Turkey's 40-year wait to begin the process of joining the European Union has finally ended.
Read a selection of your earlier comments on this subject.
The following comments reflect the balance of opinion we have received so far:
If Turkey gets access to the EU it will be another step to the creation of Eurabia: A political entity where the ideas and goals of the society are more in line with Islamic countries in the Arab world than our own traditions of secular society and freedom. We will move politically further away from our greatest allies (yes that is the US).
Gavin D, Manchester
Is Islam also a European religion? Yes as much as Christianity. They both came from the Middle East. Turkey is not the only European country with predominantly Muslim population (don't forget it is a secular state). Albania, Bosnia, Kosovo are predominantly Muslim countries too but are European and secular too.
Bardh B, Graz, Austria (Kosovar Albanian)
We wrote the history of Europe together. Let's write the bright future of it together, too.
Kubilay Atlay, Ankara, Turkey
To exclude Turkey from the EU would be to drive the most powerful and advanced Muslim nation onto the side of Islamic extremists. To admit her will mean many millions of Turks settling in Western Europe. This is a dilemma that will take Europe's best brains to solve.
Anthony Lavers, Adelaide, South Australia
Of course it should be allowed to join. As long as it meets all the criteria the same as other new members then there is no reasoned argument not to allow them to join. The only argument not to let them join appears to be religious bigotry!
Peter Hunneysett, Middlesbrough, England
Rejecting Turkey's bid for EU membership has nothing to do with religion. Bosnia, a Muslim country, will be admitted in the future to EU. Turkey simply does not meet the standards for an EU country.
Professor Arun Khanna, Indianapolis, USA
For centuries, Europe has fought to keep out invaders from Russia and Turkey. History shows only conflict - and Turkey also has a completely different culture. Besides, 99% of its territory is outside Europe. The Turks have made good progress in the last century - they should be rewarded by a close partnership, but not full membership.
Adrian Sindile, Durham, USA
Ninety eight percent of Turkey lies in Asia. That makes it an Asian country. Are we going to change the EU in the European Asian Union? To form a community, you need to have things in common. Otherwise it will only last as long as there is money. Why does Turkey want to be a member of the EU instead of a privileged trade partner? Perhaps it's for the subsidies that come with membership. Who is going to pay those subsidies? The ordinary European workers. Who is going to gain from Turkish membership? The Turks, and the European entrepreneurs and businessmen (who will be happy to profit from the low wages in Turkey). The majority of European citizens will lose twice. First they will have to pay taxes for the subsidies. And then they will lose jobs because factories will move to Turkey. In fact, they will be paying to get unemployed.
Karremans, Brussels, Belgium
The joining of Turkey could show that Europe is not merely a selective group, but a federation open to Middle Eastern nations. Turkey is a symbol of a secular state that respects moderate Islam. It is a beacon of hope for the Middle East, and its joining, even with some setbacks, are good in the long term for both Europe and the world.
Eliza Jimenez, Pittsburgh, PA
The EU is not able to give Turkey a clear cut answer, yes or no because the EU has no decision maker. It has 25!
Dominique, Paris France
What kind of message would the EU send to its neighbours and the world by adding exceptional conditions to Turkey becoming a legitimate member of the EU? The inclusion of Turkey in the EU will enhance us commercially, politically and demographically.
Zahri Vederen, Eastleigh, UK
I would prefer that current EU citizens vote on the issue (as well as voting when other nations are up for membership). This looks unlikely, since EU politicians seem to not trust their citizenry to do what's "right". Integrating with a poorer nation with a large population is a serious issue in many respects, religious and cultural problems aside.
As a Turk, I don't see the point of joining the EU. Economically speaking, the future belongs to the emerging eastern powers like China, India, Russia and also most probably a South American economic union. These powers will definitely institute a second polar against the US and the west in general, within the 10 to 20 year time frame. In my opinion, Turkey will get on the bandwagon with the east, while maintaining a good relationship with the west. Being a member would make Turkey an ever more dependant satellite of the west.
Matt, Montreal, Canada
Hopefully one day the people of Turkey will be asked their will on joining EU, and when the time comes, my vote will be No.
V. Ceylan, USA
Hasn't anyone noticed that Turkey believes that they should enter the EU on their own terms? Fair enough no nation wants to give away its sovereignty, but when trying to get into a body such as the EU shouldn't you at least meet the basic requirements?
Constantinos, Birmingham, UK
Who will decide whether a nation is European or not? Geographically, Turkey is European. Culturally, Turkey has contributed to the shaping European culture and politics at least 500 years.
Emrah, Istanbul, Turkey
Look at the borders of the Ottoman Empire (1300-1922) and see how much of the current EU was included within those borders - especially around the 1680s. It shaped much of our current Europe. How much of our history do we already owe to it?
Roger Oliver, Le Soler, France
Why is letting a Muslim nation, such as Turkey, into the EU such a big deal? Perhaps it's time that the Christians of the western world learn that Islam has many similarities to Christianity.
Megan DePerro, USA
It is untrue to say that EU citizens are objecting to Turkey's full membership because of Islamophobia or cultural racism! What people are afraid of is the effect on their economies from accepting such a huge and poor country of 69 million people. And most importantly the fact that such a country with a militarist attitude and lack of human rights will be one day be one of the most important EU decision makers in the EU because of its size and population. Imagine what kind of EU that would be!
Stella, Venice, Italy
Imagine the EU in 20 years time without Turkey. On a global scale, a mere Christian club full of geriatrics? How many of those people talking about "clash of civilizations" actually know the size of Muslim population in EU? Turkey will continue the reforms with or without EU, and has the willpower and the resources to do so.
M. Egilmez, Edinburgh, UK
Can someone tell why they should join? What benefit will Turkey bring to the ordinary European citizen?
Neil Small, Scotland
What about the Kurdish population in Turkey? There are more than 15 million Kurds living in Turkey yet they are not allowed to be represented in the national assembly. The fact is that Turkey is not a democratic country, and under current unitary governmental structure it will not be so.
Faruk, Pennsylvania, USA
Considering that accession is at least ten years away, there is a great deal of anguished hand wringing to come on this one. How many more crises will it take before Europeans reconsider the pervasive role the EU has come to play in their lives and say enough of this grandiose political scheme, let's go back to the original idea of a trade zone and leave it at that?
I don't really believe that Turkish people will be really interested in joining the union by the end of the negotiations. However, it is the best interests of my country to be attached to EU membership aspiration in order to sustain the current motivation.
Gokhan Saygili, Austin, TX, (Turkish)
I'm a Turk and a European. I'm ready to face anyone who claims the opposite. The EU is lucky if she can have Turkey on board.
Metin K., Istanbul, Turkey
The rhetoric of those opposed to Turkey joining the UK mainly rotates around the issues of immigration and culture. In my opinion in both respects Turkey adds to the power and diversity of the EU. It has a large, educated workforce that can benefit the EU tremendously. It also has a culture that values interpersonal and family relationships which is lacking in the EU. Putting bigotry and prejudice aside, Turkey in the EU is a win for everybody.
Housam Housami, Swindon, UK
No. Too big, too poor, too far east, and too quiet over its appalling human rights record.
Michael N, Birmingham, UK
I think potential Turkish accession would be very beneficial for EU but not so for Turkey. It has a much better future without becoming a member. EU is old, cumbersome, prejudiced, intolerant and lethargic. Turkey does not have much to learn from EU; from the USA or Singapore, maybe. I would discourage Turkey from getting pulled into the EU mess too deeply.
Tolga, NJ, USA
Since the Second World war, Turkey has done poorly - economically, politically, and socially - yet they have a richness of culture and history that are assets any right-thinking political region would be a fool to reject. Bringing Turkey into the EU would give Turkey an outlet in which to let their brilliant culture and dynamism to grow. What people fail to recognise is that Turkey wants to join the EU. It is a progressive nation. Don't stifle their aspirations.
No no no. Turkey, although it has changed massively in the past few decades, is still a country in which laws do not represent European ideals. The European Union was built on principles of human rights, cooperation and economic stability. Turkey doesn't respect the European Convention on Human Rights, it refuses to work with Cyprus (how can the EU work if one member refuses to acknowledge another), and it has the potential to economically cripple the Union until it's economy develops in a way that would support the increased competition that would result in a single market.
Alain Fennessy, Luxembourg
EU has been set up on such values as: respecting human rights and rules of democracy. So if one country declares it's willingness to join such an organization and share it's values why should we say no? Wouldn't it be reasonable to support it's efforts? As a EU member living in Turkey I support strongly Turkey's membership in EU. It would bring positive results for both sides.
Pawel Bardecki, Poland
As a Turkish and British citizen I would not want Turkey to even consider becoming a full EU member at this time, not under these conditions or double standards. The country has been an applicant since 1960!...and yet all we see is more requirements made, more demands laid on the table for Turkey to meet. Which other former candidate member has ever had so many constraints, conditions attached to its membership? These are nothing but games designed by the EU to get the most out of Turkey without ever granting it full membership.
Hakan Sal! ci, London
No, I don't think we should join the EU. I am concerned about the influx of foreign capital in my country that'll eventually kill all domestic private initiatives. I think Turkey must resist and work on the fundamentals. There are no short cuts to prosperity. This can be achieved only if Turkey continues to develop outside the EU in a partnership but not as a member. Former poor nations such as Greece and Portugal now enjoy better living standards but the cost has been their national independence and local industries.
Erkan Demir, Antalya, Turkey
Turkey should not be even granted the chance to be considered part of the EU. They do not follow the policies set forth be the EU and they will make matters worse.
Harout , Los Angeles, CA, USA
Turkey's membership to EU is an undergoing process since I was a kid. Turkey is part of Europe anyway. The only thing expected is a yes to join the club. However, while we are trying to join the union, EU is going in the direction of disintegration anyway.
Oz, Burke VA
If Turkey does not recognise one of Europe's members, in this case Cyprus, then they do not deserve joining the EU. This is where the EU has shown how weak it can be or in better words how unable is to take a clear decision on this issue. Turkey's entry to the EU will benefit both Cypriots and Turks but not recognising one of the members while keeping a large force on the island of Cyprus does not seem logical to me. The European Union has to do better than this.
Christos, Birmingham, UK
I think Turkey is a part of Europe. Turkey shows that Muslim people can live under modern rules and laws. If EU accepts Turkey, will show honour of EU and that EU not a Christian-Union, to the entire world.
Mutlu Tevfik Kocak, Istanbul, Turkey
Most of the westernized Muslims support Turkey's full membership all around the world. Turkey can be a perfect model for their countries, if she is allowed. The answer should be yes. I cannot see another choice for all over the world.
I don't think that Turkey should join the EU until it has recognized Cyprus, given full civil rights to its minorities and allowed other religions than Islam to be practiced officially. Above this, Turkey's economy won't be ready for decades to join the EU. Only 10 percent of Turks live in circumstances comparable to European standards.
Alexander Pilic, Berlin, Germany
What exactly has changed in Turkey as far as democracy and human rights so that the EU should let them become an equal member? On top of all Turkey is a black hole that sucks in money. Ask the Americans who are desperately trying to dump into Europe's lap.
Carlo DiPiatella, Pisa, Italia
No. Turkey belongs to Asia. Europe has geographical limits. Bravo to the Austrian government for their courage to speak out what so many Europeans have in mind.
Iraklis, Athens, Greece
The EU should make it a very clear condition that Turkey must end her 31-year occupation of another EU member state (Cyprus) before accession talks can begin. The hypocrisy of the powerful EU states especially that of the current UK government, is despicable.
Stelios, Toronto, Canada
I am not sure. I think it will be tricky as culturally there are some huge differences between them and other countries in the EU. They will end up having to change and throw some of their culture away to make a fast buck like so many other countries will have to. I think the people of Turkey need to decide, do they want the EU?
What about democracy? People in the European Union are not in favour of admission of Turkey to the European Union as every poll shows. Politicians should follow democratic ideas and solutions.
Thomas, Athens, Greece
All Turkey will do is bankrupt Europe even more than the last lot of countries that were allowed to join.
Lee W, London
To discriminate against someone on the basis of their religion is surely illegal or at best immoral. Europe needs recognition from Islamic countries and Turkey needs Europe's markets. The answer is obvious.
Let's stop dangling the carrot on the stick. The EU should give Turkey a clear cut answer, yes or no. Since Turkey has come so far in the last decades the answer should be yes.
Jacco Bot, Los Angeles, USA
People seem to forget what the European Economic Union is about. It is a group of countries working together for improved economic performance by joint effort. Potential members need to exhibit certain values to prove that they will be an asset and not a liability. Don't be misled by marginal applicants getting on their high horse.
Yes, and be subject to the same rules governing its behaviour as every other member. In other words, Turkey must demonstrate recognition of Cyprus, strong and peaceful relations with Greece, and exemplary human rights as part of their application.
Andy Millward, Broxbourne, UK
I feel strongly that we should sort out the current mess the EU is in, before increasing the strain on the already failing system. Let us at least learn to walk properly before attempting the pole vault.
Stuart, Huddersfield, UK
Turkey applied in 1960 for full EU membership, and only now has reached the point of possibly starting the accession talks. The EU and Turkey changed considerably in 45 years for the better. Let's give a chance for the talks to start and let the next generation decide on the results in 15 or 20 years.
Emre Kandemir, USA
I think in general, the EU path or ideals is a good one for us to follow, but the EU is not an institution we should join. Why should our economic, foreign and social policy be governed by Brussels? Especially when what we will have gotten in return is nothing: no freedom of movement, no subsidies, nothing. Right now Turkey's dynamics and momentum are pointing in the right direction, while the EU is completely paralysed. For Turkey, the EU will not be a panacea, it will be a burden.
Ali, New York
What European citizens and politicians alike need to fully understand is that an agreement between a community of nations and a candidate country is a document that deserves to be respected. In December 2004 the EU committed itself to commencing membership negotiations with Turkey in the light of Turkey's recent headway in improving its human rights record. For the EU to violate the terms of the agreement that it itself signed in the name of pandering to popular prejudice represents a violation not just of good faith but also of the very values that the EU represents.
Suhail Shafi, Buffalo, USA
Due to the cultural gulf between Turkey and the rest of Europe it would be a disaster to ever give them full membership, especially with the mass immigration it would bring. Besides this, they would be a financial burden and countries like Britain would have to foot the bill to drag the country's economy up.
Turkey should be allowed the chance to join the EU when it meets the full criteria, be that in 5 years time or 20. This ludicrous notion that the flood gates will open and there will be millions of Turkish people taking our jobs and taking state benefits is offensive and ill informed. Turkey is part of Europe, she has helped shape modern Europe through 1000 years of trade, intellectual exchange and conflict. Europe will grow and this fortress mentality is narrow-minded. I really don't understand what people are frightened of!
It is obvious that Turkey's accession has both pros and cons. Membership talks will last at least a decade. This is known by both sides. Some Europeans propose a privileged partnership. But they cannot describe what it means. And I add that Turkey has already been a privileged partner. We are here waiting for the opening of accession talks. Enlargement to Turkey is inevitable.
Cagatay Iris, Izmir, Turkey
Turkey should only come in if European public opinion can be persuaded it's a good idea. If Turkish membership is imposed by the great and good against the will of the people, it will destroy whatever trust people have left in the EU, and possibly cause the ultimate break-up of the whole thing.
Rob Ingleby, UK/Denmark
The question is - Why shouldn't Turkey join the EU? They are a progressive, successful, civilised nation, and their people are a valuable source of labour and initiative. Reforms? Maybe. Negotiations? Of course! But it is in OUR interest to have them in the loop. We need a bridge between east and west if we are to avoid the misunderstandings currently dominating the relationship.
Adam, Nottingham, UK
The problem with Turkey is not about religion, the country has been secular since 1920. But Turkey is not clear about its history and remains elusive over human rights considerations.
Let them have Britain's place so we can become the 51st state of the country to whom we share language, history, culture and ideals.
Steve, Gillingham, England
Considering that Turkey's main trading partners include European Union members United Kingdom, Germany, France and Italy. I feel that it would be in the best interest of both Turkey and the EU to allow Turkey to join the Union.
John Burke, Long Island, NY, USA
Just how far is the boundary stretching of Europe going to go? Which country next? Ukraine? Russia? The EU is already bloated as it is and stands to be "bogged down" supporting and subsidising weaker nations/economies. No Turkey should not be allowed full EU membership.
To Garry: the EU does not exist simply to make the strong stronger and the rich richer. It is about helping each other to achieve common prosperity, and if that means sometimes propping up poorer nations to reach that goal, then so be it. It's not just about money and power - it's also about knowledge, peace and common understanding in diversity - if we were to prescribe a certain "nation-type" before allowing a nation to join, we'd be defeating the object of it.
Dean Gargano, London, UK
As a Muslim living in Europe I find this whole fuss about Turkey both amusing and instructive. We Muslims are constantly being told we need to integrate into our host societies - yet here we have a Muslim nation which for 80 years has attempted to suppress all traces of its Muslimness and blindly follow the European way only for many Europeans to say "No"!! The message is clear even if you become like 'us' you won't be accepted
Anwar Iqbal, London, UK
Anwar Iqbal from London has it spot on. As a Muslim myself, I agree 100%. Turkey is a test of whether Europeans are prepared to accept Muslims on an equal basis. If Turkish entry is rejected, then this is a strong signal to Muslims worldwide that Europe is still a white Christian club and that nothing else is acceptable. Turkey has done everything to accommodate Europe up until now so Europe should fulfil it's end of the bargain.
Bilal Patel, London, UK
The EU should not be used as a battle ground to test the compatibility between democratic values, secular society and Islam. The nations of Europe share common values which have as their basis, freedom of speech, liberty, and respect for one another. So far Turkey does not share these common values.
The truth is we are exhausted. What is so prestigious about being a EU member? We will be here and work with the EU just like we did before. And we will be here in our own country after full membership, if any, in foreseeable future. So calm down Europe. We like our home and we have no further reason to take steps we do not believe just to be a member of a club. Besides it is obvious that we are not welcome. That is how ordinary Turkish person feel about EU today. Every day an other funny requirement emerges from Europe and we have no stomach to have more. It is getting ugly and cheap.
Eser Avunduk, Istanbul
Yes, Turkey is part of Europe (look on a map!), it's also part of Nato. It has as much right to apply as do the former Soviet states, or Malta or Cyprus. Those European nations opposing this are being racist.
To John, UK: I looked at the map and, frankly, all I can see is that Turkey still occupies a tiny part of Europe. Turks are not Europeans and Turkey is not European either. If the EU is to be a cultural and political concept and not just a market, there is no place for Turkey. Besides, the sick nationalism of the Turks is completely incompatible with anything the EU stands for....
Ronald Vopel, Brussels, Belgium
I have a property in Turkey and so you would think I would be keen for Turkey to join. It would make for a more stable economy as well as making it easier for non-nationals to work there. But I don't. Turkey isn't European. Turkey is as European as Britain is American. If you ask the locals, they don't want to join. Turkish politicians do, but not the people.
Glen, Welling, Kent
In embracing a country of Turkey's ethnic and religious make-up, the EU has a historic opportunity to further tolerance and understanding across the European continent and beyond. The practicalities of integration are undoubtedly daunting. But it would be a real shame if the EU lacked the vision and guile to pull of what would be a truly monumental geo-political alliance.
Turkey is a European country. Bringing them in to the EU would demonstrate cooperation between the West and Muslim nations. Partnership would be seen as a token gesture.
I don't know about Turkey joining the EU, how about getting us out.
We should welcome Turkey into the EU once they have committed to bringing their human rights to EU standards. Inclusion of Turkey should lessen international terrorism.
Thomas, Ipswich, UK
Turkey should stay out of EU Negotiations (forget the membership) for her own good. EU will be obsolete anyways in a decade or so. On the other hand, Turkey should also re-evaluate the Customs Union which is very advantageous in its current form to EU Countries. Our trade deficit skyrocketed and many companies do not have ground for competitive measures against European goods.
Kokteng, Ankara, Turkey
Turkey should definitely be offered full membership of the EU. Turkey will need substantial reforms before it can join, but the process is likely to take a decade or more, and Turkey will not be allowed to become a member until those reforms are complete. Many of the reasons given for opposing Turkey's membership appear to be barely concealed racism.
Jeremy, London, UK
Under no circumstances should Turkey be offered full EU membership. This would allow millions of Muslims to move into Western Europe. Whether you like it or not our cultures are poles apart. Also, given the countries which share a border with Turkey this would provide an easy conduit into the EU for those not entitled to be here. Only a very small part of Turkey is physically in Europe and the cultural divide is just too great. Strictly limited partnership yes, membership never!
Yes! Whatever happened to the inclusive attitude of the EU? Turkey is a secular state with secular laws - there is absolutely no reason it should be treated differently to any other European country!
Steve, Bedford, UK
I do not think Turkey should be allowed in Europe, as it never was a bridge between the Europe and the Middle East, and it will never be. When turkey is admitted to the EU it will be an end in itself for Europe.
Yes Turkey should join the EU. It would be beneficial for the region. That is, at least Greece will be able to slash military spending. A resolution to the Cyprus problem will only come if and when the Cypriot leaders decide to restart negotiations with the UN for a reunified Cyprus, maybe this time under conditions that the Greek Cypriots want. It's interesting that initially it was Greece, France and Cyprus that seemed to be the nations that would halt Turkey's accession, but it now appears to be Austria.
Thano Taris, Melbourne, Australia