Poll: German opposition to Turkey’s EU membership rises

A growing majority of Germans are opposed to Turkey entering the European Union, according to a poll published days after Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan made a controversial speech to Turks in Cologne.

The survey by Forsa for Stern magazine found 69 percent of Germans oppose Turkey joining the EU, up from 52 percent who   were against it in a 2005 survey. The number in favour of Turkey joining the EU fell to 26 percent from 43 percent in 2005, according to the poll released on Tuesday.

Many EU governments support Turkey’s ambitions to join, arguing that Europe should capitalise on Ankara’s influence in the Middle East. However, German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s ruling conservative party has long been opposed.

Germany has always had doubts about allowing a largely Muslim country of 76 million people into the European club, fearing that cultural differences and its size will make it too difficult to integrate.

Ankara began negotiations to join the EU in 2005, 18 years after applying. But a series of political obstacles, notably over the divided island of Cyprus, and resistance to Turkish membership in Germany and France, have slowed progress.

On Saturday, Erdogan told a cheering arena of 16,000 diaspora supporters in Germany to integrate but not assimilate in a defiant hour-long speech. Some 45,000 protesters marched against the Turkish premier’s appearance.

Erdogan has often addressed mass audiences of expatriate Turks when visiting Germany in rousing patriotic affairs with thousands waving the Turkish flag.

Some 3 million people of Turkish origin live in Germany and 1.4 million Turkish citizens can vote, a number equivalent to the electorate of Turkey’s fifth-largest city Adana.

Erdogan’s handling of protests against his government in the past year and his two-week closure of social networking site Twitter and block on video-sharing platform YouTube this year drew criticism at home and abroad, including from the German government.

Turkey has said it remains determined to continue on the path towards EU accession but government officials from Erdogan on down have voiced frustration at what they see as unnecessary bureaucratic and political obstacles.

Reklamlar

About yavuzbaydar

Yavuz Baydar has been an award-winning Turkish journalist, whose professional activity spans nearly four decades. In December 2013, Baydar co-founded the independent media platform, P24, Punto24, to monitor the media sector of Turkey, as well as organizing surveys, and training workshops. Baydar wrote opinion columns, in Turkish, liberal daily Ozgur Dusunce and news site Haberdar, and in English, daily Today's Zaman, on domestic and foreign policy issues related to Turkey, and media matters, until all had to cease publications due to growing political oppression. Currently, he writes regular chronicles for Die Süddeutsche Zeitung, and opinion columns for the Arab Weekly, as well as analysis for Index on Censorship. Baydar blogs with the Huffington Post, sharing his his analysis and views on Turkish politics, the Middle East, Balkans, Europe, U.S-Turkish relations, human rights, free speech, press freedom, history, etc. His opinion articles appeared at the New York Times, the Guardian, El Pais, Svenska Dagbladet, and Al Jazeera English online. Turkey’s first news ombudsman, beginning at Milliyet daily in 1999, Baydar worked in the same role as reader representative until 2014. His work included reader complaints with content, and commentary on media ethics. Working in a tough professional climate had its costs: he was twice forced to leave his job, after his self-critical columns on journalistic flaws and fabricated news stories. Baydar worked as producer and news presenter in Swedish Radio &TV Corp. (SR) Stockholm, Sweden between 1979-1991; as correspondent for Scandinavia and Baltics for Turkish daily Cumhuriyet between 1980-1992, and the BBC World Service, in early 1990's. Returning to Turkey in 1994, he worked as reporter and ediytor for various outlets in print, as well as hosting debate porogrammes in public and private TV channels. Baydar studied informatics, cybernetics and, later, had his journalism ediucatiob in the University of Stockholm. Baydar served as president of the U.S. based International Organizaton of News Ombudsmen (ONO) in 2003. He was a Knight-Wallace Fellow at University of Michigan in 2004. Baydar was given the Special Award of the European Press Prize (EPP), for 'excellence in journalism', along with the Guardian and Der Spiegel in 2014. He won the Umbria Journalism Award in March 2014 and Caravella/Mare Nostrum Prize in 2015; both in Italy. Baydar completed an extensive research on self-censorship, corruption in media, and growing threats over journalism in Turkey as a Shorenstein Fellow at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard.
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