European Public Opinion and Turkey’s Accession Making Sense of Arguments For and Against

European Public Opinion and Turkey’s Accession Making Sense of Arguments For and Against
Working Paper

Summary [1]

Turkey’s accession to the European Union is one of the most controversial and divisive topics the EU faces. Both EU governments and citizens are deeply divided on whether Turkey should become a member or not. This paper takes an in-depth look at European citizens’ attitudes towards Turkey’s accession to the EU and explains which elements are key in determining support for or opposition to Turkish membership. We use new data, derived from the new questions measuring citizens’ attitudes towards Turkey that have recently been introduced in Eurobarometer questionnaires. We prove that views for and against Turkish membership are multidimensional and that citizens use different arguments for both positions. In particular, we show that the likelihood of supporting or opposing Turkey’s membership depends on whether citizens adopt a perspective that is utilitarian (resting on costs and benefits), identity-based (founded on Turkey being part of Europe) or post-national (linked to the view of a rights-based EU emphasising democracy and human rights). The main findings are as follows: first, support for Turkey’s membership is mostly based on post-national arguments; second, opposition to Turkey’s accession is mainly connected with identity-related arguments; and third, instrumental reasons (costs/benefits) play a less relevant role. Turkey’s future membership in the EU, we conclude, will thus not be won or lost at the public opinion level on the material plane (costs/benefits) but on the relative weight of post-national visions of the EU vis-à-vis more essentialist visions of Europe. The key to Turkish EU membership, we suggest, may well lie in the way accession is argued and justified, and not wholly in the way it is negotiated.


Introduction. 1

Three approaches to people’s beliefs concerning Turkey. 2

Utilitarian hypotheses. 4

Identitarian hypotheses. 5

Post-national hypotheses. 6

Debating Turkey: Relevant dimensions of public support 7

Conclusions. 23

References. 25

Appendix A. Tables. 27

Appendix B. Summary of SPSS Outputs (Contingency Tables) 29

Appendix C. Figures. 36


Ensuring popular support for further integration has become one of the biggest challenges facing the European Union. Growing levels of Euroscepticism and the increasing mobilisation of opposition since the Maastricht Treaty signify the end of the so-called ‘permissive consensus’ that characterised public attitudes throughout earlier decades of integration (Franklin, Marsh & McLaren, 1994; Sitter, 2001). Yet the problem of popular consent is multifaceted and complex. Patterns of support for EU institutions, enlargement and deepening vary extensively across member states. European integration interacts with national political, economic and social settings, producing diverse combinations of incentives, expectations and fears. A better understanding of the dynamics of public opinion and its impact on politics and policy-making in the EU is thus crucial if the Union’s current dilemmas are to be solved.

The power of public opinion has been dramatically demonstrated by a number of recent referenda on EU issues, many of which have produced popular vetoes to elite-crafted integration plans, including the ill-fated Constitutional Treaty. Support for enlargement also began to drop substantially in 2004, as the accession of 10 new member states became imminent, and further enlargement of the Union has since been amply rejected by citizens in a large number of countries. But whereas opposition to further enlargement has been confined to a few of the older member states, which had also been opposed to the 2004 enlargement, European public opinion is overwhelmingly negative regarding the specific accession of Turkey.

On 17 December 2004, the European Council took the historic decision to open accession negotiations with Turkey. In May/June 2005, French and Dutch citizens voted ‘no’ in the referenda on the ratification of the Constitutional Treaty. In the debate that followed, both media and political discourses often cited opposition to enlargement in general (and Turkey in particular) as a fundamental reason behind the ‘nays’ to the Constitutional Treaty. Nevertheless, on 17 June 2005, the European Council confirmed its decision to start accession negotiations and, after intense debates and much polemic, these formally began on 3 October 2005.

Despite conventional wisdom about enlargement featuring in the referenda campaigns in France (the ‘Polish plumber’ debate) and the Netherlands (coinciding with the national debate on Islam and the integration of Muslims following film-maker Theo Van Gogh’s murder), available empirical data shows that negative considerations about enlargement did not play a direct role in turning citizens against the Constitutional Treaty. In France for example, only 6% of those who voted ‘no’ spontaneously cited Turkey as a reason for voting against the Constitutional Treaty and only 3% cited “opposition to further enlargement”. And in the Netherlands, 6% mentioned “opposition to further enlargement” when they were asked to explain their negative vote and 3% argued that they did not want Turkey to become an EU member state.[3]

The absence of a direct link between the French and Dutch ‘nays’ to the Constitutional Treaty and Turkish accession does not conceal, however, the dominant negative mood existing among EU founding member states when it comes to support for enlargement. Europeans show little enthusiasm for enlargement in general, and for Turkey’s accession in particular. Positive views on the 2004 enlargement or future enlargement rounds are a scarce commodity across the EU. European citizens are fairly divided when it comes to endorsing the accession of the former Yugoslavian states, Serbia, Montenegro, Bosnia–Herzegovina and Macedonia. But when it comes to Turkey, its accession shows the poorest support indicators (only matched by Albania). Furthermore, owing to the fact that citizens of the new member states (NMS) predominantly favour future enlargements, the 2004 enlargement has generally had a positive impact on the levels of support for the future accession of countries in south-east Europe, yet assent for Turkish accession has not benefited from this effect. As a consequence, a split has appeared when it comes to support for future accessions, with Turkey being located at the most negative end of the spectrum on future enlargement.

What are the reasons for the extremely low levels of support for the prospect of Turkey’s accession to the EU? Media and political discourses tend to point at different factors. Sometimes, they cite religious or cultural elements (having to do with Christian values, the compatibility of Islam and democracy, etc.). On other occasions, they concentrate on demographic factors (either difficulties of accommodating a country as large as Turkey in the EU’s institutions or fears of immigration stemming from Turkey’s booming population). Often, too, we hear arguments framed in economic terms (stressing how the EU’s common structural and agricultural policies would collapse should a country as poor as Turkey get in). Frequently, we also hear arguments dealing with security and stability (either in favour of or against Turkey’s membership). Lastly, some argue that further political integration along federalist lines would be impossible if the EU overstretches to Turkey, just to mention a few of the most common arguments.

Can we make sense of this variety of arguments? Do they point to a coherent set of values, preferences and visions concerning the European integration process? We think they do, and that it is possible to organise them into three sets of approaches, which in turn give rise to three different visions of Europe. As we show, support for or opposition to Turkish membership among European citizens is both highly consistent and, at the same time, deeply connected with preferences concerning the European integration process.

Three approaches to people’s beliefs concerning Turkey

In order to address people’s beliefs concerning Turkey’s accession to the EU, we first adopt a threefold analytical distinction between ‘utilitarian’, ‘moral’ and ‘ethical’ arguments and then derive a testable hypothesis. These dimensions grossly refer to three sets of beliefs and attitudes
towards the EU and its future evolution. The first refers to a “utility-based” agreement, the second to a “value-based” community and the third to a “rights-based” post-national union (Sjursen, 2007, pp. 2-11).

‘Utilitarians’ conceive the EU pragmatically, as a problem-solving entity to which they lend their support depending on a cost-benefit analysis: the more they benefit or expect to benefit from EU policies in economic, political or security terms, the more they support it and vice versa. Therefore, decisions on enlargement would be assessed in relation to whether the accession of new members would expand the wealth or security base of the EU.

According to the second view of the EU (‘value-based’), the EU would be a geographically delimited entity, with a strong sense of common identity, history, culture and traditions. For those who share this view, support for the EU would be a function of the perceived congruence of EU policies and activities with the set of values they believe are constitutive of Europe in terms of a community (a common history, geography and a set of values – whether Christian or secular – forming the ‘European way of life’). It follows that decisions on enlargement would be based on kinship or ‘we feelings’ and the political discourse concerning enlargement would be predominantly moral: the more a candidate is like the member states in terms of geography, culture, history, etc., the more likely such a country’s application would be supported and vice versa.

Finally, according to the third vision, European integration would or should rest on a set of universal principles and values, such as democracy, human rights and the rule of law. Should the EU fully develop in that direction, we would characterise it as a ‘post-national’ or ‘civic’ Union. Dealing with enlargement, those who hold such beliefs would support enlargement processes to the extent that they believed the applicants shared those values, regardless of a high degree of cultural differences and traditions.

Applied to Turkey, each of these visions could lead us to ask different questions. For example, those holding pragmatic views would tend to engage in a debate about costs and benefits. Would the foreign policy and security gains outweigh the economic and budgetary costs of accession? Would Turkey’s accession collapse European labour markets or help compensate the impact of an ageing population and declining birth rates across Europe? Following this logic, the fact that a majority of Europeans oppose Turkey’s accession would mean that a majority of Europeans consider that the benefits of membership do not outweigh its costs or, more simply, that Europeans do not agree on whether accession would be too costly in economic or security terms.

But what if support or opposition had nothing to do with costs and benefits? What if Europeans were to oppose Turkey’s accession for cultural, historical and geographical reasons even if from an economic or security point of view, the EU would benefit from its accession? Or, alternatively, what if owing to feelings of shared culture, history and identity, Europeans were to support Turkey’s membership despite believing that it would be costly in economic or security terms? Clearly, the political picture would be much different. Those who considered Turkey to be part of Europe, both geographically and culturally, would be in favour whereas those reluctant to identify themselves with Turkey’s geography, history and culture would be most reticent to admit it into the EU.

Finally, let us suppose that support for or opposition to Turkish membership was based not on values or on pragmatic considerations, but had to do with the shared principles on which the EU stands, such as democracy or human rights. We would then expect Europeans to act on grounds of fairness, i.e. even if they did not identify with Turkish culture, history or geography, they would support the right of a fully democratic and human rights-compliant Turkey to become a member of the EU. In other words, to the extent that Turkey meets both the requisites of TEU Arts. 49 and 6.1 concerning the principles and values on which the Union is based and the Copenhagen criteria specifying the accession conditions, it should be accepted as a member state.

Having briefly summarised the three possible approaches to what the Union is, or should be, let us see which sorts of operational hypotheses we could derive.

Utilitarian hypotheses

Our first hypothesis is ‘instrumental support’. The conception of citizens’ support being based on instrumental considerations (a rational calculus of costs and benefits) has been widely applied to public assent for the EU or European integration,[4] but also to the explanation of member states’ support for enlargement.[5]

Following this approach, we may posit that enlargement has costs and benefits, and that whenever citizens perceive that the costs will outweigh the benefits, they will oppose it and vice versa. Needless to say, costs may vary widely in terms of either the level (European, national, regional or personal) or the dimension (economic, political, security or institutional). Also, we should not forget that the subjective dimension of cost perceptions might be as important as the objective one.[6] Accordingly, citizens support enlargement if and when they perceive the benefits to be larger than the costs – that is, enlargement can be legitimised by achieving an output that can be seen as an efficient solution to given interests and preferences.

Our first hypothesis (instrumental support) thus reads the more that Turkish accession is considered beneficial, the higher the support will be for accession and, conversely, the more costly accession is perceived, the higher the opposition will be to enlargement (H1).

Using Eurobarometer data (Eurobarometer 64.2, 2005) we check whether EU citizens see advantages in Turkey’s membership and test the extent to which those who see these benefits are more inclined to endorse it than citizens who do not see advantages in Turkey’s accession. We should find that citizens who think that the benefits outweigh the costs support Turkey’s membership to a larger extent (and alternatively those who see disadvantages favour its joining to a lesser extent). If the instrumental dimension has a positive impact on support for Turkey’s membership, then such support would only improve if the benefits of accession were to become more evident. Also, we check whether the relevance of this dimension is homogeneous across EU member states, along with its impact on support for Turkey’s membership. Crucially, if perceptions of the costs/benefits were not homogeneous among citizens in all member states, reaching a decision on Turkey that satisfies all the member states would be almost impossible.

Identitarian hypotheses

However much the capacity to deliver policies that satisfy citizens’ preferences is an important dimension of legitimacy and support (‘output legitimacy’), people may consider legitimate decisions they do not directly benefit from or of which they do not actually approve just because they are adopted by a community to which they feel they belong. At the national level, ‘my country right or wrong’ is a typical expression of identity-based support. At the European level, the feeling of belonging to a political community is also a key factor in explaining support for the EU.[7] Empirical data shows that those citizens who feel European also have a higher probability of supporting the EU (van der Veen, 2002). Therefore, although instrumental considerations are crucial when analysing citizens’ support for the European integration process, identification with Europe is an equally important source of approval.

This line of reasoning might be plausibly applied to enlargement. From this point of view, enlargement would be endorsed if the candidate countries were thought to belong to ‘our community’, to be like ‘us’ or to share ‘our values’. The idea that actors’ preferences are contextual or endogenous – that is, derived from the identity of the community to which they belong – rather than instrumental or exogenous has been applied to the explanation of EU member states’ support for enlargement by historical as well as sociological institutionalism approaches. Sjursen (2002 and 2004) has argued that citizens support enlargement if and when fellow citizens from accession countries are considered from a perspective of kinship – i.e. if citizens from newer and older member states share common references about what is considered appropriate given the conception of what Europe and the EU represents.

Thus, in some situations, rather than evaluating the material costs/benefits of each possible course of action, actors tend to examine what the “appropriate” behaviour would be, taking into account the dominant values of the group to which they belong (March & Olsen 1989). Using this argument, Friis (1998) has explained how the European Council changed its position concerning the selection of candidates for accession negotiations. Schimmelfenning (2001) has also used it to show how EU member states were “rhetorically entrapped” into accepting an enlargement process that they were not happy about. Lundgren (2006) has drawn upon this argument to explain differences in support for Turkish and Romanian membership in the EU, and Sjursen & Riddervold (2006) have cited it to explain Danish support for the accession of the Baltic candidates. Piedrafita (2006) has argued that Spain supported eastern enlargement despite its likely negative impact on Spanish interests owing to the perception that it had a moral duty to do so. Just as the Community extended to Spain in the 1980s in order to bring it back into Europe, Spanish policy-makers argued, Spain fully understood that it was now the turn of Central and Eastern European people to return to Europe. Spain could hence debate the modalities and conditions of the 2004 enlargement process, but its reading of (a shared) European history and values framed its attitudes towards enlargement not only at the elite level, but also at the citizens’ level, situating Spanish public opinion among the top supporters of the 2004 enlargement.

We may then elaborate a second hypothesis concerning assent for enlargement: identitarian support. Accordingly, the more that European citizens believe Turkey is part of Europe (in geographical, historical and cultural terms), the more they will support Turkish accession and vice versa (H2).

Eurobarometer data allows us to test whether Turkey is perceived to be part of Europe. We expect those who see Turkey as part of Europe to be more supportive of membership than those who see it as separate. Here, it is also possible that citizens in different countries have different understandings about the extent to which Turkey belongs to Europe. We later explore these national divergences and assess the various effects of this identity dimension on support for Turkey’s membership on a country-by-country basis.

Post-national hypotheses

According to a third possible view of the integration process, the EU would be conceived as a rights-based, post-national Union founded on universal principles such as democracy and human rights and governed by the rule of law, rather than on traditional ‘national’ values such as language, ethnic group, religion and culture (Chryssochoou, 2001; Eriksen & Fossum, 2000).

Research has shown that those citizens who fear losing national sovereignty within the EU (those who have not developed post-national identities) tend to support the integration process to a lower extent (Christin & Trechsel, 2002; Carey, 2002). At the same time, scholars have argued that the development of post-national identities may facilitate and increase support for the EU (Hooghe & Marks, 2004, p. 2). Similarly, when it comes to enlargement, we may argue (Sjursen, 2002 and 2006) that those conceiving the EU in post-national ways, i.e. as a rights-based Union, may be more likely to support enlargement processes. Citizens’ support for enlargement may therefore stem from recognition of universal standards of justice and principles that can be recognised as ‘just’ by all parties (such as respect for human rights or democracy).

Thus, in order to decide whether a country could become a member of the EU, we would look at the principles governing accession, not at ‘we feelings’ or shared understandings of culture or history. These principles are clear. As TEU Art. 49 establishes, “any European State which respects the principles set out in Art. 6.1 may apply to become a member of the Union”, and as Art. 6.1 affirms, “the Union is founded on the principles of liberty, democracy, respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, and the rule of law, principles which are common to the Member States”. Complementing these, the Copenhagen conditions, set out by the European Council in 1993, demand that candidates meet four criteria:

the stability of institutions guaranteeing democracy, the rule of law, human rights and respect for and protection of minorities, the existence of a functioning market economy and the capacity to cope with competitive pressure and market forces within the Union…[and] the ability to take on the obligations of membership, including adherence to the aims of political, economic and monetary union. [8]

Therefore, whether the candidate country is Turkey, Norway or Switzerland it should not make much difference. We would simply expect citizens and European institutions to apply these principles in a transparent, non-discriminatory manner: those who meet the criteria should be let in and those who do not should not (no matter the balance of costs and benefits, and no matter the high or low intensity of kinship feelings).

We may then formulate our third hypothesis (post-national support) as follows: the more importance citizens assign to the set of shared principles on which the Union is based, and which conform to the enlargement acquis, the more likely their level of support for or opposition to Turkish membership will depend on whether they think Turkey meets or is in the position to meet these criteria (H3).

Regarding this dimension, Eurobarometer data allows us to test if citizens are still attached to their own cultural values or rather do cherish post-national ones. We expect the former to support Turkey’s membership to a lesser extent than the latter. As above, we check the relevance of the post-national dimension for each member state and look for differences in support for Turkey’s membership. If the post-national dimension has a positive impact on assent for Turkey’s accession, then public opinion would improve as traditional national (ethno-cultural) identities weakened. Yet if post-national attitudes were not homogeneous among citizens in all member states, i.e. if national (ethno-cultural) identities remain strong in some of them, then the probability of ensuring support based on this dimension would be quite low.

Debating Turkey: Relevant dimensions of public support

According to Eurobarometer surveys, citizens’ support for Turkey’s accession to the EU is not only low, having been at around 29-33% since 2000, but is also shrinking (Figure 1). In the meantime, opposition has been growing. According to Eurobarometer surveys, citizens’ support for Turkey’s accession to the EU is not only low, but also shrinking. This is the result of a double process: whereas accession supporters have remained stable since 2000 (in the fringe of 29-33%), contesters have steadily risen. As Figure 1 shows, the consequence is that “net” support for Turkish accession has visibly deteriorated. Whereas in autumn 2001, Eurobarometer 56.2 reported opposition to Turkey’s membership to be at 46% among the EU-15 member states, this percentage rose to 52% in spring 2005 (Eurobarometer 63) and to a further 57% in autumn 2005 (Eurobarometer 64). Significantly, this increase does not reflect a shift in support, but the fact that a good number of the ‘don’t know’ respondents have lately joined the opposition camp.

Figure 1. Evolution of “net” support for Turkey’s membership among the EU-15 member states (supporters minus contesters, mean for the EU-15)[9]

Source: authors’ elaboration from Eurobarometer data.

As shown in Table 1, opposition to Turkey’s membership is not homogeneous among countries. It is much higher among the old EU-15 member states than it is among the 10 NMS (NMS-10). But even among the older member states, there are substantial differences: the countries with the higher percentages of opposition are Austria, Cyprus, Luxembourg, Greece, France and Finland. Opposition to Turkey’s membership in these countries is furthermore a long-lasting characteristic of public opinion (see Table A1 in Appendix A).

Table 1. Net support for Turkey’s membership of the EU by country (supporters minus contesters)

ForAgainstNet support
United Kingdom3842-4
Czech Republic3057-27

Note: The difference between the percentages for and against is those persons who did not answer or did not know.
Source: Eurobarometer 64.2 (2005).

Comparing among candidate countries, Figure 2 shows that net support for Turkey’s accession among the EU-25 member states is –24, the lowest of all the candidates. Moreover, Turkey is the only candidate country upon which the 2004 accession of the NMS-10 has had a negative effect in terms of public opinion. Although net support for any of the possible future member states has increased since 2004 (mainly because the new member states are more supportive of further enlargement of the Union), Turkey has been the exception to this rule.

Figure 2. Net support for future members (supporters minus contesters, EU-15 and EU-25)

Notes: Mean net support for the EU-15 is an average taking into account EU-15 net support for each country in Eurobarometer surveys 54.1 (2000), 56.2 (2001), 57.1 (2002) and 58.1 (2002). EU-25 net support is derived from Eurobarometer 64.2 (2005) data.

Given the weak and eroding support for Turkey’s membership, the European Commission has recently introduced a detailed set of questions in the Eurobarometer survey regarding the reasons EU citizens may support or reject its accession to the EU. Understanding these reasons can help the Commission to address EU citizens in terms that are relevant and meaningful. Eurobarometer 64.2 (2005) posed the question below.

QA45. For each of the following please tell me whether you totally agree, tend to agree, tend to disagree or totally disagree:

– Turkey partly belongs to Europe by its geography [geography]

– Turkey partly belongs to Europe by its history [history]

– Turkey’s accession to the EU would strengthen the security in this region [security]

– Turkey’s accession to the EU would favour the mutual comprehension of European and Muslim values [comprehension][10]

– The cultural differences between Turkey and the EU Member States are too significant to allow for this accession [cultural differences]

– Turkey’s accession would favour the rejuvenation of an ageing European population [rejuvenation]

– Turkey’s joining could risk favouring immigration to more developed countries in the EU [immigration]

– To join the EU in about 10 years, Turkey will have to respect systematically Human Rights [human rights][11]

– To join the EU in about 10 years, Turkey will have to significantly improve the state of its economy [economy].

Some of the items in question A45 can be easily matched with the hypotheses formulated in the preceding section. As such, ‘security’, ‘rejuvenation’ and ‘economy’ can be positively related to the instrumental understanding of Turkey’s membership (H1), while ‘immigration’ will be negatively related. As the correlation among these items is statistically significant, they have been included within a single scale that we use for further analysis, thus summarising the information.[12]

If attitudes towards Turkey are based on feelings of identity, we expect higher percentages of support among those who think that Turkey belongs to Europe because of its geography and its history than among citizens who do not share this view (H2). As the correlation among these items is statistically significant, they also have been included within a single scale for further analysis and summary.[13]

Finally, if attitudes towards Turkey are grounded on the post-national understanding of Turkey and the EU as a community sharing universal values, we expect ‘comprehension’ and ‘human rights’ to be positively correlated with support for Turkey’s membership, and ‘cultural differences’ to be negatively correlated (H3). Among these three items, however, the view on human rights is not correlated with comprehension and cultural differences. Therefore, the scale measuring identity has included only the last two items (comprehension and cultural differences).[14]

It is worth noting that the importance of each of these dimensions varies among countries (see Table A2 in Appendix A). At the EU-25 level, we find the identity dimension to be the most important one, with an average mean of 3.1 on a 1–5 scale; it is followed by the instrumental dimension (2.9) and the post-national one (2.7). This finding means that judgements about Turkey, and hence levels of support for its accession to the EU, are more likely to be based on elements connected with culture, history and geography than with costs/benefits or universal principles such as democracy and human rights.

Nevertheless, behind the aggregate picture at the EU-25 level, significant differences exist. In particular, the identity dimension is below this average in Cyprus (2.0), Greece (2.2), France (2.7), West Germany (2.8), Austria (2.8), Denmark (2.9), the Netherlands (2.9), Belgium (3.0) and Luxembourg (3.0). The instrumental dimension is below the EU average in Cyprus (2.6), Greece (2.6), Austria (2.7), West Germany (2.8), France (2.8) the Slovak Republic (2.8) and the Czech Republic (2.8). The post-national dimension is also below the EU average in Austria (2.0), Greece (2.2), Luxembourg (2.3), Cyprus (2.4), West Germany (2.4) and France (2.5).

The fact that the subset of countries in which citizens’ attitudes towards Turkey are predominantly negative are also those in which the three dimensions are below the EU average means that negative attitudes do not have a clear identity, instrumental or post-national component that can be easily isolated from the others. It suggests that citizens’ latent negative attitudes towards Turkey’s membership are manifested in negative assessments about accession consequences.

It is also important to highlight that in none of the countries is the post-national attitudinal dimension more important than the identity or the instrumental dimension. In Cyprus, Greece, France, West Germany, Austria, Denmark and the Netherlands the instrumental dimension is the most important one in defining citizens’ attitudes towards Turkey’s membership; while in Belgium, Luxembourg, Italy, East Germany, Latvia, the Czech Republic, Slovenia, Lithuania, Northern Ireland, Finland, the Slovak Republic, Ireland, Sweden, Hungary and Poland the identity dimension is the most important one. In Great Britain, Portugal and Spain, the identity and instrumental dimensions have similar importance, both being above the post-national one.

A preliminary analysis using these three dimensions shows that all the dimensions are correlated with public assent for Turkey’s membership (Table 2). Yet a post-national understanding of the Union as a community based on universal rights (H3) shows a stronger correlation with support for Turkey’s membership than the instrumental understanding of advantages to be derived from accession (H1) or the feeling that Turkey belongs to Europe (H2). Among the three dimensions, the last one exhibits the weakest correlation with endorsement of Turkey’s membership. Thus, the fact that the least-important attitudinal dimension among EU citizens is the one in which correlation with public support for Turkey’s accession is strongest offers us a first hint about why public support is so low.

Table 2. Correlation between support for Turkey’s membership and attitudinal dimensions towards Turkey’s membership

Support for Turkey’s membershipPost-national attitudesInstrumental attitudesIdentity attitudes
Support for Turkey’s membershipPearson’s correlation1.611(**).515(**).430(**)
Sig. (bilateral)0.0000.0000.000

** Correlation is statistically significant at the .001 level (bilateral).
Support for membership is recoded as a dichotomous variable. Attitudinal dimensions are additive scales (1–5).
Source: EB 64.2 (2005)

In other words, the more the identity dimension figures in public debate and attitudes towards Turkey, the more probable it is that support will be low. Conversely, the more public debate and attitudes towards Turkey are based on the shared principles on which the Union is founded as expressed in TEU Art. 6.1, the more likely it is that support for accession will be high. Therefore, the more citizens’ cultural identities and attachments prevail, leading to an understanding of Europe as a community of cultural (and Christian?) values incompatible with Muslim ones, the less likely it is that support for Turkey’s membership will predominate.

If we use contingency tables to explore the relation between support for Turkey and individual items (Table 3 and Appendix B), we see that those who think that Turkey belongs to Europe owing to its geography or its history (H2) have an 85% probability of supporting Turkey’s membership. This probability is 35 points higher than that for those who do not think that Turkey belongs to Europe.

The likelihood that those citizens who share the opinion that Turkey’s membership will improve security in the area (H1) would also be those supporting Turkey’s accession is 97%, 44 points higher than that for those who do not share this view. Citizens who think Turkey’s membership will rejuvenate the EU’s ageing population would endorse it with a probability of 85%, while among those who fear increasing immigration, the probability of favouring Turkey’s membership is only 36%, 16 points lower than that among citizens who do not fear immigration. By contrast, evaluations of the Turkish economy, i.e. the wealth differential between the EU and Turkey, are not relevant (i.e. not statistically significant).

Table 3. Probabilities of supporting Turkey’s accession depending on attitudes towards Turkey’s membership

Odds ratioProbability
Geography5.9485% (+35%)
History5.585% (+35%)
Security14.897% (+44%)
Comprehension14.797% (+44%)
Immigration0.5736% (-14%)
Rejuvenation5.785% (+35)
Cultural differences0.1412% (-36%)
Human rights2.4770% (+20)

Source: EB 64.2 (2005).

Finally, citizens who think Turkey’s membership will favour mutual comprehension between Europe and Islam are 97% likely to support it, 44 points higher than that for those who do not share this opinion. Conversely, among those who think the cultural differences are just too large to allow for Turkey’s membership, the probability of supporting it is only 12%, or 36 points lower than that among citizens who do not hold this view. The likelihood that citizens who think Turkey must respect human rights before entering the Union are also those who would support membership is 70%, or 20 points higher than that among those who do not consider this aspect important.

To understand the differences in support for Turkey’s membership, we start by exploring the varying degrees of importance attached to these dimensions in each country. As shown in Table A1 (see Appendix A), the identity dimension is the most crucial and is also the one that differs the most among countries, with divergences as much as 1.5 points (on a 1–5 scale) in the degree of importance. Among those countries/regions in which the identity dimension is more significant, we find Poland, Hungary, Sweden, Ireland, the Slovak Republic and Finland. At the other extreme, we find Cyprus, Greece, France, West Germany, Austria and Denmark (see Figure 3).

The second most important dimension is the instrumental one, which is similarly relevant for all member states, with small differences (0.5 points) in the degree of significance among individual countries/regions. Among those that attach more importance to this dimension, we find Sweden, Northern Ireland, Denmark, Poland, Ireland and Spain; at the other extreme are Cyprus, Austria, Greece, the Slovak Republic, East Germany and the Czech Republic (see Figure 4).

Finally, we find that the post-national dimension is the least important one in the attitudes of citizens towards Turkey’s accession, although in the case of this dimension we are able to discriminate among countries, with differences of 1 point between the extremes (on a 1–5 scale). Among those countries/regions that attribute more importance to this post-national dimension are Northern Ireland, Sweden, Poland, the Netherlands, Great Britain and Spain; at the other extreme are Austria, Greece, Luxembourg, West Germany, Cyprus and Estonia (see Figure 5).

Figure 3. Mean importance of the identity dimension by country

Figure 4. Mean importance of the instrumental dimension by country

Figure 5. Mean importance of the post-national dimension by country

Looking in detail at the percentages of people who hold different attitudes towards Turkey, we see that at the EU-25 level (see Figure 6 and Table 4; see also Appendix C for the figure representing individual countries), there is a positive consensus about the perception that this country belongs to Europe because of its geography. Public opinion is divided, however, on the consideration of Turkey being part of Europe by virtue of its history. In 10 of the countries/regions, the negative perceptions are predominant (Belgium, Denmark, West Germany, East Germany, Greece, France, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Cyprus and the Czech Republic). In eight areas, the opinion that Turkey belongs to Europe also owing to its history is held by the majority (Spain, Ireland, Austria, Sweden, Northern Ireland, Estonia, Hungary, Poland and the Slovak Republic). In another eight countries, public opinion is fairly split between those who think that Turkey is part of Europe because of its history and those who do not share this perception (Finland, Italy, Portugal, Great Britain, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta and Slovenia).

Figure 6. Net agreement on each aspect of attitude towards Turkey’s membership (EU-25)

Source: EB64.2 (2005).

As regards the aspects related to the instrumental dimension, a majority of EU citizens do not believe that Turkey’s membership will enhance security in the area or rejuvenate the EU’s ageing population. Yet on the former issue, at the individual country/regional level citizens are divided about the impact of Turkey’s membership on security. This is the case in Denmark, Spain, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, Great Britain and Estonia. Only in Sweden, Northern Ireland and Poland are the percentages of those who hold this opinion larger than those who do not agree with this interpretation.

Table 4. Net agreement on each aspect of attitude towards Turkey’s membership, by country

GeographyHistorySecurityComprehensionCultural differencesRejuvenationImmigrationHuman rightsEconomy
West Germany4-28-38-1250-32548878
East Germany29-20-34-2432-40608678
Great Britain28-4004-22368874
Northern Ireland42341230-214629482
Czech Republic32-10-24-2432-52568878
EU-25 average30.2-3.0-16.2-12.930.0-26.150.985.478.5

Source: EB 64.2 (2005)

There is less division among member states regarding the view that Turkey’s membership will not be very important for the rejuvenation of the EU’s population. Europeans are split in West Germany and Ireland alone; only in Spain, Northern Ireland and Malta do we find larger percentages of those who think that the impact of Turkey’s membership will be positive on this issue. Most EU citizens also agree that Turkey’s membership will increase immigration to more developed EU countries: the consensus is positive in all countries, only being weaker in Luxembourg.

There are virtually no divisions among member states concerning their understanding that Turkey will have to improve its economy substantially before it can join the Union (we have already commented on the significance of this aspect).

Finally, on the indicators of post-national attitudes, Figure 6 shows that the consensus is negative regarding the perception that Turkey’s membership will have a positive effect on mutual cultural understanding. In fact, most Europeans think that the cultural differences are too large to allow for Turkey’s accession. Concerning mutual comprehension, public opinion is divided in Spain, Finland, Ireland, the Netherlands, Portugal, Great Britain and Malta; only in Sweden and Poland is there a majority of citizens who think that Turkey’s membership will have a positive impact on mutual understanding. There are almost no differences among national public opinions on their view that the cultural differences are still too large. Only in the Netherlands, Great Britain and Northern Ireland are citizens split over this topic. There are virtually no divisions among member states regarding their understanding that Turkey will have to respect human rights before it can join the Union (although again, we must note that there are problems with this item in QA45).

Having examined the different dimensions and the importance given to them across the EU member states, we next consider the extent to which these dimensions explain support for Turkey’s membership. In other words, which of these dimensions or aspects (or both) are relevant for explaining support for Turkey’s membership in each country?

A logistic regression with these three dimensions as independent variables shows that they are quite relevant (Table 5). On average, they explain 58% of the variance in public support for Turkey’s enlargement (60% in the EU-15 member states and 52% in the NMS-10). The dimensions are also relevant for the explanation of public assent in each individual country, and while a little less explicative in the NMS-10, they are still pertinent.

As the correlation analysis suggests, the post-national dimension is the most important one for explaining support for Turkey’s membership, followed by the instrumental one and then the identity dimension in last place. Although this sequence is not maintained in all of the countries, in almost all of them the identity dimension comes last when attempting to clarify public support for membership (the only exception being Denmark). The instrumental dimension is the most important one, however, in the following countries: Greece, Spain, Ireland, Austria, Portugal, Great Britain, Cyprus, Hungary, Lithuania, the Slovak Republic and Slovenia (see also Table 6).

Table 5. Logistic regression: Impact of attitudinal dimensions on support for Turkey’s membership

Great BritainNorthern IrelandCyprusCzech RepublicEstoniaHungaryLatviaLithuaniaMalta

Odds ratios are reported instead of the beta coefficient. The odds ratios are comparable and can be translated into probabilities: (Odds)/(Odds+1).
Source: EB 64.2 (2005)

Table 6. Logistic regression: Impact of individual items in QA45 on support for Turkey’s membership

Cultural differences.177***.168***.225***.103***.095***.094***.125***.195***.222***
Human rights1.201***ns1.470*nsnsnsnsnsns
Cultural differences.178***.132***.140***.193***.063***.170***.104***ns.165***
Human rightsnsnsnsnsnsns8.199*nsns

Table 6. Continued

Great BritainNorthern IrelandCyprusCzech RepublicEstoniaHungryLatviaLithuaniaMalta
Cultural differences.297***ns.273***.114***.281***.175***ns.238**
Human rightsnsns7.455***nsnsns4.651*ns
Cultural differences.155***.561*.187***
Human rightsns2.378*ns

Odds ratios are reported instead of the beta coefficient. The odds ratios are comparable and can be translated into probabilities: (Odds)/(Odds+1).
Source: EB 64.2 (2005)


Having examined the available empirical evidence on attitudes towards Turkey’s membership of the EU, we can offer the following conclusions.

· First, support for Turkish membership is not only low, it is also declining. Whereas accession candidates from the Western Balkans have benefited from increased public support for enlargement as a consequence of the 2004 enlargement Turkey has been an exception to this trend. Turkish membership is proving to be the least popular among recent EU enlargement processes.

· Second, we show that public support for Turkish membership can be understood along three different dimensions: instrumental, identitarian and post-national (or civic). In each of these dimensions, citizens may find different arguments for being for or against Turkey’s accession. We show that the publics in different EU member states and regions mix the three dimensions in varying ways.

· Third, we find that supporters for Turkish accession are mostly counted among the ranks of those having a post-national vision of the EU. Conversely, those against Turkish accession are more likely to be so departing from identity-related arguments. We also find that the utilitarian dimension is the least important of the three.

The policy implications of our findings can be summarised as follows:

· First, since public support for enlargement is increasingly considered a key variable in determining the EU’s ‘absorption capacity’, it seems evident that policy-makers need to pay more attention not only to the accession negotiations themselves, but also to the elements determining public support for or opposition to Turkish accession.

· Second, given that public opinion remains structured along national lines, it does not easily allow for the emergence of a much-needed EU-wide debate. The debate about Turkey’s accession is and will continue to be a constitutive debate about European identity and values. Yet the weakness of the European public sphere implies that consensus on Turkey’s membership will be difficult to reach. A strategy to ‘Europeanise’ the national debates on Turkey’s membership may thus be crucial for both those in favour and those against. But because accession will be dealt with by unanimity, and taking into account that negative sentiments prevail in a good number of countries, this strategy is more critical for the former than for the latter.

· Third, since the instrumental dimension is not central to the debate, a strategy highlighting the likely benefits of Turkish membership may hardly impress those already against Turkey’s accession. With accession lying a decade ahead, the sorts of conclusions we may derive about the likely impact of membership on budgets, the movement of people, etc., will at best be probabilistic and never conclusive. Therefore, we suggest that those in favour of Turkish membership should be more ready to show that there are more reasons to support accession despite its likely costs and not merely because of its benefits.

As has been the case with preceding enlargement rounds, the net balance of membership for both the EU and the acceding countries can only be properly assessed 20 years after accession, once the full benefits have been realised. Spain is a good case in point (Piedrafita et al., 2006). Had the decision on Spanish membership been taken based on the (overwhelmingly negative) assessment of the costs, Spain would never have become a member state.

Detailed impact assessments and prospective studies about the likely costs and benefits of Turkish membership are of course an essential tool for policy-makers to prepare both parties (the EU and Turkey) for accession. Still, as membership will not solely be settled on cost/benefit grounds, policy-makers should pay more attention to the way the debate about EU values is framed. Thus, those in favour of Turkish accession may do well to devote more time and energy to try to frame the debate in post-national terms.

The more the discourse on Turkey is played along identity lines, as we have argued, the more likely it is that support will remain low. Conversely, the more the discussion about Turkey is held and justified along post-national arguments, the more likely it is that support will be high. Therefore, whether those against Turkish accession tend to frame the debate in terms of European identity, those in favour of Turkey’s membership should be more ready to justify their position in terms of the European values embodied in TEU Arts. 49 and 6.1, and the need to treat accession candidates objectively and according to the same standards. Jon Elster (1991) has defined “arguing” as the act of “engaging in communication for the purpose of persuading an opponent, i.e. to make [the] other change beliefs about factual or normative matters”. To us, it is evident that Turkish membership needs more arguing and maybe a bit less bargaining.

Antonia M. Ruiz-Jiménez
Professor at Universidad Pablo Olavide (Seville)

José I. Torreblanca
Senior Analyst, Europe, Elcano Royal Institute and Professor at UNED University


Beetham, D. and C. Lord (1998), Legitimacy and the European Union, New York, NY: Logman.

Carey, S. (2002), “Undivided loyalties: Is national identity an obstacle to European integration?”, European Union Politics, Vol. 3, No. 4, pp. 387-413.

Centre for European Reform (2006), Enlargement Two Years on: Economic Success or Political Failure?, Briefing paper for the Confederation of Danish Industries and the Central Organization of Industrial Employees in Denmark, Centre for European Reform, London, April.

Christin, T. and A. Trechsel (2002), “Joining the EU? Explaining public opinion in Switzerland”, European Union Politics, Vol. 3, No. 4, pp. 415-43.

Chryssochoou, D.N. (2001), Towards a civic conception of the European polity, ESRC “One Europe or Several?” Programme Working Paper No. 33/01, Economic Social and Research Council, London.

Diez-Medrano, J. (2003), Framing Europe: Attitudes to European integration in Germany, Spain, and the United Kingdom, Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

Eichenberg, R. and R. Dalton (1993), “Europeans and the European Community: The dynamics of public support for European integration”, International Organization, Vol. 47, No. 4, pp. 507-34.

Elster, J. (1991), “Arguing and Bargaining in the Federal Convention and the Assemblée Constituante”, Working Paper No. 4, Center for the Study of Constitutionalism in Eastern Europe, University of Chicago Law School.

Eriksen, E.O. (2003), “Integration and the quest for consensus: On the micro-foundations of supranationalism”, in European governance, deliberation and the quest for democratisation, E.O. Eriksen, C. Joerges and J. Neyer (eds), ARENA Report No. 2/03, Advanced Research on the Europeanisation of the Nation State, University of Oslo.

European Commission (2006a), Enlargement Two Years After: An Economic Evaluation, Occasional Paper No. 24, Directorate-General for Economic and Financial Affairs, Brussels, May.

–––––––––– (2006b), Report on the Functioning of the Transitional Arrangements set out in the 2003 Accession Treaty (Period 1 May 2004 – 30 April 2006), Draft, COM(2006), IP/06/130, European Commission, Brussels, 8 November.

Franklin, M., M. Marsh and L. McLaren (1994), “Uncorking the bottle: Popular opposition to European unification in the wake of Maastricht”, Journal of Common Market Studies, Vol. 32, No. 4, p. 455.

Friis, L. (1998), “‘The End of the Beginning’ of Eastern Enlargement: The Luxembourg Summit and Agenda-Setting”, European Integration Online Papers, Vol. 2, No. 7.

Gabel, M. (1998), Interest and integration: Market liberalization, public opinion and European Union, Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.

Gabel, M. and H.D. Palmer (1995), “Understanding Variation in Public Support for the European Integration”, European Journal of Political Research, Vol. 27, No. 1, pp. 3-19.

Hooghe, L. and G. Marks (2004), “Does identity or economic rationality drive public opinion on European integration?”, Political Science Online,July (retrieved from

Kaltenthaler, K.C. and C. Anderson (2001), “Europeans and Their Money: Explaining Public Support for the European Currency”, European Journal of Political Research, Vol. 40, No. 2, pp. 347-61.

Lundgren, A. (2002), “The limits of enlargement”, Paper prepared for the ARENA Conference on “Democracy and European Governance”, held in Oslo on 4-5 March 2002.

March, J. and J. P. Olsen (1989), Rediscovering institutions: The organizational basis of politics, New York, NY: Free Press.

Moravcsik, A. and M.A. Vachudova (2003), National interest, state power and the EU enlargement, Working Paper No. 97, Center for European Studies, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA.

Olsen, J.P. (1996), Europeanization and Nation-State Dynamics, ARENA Report No. 96/3, Advanced Research on the Europeanisation of the Nation State, University of Oslo, pp. 245-85.

Piedrafita, S. and J.I. Torreblanca (2005), “The three logics of EU enlargement: Interest, identities and arguments”, Politique Européene,15, pp. 25-69.

Piedrafita, S., F. Steinberg and J.I. Torreblanca (2006), Twenty years of Spain’s membership in the EU (1986-2006), Elcano Royal Institute for International Affairs, Madrid.

Ricard-Nihoul, G. (2005), « Le “non” français du 29 mai 2005: comprendre, agir », Etudes et Recherches No. 44,Notre Europe, Paris, 18 October.

Ruiz Jiménez, A., J. Górnial, A. Kosic, P. Kiss and M. Kandulla (2004), “European and national identities in the EU’s old and new Member States: Ethnic, civic, instrumental and symbolic components”, European Integration Online Papers, Vol. 8, No. 11.

Sánchez-Cuenca, I. (2000), “The Political Basis of Support for European Integration”, European Union Politics, Vol. 1, No. 2, pp. 147-71.

Schimmelfenning, F. (2001), “The community trap: Liberal norms, rhetorical action, and the Eastern enlargement of the European Union”, International Organization, Vol. 55, No. 1, pp. 47-80.

Sitter, N. (2001), “The politics of opposition and European integration in Scandinavia: Euro-scepticism a government-opposition dynamic?”, West European Politics, Vol. 24, No. 4, pp. 22-39.

Sjursen, H. (2004), Enlargement in perspective, ARENA Report 2/05, Proceedings for the CIDEL Workshop held in Avila, May 2004, Advanced Research on the Europeanisation of the Nation State, University of Oslo.

–––––––––– (ed.) (2002), Enlargement and the finality of the EU, ARENA Report 7/02, Advanced Research on the Europeanisation of the Nation State, University of Oslo.

–––––––––– (ed.) (2007), Questioning EU enlargement: Europe in search of identity, Abingdon, Oxfordshire: Routledge.

Van der Veen, A.M. (2002), “Determinants of European identity: A preliminary investigation using Eurobarometer data” (retrieved from

Appendix A. Tables

Table A1. Historical trends: Net support for Turkey’s membership among EU-15 member states (supporters minus contesters)

EB 54.1 (2000)EB 56.2 (2001)EB 57.1 (2002)EB 58.1
United Kingdom-2714

Sources: Eurobarometer surveys 54.1 (2000), 56.2 (2001), 57.1 (2002) and 58.1 (2002).

Table A2. Mean importance of the post-national, instrumental and identitarian dimensions in support for Turkey’s membership, by country (1–5 scale)

Post-national attitudesInstrumental attitudesIdentity
West Germany2.42.82.8
Great Britain2.93.13.1
East Germany2.62.83.1

Table A2. Continued

Czech Republic2.62.83.1
Northern Ireland3.13.13.3
Average mean2.72.93.1

All differences are statistically significant at the 0.005 level (ANOVA).
Source: Authors’ calculations based on Eurobarometer 64.2 (2005).

Appendix B. Summary of SPSS Outputs (Contingency Tables)

Table B1. Country * Q44_member_Turkey01

% of country62.437.6100
Adjusted residuals3.5-3.5
% of country64.535.5100
Adjusted residuals4.7-4.7
West GermanyCount767197964
% of country79.620.4100
Adjusted residuals14.4-14.4
East GermanyCount350139489
% of country71.628.4100
Adjusted residuals6.5-6.5
% of country79.720.3100
Adjusted residuals14.6-14.6
% of country44.655.4100
Adjusted residuals-7.07.0
% of country67.732.3100
Adjusted residuals6.8-6.8
% of country76.523.5100
Adjusted residuals11.9-11.9
% of country54.545.5100
Adjusted residuals-1.41.4
% of country67.932.1100
Adjusted residuals6.5-6.5

Table B1. Continued

% of country79.720.3100
Adjusted residuals10.1-10.1
% of country55.844.2100
Adjusted residuals-0.80.8
% of country88.012.0100
Adjusted residuals19.3-19.3
% of country48.551.5100
Adjusted residuals-4.94.9
% of country46.253.8100
Adjusted residuals-6.86.8
Great BritainCount432383815
% of country53.047.0100
Adjusted residuals-2.42.4
Northern IrelandCount91130221
% of country41.258.8100
Adjusted residuals-4.84.8
% of country83.616.4100
Adjusted residuals11.9-11.9
Czech RepublicCount6643501.014
% of country65.534.5100
Adjusted residuals5.5-5.5
% of country66.333.7100
Adjusted residuals5.4-5.4
% of country51.148.9100
Adjusted residuals-3.63.6
% of country62.137.9100
Adjusted residuals3.0-3.0

Table B1. Continued

% of country65.334.7100
Adjusted residuals4.7-4.7
% of country50.849.2100
Adjusted residuals-2.62.6
% of country46.953.1100
Adjusted residuals-5.85.8
% of country66.633.4100
Adjusted residuals6.0-6.0
% of country47.552.5100
Adjusted residuals-6.26.2

X2 = 36664***
Phi = .381***
V Cramer = .381***
Source: Author’s calculations.

Table B2. Q45_Tk_geography01 * Q44_member_Turkey01

% of row85.714.3100
Adjusted residuals51.2-51.2
% of row50.149.9100
Adjusted residuals-51.251.2
% of row64.235.8100

X2 = 2618.271***
Phi = .363***
V Cramer = .363***
Source: Author’s calculations.

Table B3. Q45_Tk_history01 * Q44_member_Turkey01

% of row81.918.1100
Adjusted residuals53.5-53.5
% of row45.15.9100
Adjusted residuals-53.553.5
% of row64.835.2100

X2 = 2857.673***
Phi = .384***
V Cramer = .384***
Source: Author’s calculations.

Table B4. Q45_Tk_security01 * Q44_member_Turkey01

% of row87.912.1100
Adjusted residuals78.4-78.4
% of row33.067.0100
Adjusted residuals-78.478.4
% of row64.935.1100

X2 = 6151.610***
Phi = .568***
V Cramer = .568***
Source: Author’s calculations.

Table B5. Q45_Tk_comprehension01 * Q44_member_Turkey01

% of row88.611.4100
Adjusted residuals78.0-78.0
% of row34.565.5100
Adjusted residuals-78.078.0
% of row64.935.1100

X2 = 6086.152***
Phi = .562***
V Cramer = .562***
Source: Author’s calculations.

Table B6. Q45_Tk_diff_cult01 * Q44_member_Turkey01

% of row38.062.0100
Adjusted residuals-60.960.9
% of row81.118.9100
Adjusted residuals60.9-60.9
% of row65.634.4100

X2 = 3711.720***
Phi = -.435***
V Cramer = .435***
Source: Author’s calculations.

Table B7. Q45_Tk_rejuvenation01 * Q44_member_Turkey01

% of row80.219.8100
Adjusted residuals52.6-52.6
% of row41.658.4100
Adjusted residuals-52.652.6
% of row66.233.8100

X2 = 2769.717***
Phi = .392***
V Cramer = .392***
Source: Author’s calculations.

Table B8. Q45_Tk_immigration01 * Q44_member_Turkey01

% of row55.844.2100
Adjusted residuals-16.616.6
% of row68.631.4100
Adjusted residuals16.6-16.6
% of row65.234.8100

X2 = 275.229***
Phi = -.119***
V Cramer = .119
Source: Author’s calculations.

Table B9. Q45_Tk_human_rights01 * Q44_member_Turkey01

% of row80.119.9100
Adjusted residuals13.4-13.4
% of row62.937.1100
Adjusted residuals-13.413.4
% of row64.235.8100

X2 = 179.910***
Phi = .094***
V Cramer = .094***
Source: Author’s calculations.

Table B10. Q45_Tk_economy01 * Q44_member_Turkey01

% of row65.634.4100
Adjusted residuals1.3-1.3
% of row64.335.7100
Adjusted residuals-1.31.3
% of row64.435.6100

X2 = 1.591 ns
Phi = .009 ns
V Cramer = .009 ns
Source: Author’s calculations.

Appendix C. Figures

Figure C1. Net support for Turkey in current member states (supporters minus contesters)

Source: Eurobarometer 64.2 (2005).

Figure C2. Net importance of single items of attitude towards Turkey’s membership (supporters minus contesters) in Belgium

Source: Eurobarometer 64.2 (2005).

Figure C3. Net importance of single items of attitude towards Turkey’s membership (supporters minus contesters) in Finland

Source: Eurobarometer 64.2 (2005).

Figure C4. Net importance of single items of attitude towards Turkey’s membership (supporters minus contesters) in Denmark

Source: Eurobarometer 64.2 (2005).

Figure C5. Net importance of single items of attitude towards Turkey’s membership (supporters minus contesters) in France

Source: Eurobarometer 64.2 (2005).

Figure C6. Net importance of single items of attitude towards Turkey’s membership (supporters minus contesters) in West Germany

Source: Eurobarometer 64.2 (2005).

Figure C7. Net importance of single items of attitude towards Turkey’s membership (supporters minus contesters) in Ireland

Source: Eurobarometer 64.2 (2005).

Figure C8. Net importance of single items of attitude towards Turkey’s membership (supporters minus contesters) in East Germany

Source: Eurobarometer 64.2 (2005).

Figure C9. Net importance of single items of attitude towards Turkey’s membership (supporters minus contesters) in Italy

Source: Eurobarometer 64.2 (2005).

Figure C10. Net importance of single items of attitude towards Turkey’s membership (supporters minus contesters) in Spain

Source: Eurobarometer 64.2 (2005).

Figure C11. Net importance of single items of attitude towards Turkey’s membership (supporters minus contesters) in Luxembourg

Source: Eurobarometer 64.2 (2005).

Figure C12. Net importance of single items of attitude towards Turkey’s membership (supporters minus contesters) in Greece

Source: Eurobarometer 64.2 (2005).

Figure C13. Net importance of single items of attitude towards Turkey’s membership (supporters minus contesters) in the Netherlands

Source: Eurobarometer 64.2 (2005).

Figure C14. Net importance of single items of attitude towards Turkey’s membership (supporters minus contesters) in Austria

Source: Eurobarometer 64.2 (2005).

Figure C15. Net importance of single items of attitude towards Turkey’s membership (supporters minus contesters) in the Czech Republic

Source: Eurobarometer 64.2 (2005).

Figure C16. Net importance of single items of attitude towards Turkey’s membership (supporters minus contesters) in Portugal

Source: Eurobarometer 64.2 (2005).

Figure C17. Net importance of single items of attitude towards Turkey’s membership (supporters minus contesters) in Estonia

Source: Eurobarometer 64.2 (2005).

Figure C18. Net importance of single items of attitude towards Turkey’s membership (supporters minus contesters) in Sweden

Source: Eurobarometer 64.2 (2005).

Figure C19. Net importance of single items of attitude towards Turkey’s membership (supporters minus contesters) in Hungary

Source: Eurobarometer 64.2 (2005).

Figure C20. Net importance of single items of attitude towards Turkey’s membership (supporters minus contesters) in Great Britain

Source: Eurobarometer 64.2 (2005).

Figure C21. Net importance of single items of attitude towards Turkey’s membership (supporters minus contesters) in Latvia

Source: Eurobarometer 64.2 (2005).

Figure C22. Net importance of single items of attitude towards Turkey’s membership (supporters minus contesters) in Northern Ireland

Source: Eurobarometer 64.2 (2005).

Figure C23. Net importance of single items of attitude towards Turkey’s membership (supporters minus contesters) in Lithuania

Source: Eurobarometer 64.2 (2005).

Figure C24. Net importance of single items of attitude towards Turkey’s membership (supporters minus contesters) in Cyprus

Source: Eurobarometer 64.2 (2005).

Figure C25. Net importance of single items of attitude towards Turkey’s membership (supporters minus contesters) in Malta

Source: Eurobarometer 64.2 (2005).

Figure C26. Net importance of single items of attitude towards Turkey’s membership (supporters minus contesters) in Poland

Source: Eurobarometer 64.2 (2005).

Figure C27. Net importance of single items of attitude towards Turkey’s membership (supporters minus contesters) in Slovakia

Source: Eurobarometer 64.2 (2005).

Figure C28. Net importance of single items of attitude towards Turkey’s membership (supporters minus contesters) in Slovenia

Source: Eurobarometer 64.2 (2005).

[1] This paper was published on 3 May 2007 at CEPS’ website in Brussels as a contribution of Elcano Royal Institute to the EPIN network (European Policy Institutes Network). It can also be downloaded at . The authors wish to acknowledge CEPS for accepting this paper for publication and for their invaluable help in editing it.

[2] This Working Paper is part of the Project “EU-CONSENT – Wider Europe, Deeper Integration: Constructing Europe Network”, which is a Network of Excellence financed by the European Commission’s Sixth Framework Programme (CIT3-513416), and in which the UNED University in Madrid is a partner. The authors would like to thank the Juan de la Cierva Programme (Spain’s Ministry of Education), the Elcano Royal Institute for International Affairs and the Juan March Institute in Madrid for their support while carrying out this study. An earlier version of this paper was presented at the “Third Pan-European Conference on EU Politics” organised by the Standing Group on the European Union of the European Consortium for Political Research, held in Istanbul in September 2006. The authors also wish to thank the participants in that meeting for their comments as well as an anonymous reviewer from CEPS for his/her very helpful remarks. They additionally wish to acknowledge Helene Sjursen and the CIDEL Project team at ARENA (University of Oslo) for their work on EU enlargement. Unless otherwise indicated, the views expressed are attributable only to the authors in a personal capacity and not to any institution with which they are associated.

[3] See the special Flash Eurobarometer poll conducted two days after the referenda in France and the Netherlands (Eurobarometer 171, 2005, and Eurobarometer 127, 2005, respectively, pp. 19 and 15). The surveys show that in both countries the ‘no’ votes had more to do with domestic socio-economic issues than with identity questions or enlargement policies. See also the excellent study on this topic by G. Ricard-Nihoul (2005).

[4] See Gabel (1998), Eichenberg & Dalton (1993), Gabel & Palmer (1995), Kaltenthaler & Anderson (2001), Olsen (1996) and Sánchez-Cuenca (2000).

[5] See Moravcsik & Vachudova (2003), Piedrafita & Torreblanca (2005), pp. 32-33 and Sjursen (2002 and 2004).

[6] See for example the striking contrast between the official evaluations of the 2004 enlargement costs (which unanimously conclude that the benefits have clearly outweighed the costs), and dominant public perception, which is much more negative – e.g. European Commission (2006a and 2006b) and Centre for European Reform (2006).

[7] See Beetham & Lord (1998), Díez-Medrano (2003), Eichenberg & Dalton (1993) and Ruiz-Jiménez et al. (2004).

[8] European Council (1993), Presidency Conclusions of the Copenhagen European Council of 21-22 June, SN180/1/193, REV 1, Brussels).

[9] Support for enlargement figures are very often presented in absolute terms, which we think may be misleading. We propose to use a measure of “net” support, which combines supporters minus contesters. Values close to zero imply that public opinion is divided on the matter, while negative values imply that contesters outnumber supporters.

[10] We cannot but criticise the dichotomy between “Muslim” and “European” values introduced in the fourth item because it implicitly equals European and Christian values and excludes the possibility of combining Muslim and European values. It would be interesting to know whether this dichotomy was chosen on purpose or if it is proof of poor drafting and lack of efficient supervision mechanisms.

[11] This response and the subsequent response category differ in significant ways from the rest. First, they include a clear temporal frame in their formulation; second, they include conditional clauses for membership instead of foreseeable consequences of membership; third, the conditions included are highly desirable social ends. As a result of these particularities, these two categories of responses do not really offer much information about citizens’ beliefs and attitudes regarding the extent to which Turkey respects, will respect, or is able to either respect human rights or improve its economy.

[12] The alpha test of reliability is not very high, however (0.422). The economy is the aspect with the lower correlations, but we have kept it within the scale because a significant improvement in alpha reliability does not result from deleting any of the items. For the elaboration of the scale, we recoded the factor of immigration in a reverse order to indicate increasingly positive attitudes as with all the other items included in the scale. We argue that the items included in the scale meet theoretical and logic criteria and thus the reliability is stronger than the alpha test or reliability indicates. A factor analysis has not been helpful because it discriminates only between generally positive and negative attitudes towards Turkey’s accession.

[13] The alpha test of reliability is 0.696; no significant improvement results from deleting any of the elements from the scale.

[14] The alpha test of reliability is only -0.110 for the scale, including the three items. If the aspect of human rights is excluded, the alpha test of reliability including comprehension and cultural differences is -0.658; no significant improvement results from deleting any of the elements from the scale. For the elaboration of the scale, we recoded cultural differences in a reverse order to indicate increasingly positive attitudes as with all the other items included in the scale. We have already commented on the particularities of responses on the categories of human rights and the economy. Owing to their specific features, these two categories tend to load together in exploratory factor analysis, independent of the number of dimensions considered. In fact, the alpha test of reliability between economy and human rights results in a figure of 0.708.

Antonía María Ruiz Jiménez

Written by Antonía María Ruiz Jiménez

José Ignacio Torreblanca

Written by José Ignacio Torreblanca