The warning from Brussels over Turkey’s EU membership comes amid rising Euroscepticism in the country.
With one in four Turks now opposed to EU membership according to a recent opinion poll, a group of fishermen interviewed in Istanbul spoke out for many of their compatriots.
“If Turkey enters the EU, it is screwed,” said one of the men.
“The European Union is a Christian community, so it is going to be hard for them to accept us,” added another.
The prospect of joining the Euro club appears less and less attractive to younger Turks, who are not shy about expressing their disappointment at the way things have turned out.
“When the negotiations opened last year, I was all for it,” said one young women.
“But now, considering the way Europeans treat us, it scares me.”
“We are not the kind of people to beg: please accept us,’ “ added a young man.
Turkish analyst Cengiz Aktar, of the European Research Centre, is also unhappy at the European Union’s handling of Turkey’s membership bid. For him, it is simply getting a raw deal compared to other nations who have joined.
“Turkey is like the unloved child of the enlargement process,” he said.
“It receives a sixth of what the others received in accession aid. The Commission is almost invisible in Turkey. It tries to cover a large country like Turkey from a single office in Ankara.”
Increasing Euroscepticism in Turkey as well as next year’s elections narrow the government’s room for manoeuvre as far as reforms are concern. And, with those reforms demanded by Brussels as a pre-condition for entry, rough seas could lie ahead as the EU’s talks with Turkey continue.