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Digital Subscriptions > Prospect Magazine > June 2016 > Should Turkey join the EU?

Should Turkey join the EU?

The Duel

© GERAINT LEWIS/REX/SHUTTERSTOCK, JLIMAGES / ALAMY STOCK PHOTO

YES There was a moment when it seemed possible, almost natural, that Turkey would join the European Union. In 2005 Turkish support for membership was around 80 per cent. Many felt already European in a land that began its westernisation in the 18th century. How ready we were to be accepted into Europe. We who had grown up reading Honoré de Balzac, Miguel de Cervantes, Johann von Goethe and Charles Dickens, and loved them all.

This golden moment did not last. The government of the Justice and Development Party (AKP) led by Recep Tayyip Erdoğgan was primarily responsible for failing to fulfil the accession criteria, which include achieving a proper democracy and the rule of law. Equally problematic were populist politicians in Europe who used Turkey as “the Other” for their electoral advantage. It worked. Membership talks stalled. This tragic break-up played into the hands of ultranationalists and Islamists. They said: “Europe doesn’t want us because we are Muslim. Who cares? We don’t want them either!”

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About Prospect Magazine

In Prospect’s June issue: Bronwen Maddox lays out the case for Britain to stay in Europe—the position taken by the magazine. Mikhail Gorbachev explains his hopes for Russia, suggesting that the claim democracy is bad for Russia is “balderdash.” Rachel Sylvester looks at the Conservative Party and explores what might happen to the Tories after the EU referendum. Also in this issue: Nicholas Shaxson and Alex Cobham unpick the world of hidden money and what Britain can do about tax havens. Neil Kinnock argues that Labour isn’t making progress under Jeremy Corbyn and Jason Burke examines Islamic State and the networks that underpin their attacks. Plus Stephen Bayley asks was BritArt any good?
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