Baku, Azerbaijan, July 8
By Rufiz Hafizoglu - Trend:
Turkey is the only Muslim country with great economic potential which has been holding talks on accession to the EU for many years. Although the negotiations on Turkey's accession to the EU were resumed in 2005, they haven't brought the expected results so far.
That's to say the EU still doesn't understand Turkey's significance for it.
If the EU thinks that Ankara will wait for accession to this structure forever, it is very mistaken. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has repeatedly said that the EU continues to mislead Turkey [on the issue of accession] and this upsets the country.
Moreover, one of the most powerful figures of Turkey's political elite, Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc earlier said that Turkey's accession to EU has lost its attractiveness for the country's citizens.
Although accession to the EU would be beneficial for Ankara in terms of achieving democratic and living standards, it is obvious that Turkish authorities won't wait for a long time. But it is not ruled out that Ankara will continue the reforms for accession to this structure.
What does EU lose by refusing to accept Turkey's membership?
First, Turkey is one of the most powerful militaries in the region. Moreover, this country has rapidly growing economy.
Turkey makes every effort to become the region's economic and political center and almost all efforts of the Justice and Development Party have been directed towards achieving this goal since 2003.
For example, Turkey paid off all its debts to the International Monetary Fund in May 2013.
That's to say, as distinct from several EU members, Turkey is not a country with poor economic conditions.
By refusing to accept Turkey's membership, the EU is losing a powerful economic partner.
Moreover, Turkey aims to become the region's energy hub and we can say that it has partially achieved this goal over the past 13 years.
Such an important project as TANAP and several other projects have turned Turkey into the integral part in the energy market. But Turkey's isolation from the EU proves that the political and economic interests of this structure simply do not coincide.
The polls held in Turkey show that if previously 75 percent of Turkey's population supported the country's accession to the EU, currently, this figure has dropped to 20 percent.
This shows that EU is losing its relevance for Turkish citizens, despite the fact that Ankara has fulfilled 65 percent of its commitments to EU for accession to this structure.
Today, Turkey's former president Abdullah Gul said that Turkey is essential for the EU.
Gul added that the EU is making a big mistake by refusing to accept Turkey's membership.
"Turkey is a powerful Muslim country and its membership in the EU can only benefit this structure," the former president said.
Taking into account that Turkey is a secular Muslim country, it can play an important role in the interfaith dialogue. Alongside with Turkey, Azerbaijan also has great potential for interfaith dialogue and has made a significant contribution to this.
Given Ankara's political and economic potential, not Turkey but the EU loses from delaying Turkey's accession to this structure.
Edited by CN
Rufiz Hafizoglu is the head of Trend Agency's Arabic news service, follow him on Twitter: @rhafizoglu