This week The Network talks to three newsmakers to explore the issue of Turkey’s accession to the EU.
The contrast between the two sides is striking. Turkey is confident with major economic growth, and a president leading a strong majority government.
Meanwhile, Europe is deeply divided and its leaders weakened over how to recover from the financial crisis.
Some of those European leaders oppose Turkish EU membership. Accession talks have been slow with some chapters frozen, in part because of the eternal stand-off over divided Cyprus.
But there is also Europe’s insistence that Turkey do more to improve its human rights record, among other reforms. Is the Turkish EU bid a hopeless case? What are the advantages of Turkish EU membership for Europe? And the advantages for Turkey?
Could regional influence make Turkey a key strategic EU member 10 years from now? Could Turkey be a bridge between East and West? Or would having a predominantly Muslim country as one of the EU’s biggest member states be just too much for some Europeans to accept?
This week’s guests on The Network are:
- MEP Heidi Hautala of Finland, a member of the Greens party and head of the sub-committee on human rights.
- German MEP Renate Sommer, who is on the parliamentary delegation on EU Turkey. She is a member of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats, who prefer a privileged partnership with Turkey.
- Nursuna Memecan, a Turkish MP and member of the AK party of Turkish president Gul and prime minister Erdogan who both insist on full EU membership or nothing at all.