The Facebook crew has spoken, and the next country that should enter the European Union is...
With a booming economy, an educated workforce and the second largest contribution to NATO, the country that bridges Europe and Asia has been waiting to enter the E.U. since 1987.
An entrance by Turkey into the Union would give Europe dramatically more strategic and economic clout in the region as well as shift the balance of power in Brussels. Swedish foreign minister Carl Bildt, a vigorous supporter of Turkey's entrance, has said, "the accession of Turkey would give the E.U. a decisive role for stability in the eastern part of the Mediterranean and the Black Sea, which is clearly in the strategic interest of Europe."
To officially be accepted into the Union, Turkey would have to be unanimously approved by member states after satisfying 35 "acquis chapters" that grade the country on civil society, military, political and trade issues.
But Turkey's internal and external affairs continue to divide members. Controversy stems over Turkey's inconsistent dedication to human rights; poor relationships with its neighbors like Armenia and Kurdistan; and Islamic fundamentalism. There is also a sense that Turkish culture is fundamentally not European. Other opponents say allowing Turkey to enter the E.U. will lead to demands by other countries on Europe's periphery like Morocco for the same.
Turkey will have to wait at least until 2013--when the E.U.'s next six-year budget comes into effect--for the next potential vote on its European future.
We'll have to see how this week's elections turn out to know how the next Parliament will behold Turkey's prospects.
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Image from the study.
Image by authors of the study.
The study's authors will keep working on this in the meantime.
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