The Effects of Probable European Union Membership of Turkey on Lives of Individuals

By Olmus, Hulya | Social Behavior and Personality: an international journal, July 2008 | Go to article overview

The Effects of Probable European Union Membership of Turkey on Lives of Individuals


Olmus, Hulya, Social Behavior and Personality: an international journal


This study was an examination of the attitudes of individuals towards Turkey's probable membership of the European Union (EU). The analysis was done by using the results of the 2005 Life Satisfaction research carried out by the Turkish Statistical Institute (TURKSTAT, 2005). In addition to demographic characteristics, 6,983 individuals were asked about their expectations, personal development, hopes, and prosperity/well-being levels. Chi square analysis and multiple correspondence analysis were used to identify what the participants in the research survey thought would be the effect on their lives if Turkey were to become a full member of the EU.

Keywords: Turkish, membership, European Union, life effects.

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For half a century one of Turkey's most significant aims has been to become a full member of the European Union (EU). Turkey applied to what was then the European Economic Community for full membership in July 1959, just after the foundation of the Community in 1958. In the Community's reply to this application, it was stated that Turkey's development level did not meet the requirements of full membership and it was suggested that an association agreement should be signed which would be valid until Turkey fulfilled the conditions of full membership. The said agreement was concluded in Ankara on July 12, 1963. The ultimate objective of the Turkey-European Union association relationship is Turkey's full membership of the Community.

Relations between Turkey and the European Union evolved through the Additional Protocol that was signed in 1970 and came into force in 1973. This regulated the transition period of the partnership in the 1970s and reached an advanced stage with the constitution of a Customs Union between the parties signed on March 6, 1995. The foundations for the Customs Union were laid with the Additional Protocol. Turkey's transition to the Customs Union is considered to be a step towards full membership of the EU. The most significant feature of the Customs Union between Turkey and the EU is that Turkey is the first and the only country to enforce this without full membership of the EU. At the Helsinki Summit (December 10-11, 1999) Turkey was granted candidate country status. At present, full membership negotiations between Turkey and the EU continue.

Even though the relations between Turkey and the EU have a long and complex history, it is a widely known fact that this issue would not be placed frequently on the agenda and only a limited section of the Turkish population would be affected until 1999 when Turkey's candidacy was confirmed. Following the beginning of the candidacy process, Turkey-EU relations have progressively attracted more attention with the harmonization works carried out in nearly all fields related to social life and their effects in our daily lives (Secretariat General for EU Affairs, [EUSG], 2007; Uysal, 2001).

The first Life Satisfaction Survey conducted by the Turkish State Institute of Statistics was carried out in November 2003 and its results were announced in March 2004. In order to determine the opinions of the Turkish people on the European Union membership before December 17, 2004--when Turkey was granted a negotiation date--they were asked for their views on EU membership in two questions in the 2004 Life Satisfaction Survey: "What effects will Turkey's membership to the EU have on your life?" and "If a referendum is organized on Turkey's membership to the EU, how will you vote?" The 2005 Life Satisfaction Survey was carried out in December and its results were later published.

MULTIPLE CORRESPONDENCE ANALYSIS

In social sciences, research results are shown commonly by two-way cross tables named contingency tables. Correspondence analysis is used when chi square analysis is inadequate because of the inadequacy of the frequencies in the cells of the contingency tables belonging to categorical data.

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