EU Enlargement, Conditionality, and the Protection of Christian Minorities in Turkey
Keywords:EU conditionality, EU accession, Turkey, minority rights, Armenian Orthodox, Greek Orthodox
AbstractTurkey has had aspirations to join the European Union (EU) and be part of Europe since 1958. The most recent three EU enlargement rounds in 2004, 2007, and 2013 included most Eastern European countries and kept Turkey aside. Turkey has to comply with numerous enlargement conditionalities imposed by the EU to obtain the status of potential membership eligibility. Among these conditionalities are the Copenhagen criteria, which include but are not limited to the respect of minority rights as an inseparable part of Copenhagen's political criterion. This essay discusses the respect of minority rights in Turkey as a conditionality for its EU accession and focuses on the non-Muslim Christian minorities, namely Armenian Orthodox and Greek Orthodox minorities. The findings of this essay present and demonstrate the persecutions and intolerance these minorities have encountered and still encounter in their everyday life within Turkish society by the current Turkish government and its predecessors. As a result, this essay argues that Turkey does not comply with the 'respect of minority rights' requirement as prescribed by the Copenhagen criteria, a prerequisite for its EU accession. Consequently, Turkey is not eligible for EU accession from the 'respect of minority rights' perspective as it does not fulfill the latter condition.
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