UK GOVERNMENT VIEW
6. The Government told us that the UK is "strongly
committed to Turkey's accession", which it sees as being
in the "strategic interests of a prosperous and secure Europe."
The Minister for Europe, Jim Murphy MP, outlined the broader political
case in a recent speech. He saw the decision of whether to admit
Turkey to the EU as "as important for the EU's relations
with the Islamic World as the accession of the countries of Central
and Eastern Europe was for closing the final chapter of the cold
war", and as "about engaging the forces of globalisation
rather than retreating from them."
He highlighted mutual benefits for both sides, but noted it was
] to map out how both will benefit from Turkish
accession." He said:
The first mutual benefit is strategic: Turkey as
a crossroads between East and West, Islam and Christianity, has
more than symbolic value. Turkey has a better set of relations
in the Middle East than any existing EU member. This will bring
a new dimension to the EU's foreign policy. And both of us, Europe
and Turkey need security in the region.
As the Minister noted, in addition to security benefits,
accession offers political stability to Turkey and greater influence
for Turkey through the EU. We fully acknowledge the current political
crisis in Turkey and look at it in more detail in paragraphs 29
and 30. It does not, though, change our basic view.
7. All too often it is suggested
that Turkey does not 'belong' in the EU. However, Turkey has long
had a close relationship with the EU and the EEC before it, it
is a member of NATO and the OECD, and although the majority of
the population is Muslim, it is a secular democracy. We agree
with the Government that accession offers strategic benefits to
The economic case for membership