(Zaman)- Newsweeks latest international edition reported a decline in support for joining the European Union (EU) among Turkish citizens during the last two years partly due to the high cost of living by European rules.
The article by Owen Matthews, said that the Turkish support for the EU membership had fallen to 43 percent in 2006 from 70 percent of 2004, reports Trend.
The magazine cited the "frictions over Cyprus", "the economic issues," and rising "nationalist sentiment" as three main reasons behind the severe drop in the Turkish support to the EU.
"Turks feel they are being bullied by Brussels into making further concessions over the divided island (Cyprus). Wounded national pride has punctured the EU dream for many Turks," observed Matthews.
Turkey commenced its de facto accession talks with the European Union in mid-June, following an 8-month screening process.
Turkey's EU accession process is expected to be long and arduous and susceptible to crises, especially with Cyprus. Optimistic analysts predict that Turkey with its large population could enter the wealthy bloc by 2014 at the earliest.
The magazine said that Turkish business leaders, who are responsible for 55 percent of Turkey's GDP and 70 percent of jobs, are losing enthusiasm for the EU due to the costs and hassles of implementing the EU's 80,000-page Acquis Communautaire.
"Almost every clause of the Acquis Communautaire comes with a giant bill-for example, implementing European drinking-water standards will require digging up vast swaths of Turkey's often haphazardly planned cities to replace crumbling piping," said the Newsweek.
The article underlined that Turkey was already in Europe's Customs Union and had been enjoying largely tariff-free trade with the EU.
Matthews also wrote that wage inflation was eroding Turkey's main economic advantage over other EU countries. "Turkey's minimum wage has gone up 41 percent over the past five years (from $180 to $254 per month), which is less than inflation but catching up to competitors like Romania and Bulgaria."
Newsweek articled underlined that ruling Justice and Development Party was trying to benefit from an increasingly nationalist line, refusing to allow Greek Cypriot vessels to use Turkish ports until Turkish Cypriot ports and airports are opened to international traffic.