Turkey-European Union relations: great expectations
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Since 1963 Turkey has been struggling to join the European Union (EU) . Despite strong Turkish aspirations, it appears unlikely that Turkey will be accepted as an EU member in the near future due to Turkey's shortcomings in its political, economic and social structure. Applications submitted prior to December 1999, were rejected by the EU Commission on the basis of poor democracy, human rights abuses, restrictions on political and cultural rights, a high level of influence of the Turkish military in political affairs, weak economy, and disputes with Greece and the Cyprus problem. The EU has certain criteria for membership: a functioning democracy, respect for rule of law, protection of minority and human rights, functioning market economy and settlement of disputes with other member states prior to accession. Turkey is seeking an immediate EU membership to improve economy and democratization, and take an undisputable place inside the European order and civilization. To this end, Turkey has to adopt the necessary reforms and regulations that will help strengthen democracy, economy and social and cultural rights in Turkey. However, Turkey's present domestic infrastructure does not provide a suitable situation to commence key radical political reforms in the immediate future.
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