Turkey's Accession to the EU: Implications for the European Integration Process
The relations between Turkey and the EU entered a new phrase on October 3, 2005 when the EU opened accession negotiations with Turkey. Turkey’s accession will be dramatically different than the previous waves of enlargement due to Turkey’s size, perceived cultural differences and the European public’s resistance to Turkey’s accession. How the European public perceives Turkey’s membership and its impact on Europe will determine whether Turkey will accede to the EU. This paper proposes that the legitimacy crisis that the EU and European governments currently face will deepen over the issue of Turkey’s membership, and that the European public’s resistance to Turkey and the EU’s legitimacy crisis will carry a greater weight in determining Turkey’s accession than Turkey’s ability in meeting the EU’s acquis. In this manner, Turkey’s membership does not only deserve scholarly attention for its value in terms of enlarging the EU, but also in terms of developing a new approach to policy making in the EU. This is theoretically significant in explaining European integration.