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Turkey Can Improve Democratic Record for EU Bid

Turkey has shown progress since it officially applied to become a full member of the European Union in April 1987, but it's still lagging in many basic aspects of democracy, writes Tulin Daloglu.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Turkey's Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan (R) attend a joint news conference in Ankara February 25, 2013. REUTERS/Altan Burgucu  (TURKEY - Tags: POLITICS) - RTR3EA7R

ANKARA Turkey — Turkey’s effort to join the European Union is still far from being realized. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has justifiably expressed his frustration with this, which was set as a state policy since more than a half-century ago. As he is, however, openly lambasting the country’s past at any given opportunity, starting from the military coups to the generals' role in policy-making; from the alleged state restrictions that prevented pious Muslims like him from practicing Islam to the previous governments’ economic failures, the Europeans take even a more critical look at Turkey — coupled with all of the things that Erdogan has been critical about this country’s past as well as the size of its population, belonging to a different culture, tradition and religion.

Therefore, one should applaud German Chancellor Angela Merkel honestly saying at a joint news conference with Erdogan, while wrapping up her two-day visit to Turkey on Monday [Feb. 25], that she has “hesitations concerning Turkey’s full European Union membership.” She also stated: “We are conducting negotiations whose outcome is open-ended, that is to say the results are not known.”  

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