Turkey first applied to the European Economic Community – the European Union’s precursor – in 1987.
Turkey has been an associate member since 1963, but the EU still has not offered it full membership, despite the country’s membership in NATO and its role as a vital pillar to European security.
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Relations between Turkey and Europe have been tense for decades.
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“The funny thing about the European-Turkish relationship,” says Michael Rubin, a former Pentagon official who focused on Turkey and the Middle East, “is that both sides have been faking it for some time.” Rubin, now a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, adds that “the dream among liberal Turks and Europeans about tying the two together has been on life support for more than a decade, poisoned largely by [Turkish President Recep Tayyip] Erdogan’s behavior.” In recent weeks, that behavior vis-à-vis Europe has taken a turn toward the extreme.