EU member countries see Turkey as foe, not ally - think-tank survey

More residents of EU member countries see Turkey as an adversary than a necessary partner, according to a public opinion survey by the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR) published on Wednesday.

A total of 26 percent of Europeans see Turkey as an adversary, or a country with which there is conflict, compared to a mere 25 percent who see the EU hopeful nation as a necessary partner, the survey found. 

Turkey has been an official EU candidate country since 1999 and has maintained a customs union deal with the bloc since January 1996. Accession negotiations formally began in October 2005, however have stalled in the last few years due to what is being called Turkey’s failure to comply with required criteria pertaining to the EU candidacy.

Only 4 percent of those surveyed saw Turkey as an ally with shared values and interests, with Germany registering the highest number of respondents who s consider Turkey an adversary, at 41 percent.

“Given that Turkey is a NATO member – unlike China, Russia, India, and Japan, all of which Europeans consider less threatening – this finding is quite worrying,’’ the ECFR said.

Turkey’s lack of progress in converging with European standards and values has transformed into a full withdrawal, marked by a stark regression the areas of the rule of law and fundamental rights, regressive institutional reforms and a confrontational foreign policy, according to the European Parliament’s Committee on Foreign Affairs (AFET) latest report.