Turkey's 40-year campaign to join the European Union looks set to collapse after talks between EU foreign ministers broke up without agreement before entry negotiations had started. Opponents of Turkish membership claim that the country is too big, too poor and too culturally different from the other member states, but the Foreign Secretary, Jack Straw, has claimed that rejection of Turkey could have negative consequences on relations between Islam and the West. Should Turkey be allowed to join the EU? Send us your view using the form at the end of the article! 1) Turkey should be considered only if it is able to accept and enforce all the EU criteria set out within the negotiation framework accepted by their leaders. This would mean fully recognising all EU member states, including the Republic of Cyprus, opening its ports and airports to Cypriot vessels (freedom of movement), bringing a stop to the human rights problem imposed by illegally occupying a EU territory, not violating EU airspace on a daily basis, and granting Kurds the same human rights as other citizens of Turkey. A Turkey which is prepared to do all that is welcome in the EU. John Hamilton, London 2) Turkey unfortunately seems to be a monster that will spoil the values that many Europeans hold dear. I just can't see what we have done in the past to have created this kind of view. We have done no more than the Brits, Spaniards, French or Germans have done in the past. We need to look forward, all of us, and leave the bloody history of Europe behind.
Serhan Percinel, Istanbul, Turkey 3) Now that the EU has ignored the geographical constraints on membership, perhaps it would like to offer a timetable for the accession of Japan, South Korea, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the USA, all of which are far more European in attitude, economy and belief than Turkey. Willem Elysium, Belgium 4) The vast majority are against Turkey's entry ... yet still Blair and Straw, backed up by George Bush, push the deal forward, and Chirac and others are not pushing back. What happened to democracy in Europe? What happened to democracy in Britain? Bush and America should stay out of British/European affairs. Joanne McCormick, Hereford
5) Turkey has waited 42 years to join the EU and should, without doubt, be granted full membership. Critics say that many Europeans do not want Turkey to join, but one only needs to look back to May of last year to see that ten new countries joined the EU. Was a referendum held for each of these countries? No. So why should Turkey be treated differently? Turkey has always been viewed as a European country and as the English and American government can see, it is a step forward for Europe. Chris Jones, Newcastle
6) It would be a mistake not to allow Turkey to join the EU. Yes of course, the Turkish economy/social/political structure does not fit neatly into our European vision. However, if we fail to recognise the overwhelming advantages of welcoming Turkey into the EU, the long-term damage would be immense. This is a time in history when we should embrace religious, social and economic differences not avoid them. Gerard Murphy, Ilkeston 7) I think that Turkey should be allowed into the EU because of its long-standing historical goal of being integrated with the modern world as well as her historical ties with European countries. Turkey's entry into the EU may bring peace and stability in the region, besides adding a new cultural diversity that will greatly promote the founding philosophy of the EU. Musa Dogan, Ankara, Turkey
8) It will be truly shameful if the EU once more puts obstacles in the way of Turkey and her legitimate wish to join the club. Turkey has for the last 50 years been a loyal ally in NATO and has a democratic record no better or worse than Greece, Spain and Portugal prior to them joining the EU. That Austria vetoed the entry of Turkey is even more bizarre - a county that stood on the sidelines during the cold war and contributes little to peace-keeping or other international roles. Philip Garbett, Manchester
9) Today's Turkish government speaks of an "Armenian question" in relation to the genocide of 1915 and claims that it has nothing to answer for. How would Europeans react to similar statements coming from the current German government in relation to the similar "Jewish question"? This one example demonstrates how far away from Europe's human rights principles Turkey stands. The country may border the Continent, but it is a million miles away from Europe, and attempts to scare the European population into accepting them into the EU family via a combination of threats (clash of civilizations, fear of an Islamic backlash) and incentives (young population, cheap labour) are quite frankly a disgrace that betrays everything European civilisation has stood for since the enlightenment. Peter Dickinson, Liverpool 10) The pros and cons of Turkey EU membership could span many pages. Against: Turkey is culturally very different; its per capita GNP is a quarter the EU average and Turkey could easily swallow up all the EU development funds; EU legislation would cause very much internal resentment - as many could see it as conflicting with their religious laws; the country still has human rights issues and hasn't recognised the genocide where over a million Armenians died. For: if Turkey could join the EU and all the issues above are resolved we would have a fantastically dynamic economy in Europe that may be able to help us balance off against the upcoming industrial super powers of China and India. Turkey would become more wealthy, secular, tolerant and open. The outcome is in the toss of a coin. Matthew Hopcraft, Chelmsford http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,564-1809243,00.html