Only 38 percent of Turkish respondents in a recent survey by the German Marshall Fund said they feel EU membership for Turkey would be a good thing. That is down from 73 percent in 2004.
Marc Pierini, the Head of the EU delegation to Turkey said it is impossible to minimise the stakes today, for either side in the negotiations.
Pierini said: The mood is fairly negative. But we also see an extraordinary development in trade, investment and energy. Turkey has become the reserve for growth and competitivity for industry and services in Europe.
Turkish communities living in the EU today number more than four million people. Transformations of political views within the populations of all the countries involved, notably Turkey, have a strong influence over feelings about integration.
Cengiz Aktar, a professor at Bahcesehir University, said: “If Turkey had a clear outlook then it would play the game in a different way, since it would see itself as a future EU member. The year 2023 is very important, because it means something for the Turks. It’s the centenary of the Republic.”
But the Head of the EU delegation to Turkey said:
“We haven’t reached the stage yet where we can talk about a date [for Turkish entry into the EU]. That’s only done when we’re really in the home stretch.”
The Marshall Fund’s Transatlantic Trends survey says half of EU citizens think that Turkey is likely to join the EU, but only a quarter of Turks think so.