Research conducted by the Economic Development Foundation (İKV) indicates that 78.9 percent of the Turkish public support Turkey's accession to the European Union, but don't expect full membership to take place in the near future.
Despite opinions that Turkey's EU accession negotiations have wilted in the face of strained relations, recent research shows that the public has not lost its faith in the process.
According to the research, in which 1311 people in 18 provinces were interviewed from Nov. 18-19, the majority favors accession to the European Union despite strained relations with some member states. However, 31.2 percent indicated that becoming a member in the near future remains a distant prospect for Turkey. There has been a 3 percent increase in support for EU accession compared to last year's research by the İKV.
The research indicates that for 48.3 percent of participants the main reason to support EU accession is the expectation of economic development and an increase in welfare. Free movement in the European Union, settling and education facilities were listed as other reasons to favor accession.
İKV Chairman Ayhan Zeytinoğlu pointed to the need for new chapters to be opened and the Custom Union with Turkey upgraded. Zeytinoğlu added, "Participants see economic reasons, EU double standards and cultural differences as the main reasons that prevent Turkey's membership in the EU."
The majority said that they consider Russia and Turkic republics as political partners, while they considered the EU as the number one economic partner. Questioned about the main topics between the EU and Turkey, the participants answered that visa liberalization, the customs union and cooperation on the issue of refugees have been the most significant issues.
There have been ups and downs in Turkey's long EU accession journey. Official membership negotiations started in 2005, and there are still some chapters to be opened and completed. As Turkey's relations with some European countries have deteriorated, EU accession talks have been adversely affected by strained ties.