EP elections hurts Turkey's EU chances, disappoint Muslims in Europe

EP elections hurts Turkey's EU chances, disappoint Muslims in Europe

The results of the European Parliament (EP) elections, which will be determinative in Europe's policy in the coming years, are expected to adversely affect not only Turkey's European Union accession process but also the situation of Muslim immigrants in European capitals as Euroskeptic and far-right parties have made strong gains in the elections, experts agree, Today's Zaman reported.

During the past decade, the EP was the most important supporter of Turkey's EU membership among the union's institutions; however, the increasing number of Euroskeptics in the parliament is considered a great concern to observers, who believe that opposing voices on Turkey's membership will increase following the elections.

According to observers, four days of elections across 28 countries will have a profound impact on national politics in EU countries and that a harsher stance will be adopted against Muslims and immigrants as far right parties have significantly increased their votes.

On Monday Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, European Union affairs minister, stated that it was worrisome that far-right parties in Europe have gained ground in the elections. "We see that support for the racist, anti-Semitic, Islamophobic and anti-immigrant parties has increased in Europe. This threatens European values and contradicts the objectives of the European institutions," said Çavuşoglu.

According to observers in Europe, the rise of Euroskeptic parties in two large EU countries, France and the UK, will create an unfavorable atmosphere for Turkey's EU accession negotiations.

France's National Front with 25 percent and Britain's UKIP (UK Independence Party) with 27 percent were among Euroskeptic parties to make big gains in the elections. Both parties, according to preliminary results, topped the vote in their respective countries. Anti-EU parties also polled strongly in Denmark and Italy. In Germany, Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democrats (CDU) scored 35 percent. According to European Union expert Can Baydarol, the rise of the far right in European capitals was due to the problems within the union in past years.

The elections are threatening not only the Turkey-EU process, but also the EU's structure and organization, say experts, referring to the record number of members of the EP (MEPs) who are hostile or skeptical about the European Union that have triumphed in France, Denmark and Austria.

Baydarol stated there was increasing racism in European streets in recent years and that this increase was affecting the stance of political figures in the union. "If the EU fails to develop a strategic vision towards Turkey, the coming five years will be tough for Ankara," he told Today's Zaman.

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