greece gained independence from the Ottoman Empire in 1821. However, the countries clashed directly for the first time only during the Greco-Turkish War of 1897 to determine the status of Crete. This 30-day-long conflict resulted in the ignominious defeat of Greece. 20 years later, Britain and France heartened Greece to enter the First World War, which was the second time that belligerents clashed on the battlefield. In the aftermath of the war, “a large number of Greeks were expelled from the Asia Minor” (Smith 27). Greece accuses Turkey of the premeditated extirpation of its nationals during 1914-1923, the period known as the Pontic Genocide. The Treaty of Lausanne signed in 1923 stipulated coercive population exchange between Greece and Turkey.
The Cold War’s incipience brought about rapprochement between the countries, as they signed the Balkan Pact of 1953, which was supposed to protect them from the USSR. However, the détente did not last long, for Turkish authorities continued to harass ethnic Greeks throughout the country. The Istanbul riots of 1955 leveled against the Greek minority dashed the remnants of hope for peaceful coexistence. The countries did not know how to proceed further and how to obviate these impediments and stumbling blocks while another problem came like a thunderbolt. Cyprus has been the main irritant of the relations between Greece and Turkey since the early 1950s. The Cyprus dispute has inflicted an irreparable damage on the Greek-Turkish relations. The Turkish Republic of the Northern Cyprus remains recognized only by Turkey, while the international community deems it to be illegally occupied territory.
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