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The Membership of Turkey in European Union

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The European Union is a powerful economic and political bloc worldwide, with member states so different and diverse in many aspects but yet common in being Christian. Turkey stands Muslim with a huge geographical and historical significance. Its membership to the European Union has been perceived differently. Several oppose Turkey's membership on cultural-religious grounds and accept only its economic inclusion. Few think that Turkey is an asset to EU as Turkey is an alive mixture remnant of several great historical events that shaped the history and the mainstream of the whole humanity.

To see it through another angle, the current and acute one, Turkey's vast size and growing population, its uneven wealth distribution and its cultural and religious heritage constitute the central arguments shaping this debate. More essentially the complexity surrounding the Turkish issue revolves around the question of spatial, strategic, and conceptual limits of Europe. However, I would like to concentrate on the positive aspects and opportunities of this "potential" enlargement of the EU. Turkey's membership will undeniably help strengthen the EU's role as a global actor. It will encourage the EU to be one of the major players in the global scene. Turkey can help enhance stability and promote welfare in the Balkans, the Caucasus, Central Asia more easily, and contributes to enforce the relation between Europe and Asia and hence helps extend modern values in neighbouring regions. Turkey acceptance in EU will certainly be perceived as symbol of harmonious co-existence of cultures and enriching the spiritual fabric of the European Union. If the EU refuses Turkey's involvement based on religious reasons, it will give a pretext to the fundamentalist organizations to claim that the EU excludes non-Christians and that the world is divided on the basis of the religious fault lines. It will confirm the Clash of the Civilizations. Let's remember that Turkey is also a secular and democratic country that stands alone in the Islamic world.

In the economic sector, Turkey is equally an asset given its geographical location and its young population. Located at the crossroad linking Asia to Europe, Turkey serves as a gate to the warm seas for the Black Sea basin countries and it is as well situated on the natural route between Europe and countries rich in oil and natural gas such as Iraq, Iran, Caspian Sea and Central Asia. In the other hand, Statistics have shown that because of the aging population, there will be an increasing need for young manpower in the EU countries during the next decades.

Indeed, Turkey's population is much younger as compared to the EU average. Half of Turkey's population is under the age of 24. The age group between 0 and 15 years old in 2005 constitute 18 % of the entire population in most of the EU. The same age group constitute 30



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