The Turkish flag (Photo: EUobserver.com)


The EU summit in Copenhagen in December 2002 made Turkey a pre-accession country. From 1 January 2004, Turkey has received pre-accession assistance even though Turkey's fulfilment of the Copenhagen criteria was only adopted by the European Council in December 2004. 

Turkey signed an Association Agreement with the EC in 1963. In 1987, Turkey applied for EC membership and got a Europe Agreement in 1991. The customs union between the EC and Turkey was completed in 1995.

The Commission introduced a pre-accession strategy for Turkey in 2000 and in 2001 an Accession Partnership with Turkey was established. 

Turkey has one million soldiers, far larger than all EU countries. In December 2002, Turkey accepted that the EU may use NATO assets for EU military purposes. 

Turkish membership of the EU was rejected by the Convention President Giscard d`Estaing and other leading Christian Democrat politicians. France and Austria have announced referendums on an eventual Turkish membership. 

The Turkish population was 75,627,384 in 2013 according to Eurostat at home and many millions abroad. The number is growing with one million a year and could make Turkey the largest EU member state. 

The Lisbon Treaty has a new provision for neighbourhood agreements in Article 8 TEU which could be used as alternative to full membership.