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The Myths of Turkish Influence in the European Union Robert Pahre Department of Political Science University of Illinois 361 Lincoln Hall 702 South Wright St Urbana IL 61801 USA 217 333 2851 fax 217 244 5712 pahre uiuc edu Burcu U aray Department of Political Science University of Illinois 361 Lincoln Hall 702 South Wright St Urbana IL 61801 USA 217 333 2851 fax 217 244 5712 ucaray uiuc edu Abstract Among the many objections to Turkish membership in the European Union lie claims that Turkey will be a powerful actor in the future EU with a population as large as or larger than Germany Many also claim that this power will have negative effects on the EU We examine such claims analytically influenced strongly by spatial models of EU policy making We find that Turkey s preferences lie sufficiently outside the EU mainstream so that it will have little influence in day to day policy making under the assent codecision consultation and cooperation procedures or the common procedure in the rejected constitutional treaty Its influence may be more evident in areas such as the CFSP or JHA where unanimity remains the normal procedure Still Turkey s veto power here is no different from that of other much smaller countries Furthermore veto power can only block changes and cannot be used to pull the EU into undesirable new directions Even this veto power can be avoided if the EU 25 establishes whatever policies they desire prior to Turkish membership forcing Turkey to accept a fait accompli Despite these limitations to its power Turkey may have some influence in purely intergovernmental settings such as negotiations over new treaties that might occur some decades hence Earlier versions of this paper were presented at the European Union Studies Association in Austin in March 2005 the Midwest Political Science Association in Chicago in April 2005 the University Association of Contemporary European Scholars in Zagreb in September 2005 and Turkey and Europe Symposium of the Program on South Asia and Middle Eastern Studies University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign Turkey has become an important political issue throughout the European Union Opposition to Turkish membership was an important motive for the French to vote against the Draft Treaty for a Constitution in May 2005 though as Foreign Minister Abdullah G l and countless commentators have noted the two really have nothing to do with one another Turkish entry has also become an important electoral issue in Germany where Angela Merkel wants to postpone if not preclude entirely Turkey s entry into the Union As the French referendum shows many people hold misconceptions about how Turkish membership would affect the Union Many would be surprised to learn that Turkey has been interested in joining the European Economic Community EEC now EU since it applied for associate membership in 1959 Its 1963 Association Agreement included a promise of eventual full membership Nonetheless Turkey has since seen the EU grow from six to twenty five members without itself becoming any closer to membership To appreciate the length of this process recall that Turkey s first interest in membership coincided with the UK s original application vetoed by Charles de Gaulle Or imagine telling someone in 1959 that Estonia then one of 15 Soviet Socialist Republics would join the European Union before Turkey could even commence negotiations The nature of the discussion over Turkey s membership has changed but there can be no doubt that Turkey has been part of political processes in the EU broadly defined for a very long time Of course Turkish membership raises many issues not found in a post communist Estonia Harry Flam 2003 7 8 argues that the most important reasons for the EU s unwillingness to negotiate Turkish membership over the years have been the budgetary implications the political implications as a result of Turkey s size and likely voting weight and 1 the cultural question of whether Turkey is part of Europe Several other scholars have also raised general concerns about Turkish voting power in an enlarged union often using Shapley Shubik Banzhaf or other indices of voting power to reach this conclusion i e Aleskerov et al 2002 Baldwin and Widgr n 2005 Because Turkey is different from the European mainstream on many dimensions many EU citizens are concerned that Turkish membership could change the nature of the Union Turkey s potential political power is a major concern The standard refrain begins with the observation that Turkey will soon have more people than Germany see M ft ler Bac and McLaren 2003 Quaisser and Reppegather 2004 inter alia These concerns have entered popular discourse as The Economist s Charlemagne 2005 notes By 2015 it will be larger than any other EU state by population which has unsettling implications for its voting weight and representation in the European Parliament Furthermore this influence would supposedly change the Union In a widely reported speech at Leiden University outgoing Dutch Commissioner Frits Bolkestein 2004 joined many in saying that the entry of a land with 68 million inhabitants and 83 million in 2020 will also change the European Union greatly 1 Matthias Wissman member of the Bundestag since 1976 former cabinet minister 1993 98 and chair of the EU committee in the Bundestag 2002 fears that the EU will become ungovernable cited in CDU CSU setzen We have nothing against Turkey but we are of the opinion that the Union is at risk of breaking if one stretches it too far When one makes it so big that it is no longer governable can no longer be efficient Turkey would soon be the largest 1 door toetreding van een land met 68 miljoen inwoners nu en in 2020 83 miljoen zal ook de Europese Unie sterk veranderen 2 country in the Union and would completely change the architecture of the EU 2 Similar claims were made about the entry of the ten newest members though they did not prove to bar membership On both analytical and empirical grounds we will argue here that these concerns are unwarranted Turkey is most feared on those dimensions where it is most different but its influence is smallest where it is the most different precisely because of this difference One of the most important features of EU decision making is the presence of many veto actors and supramajoritarian procedures which mean that ideologically extreme proposals cannot be adopted Hix 1999 Kreppel 2002 Tsebelis 2002 Chapter 11 Because Turkey will have preferences


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