By Ali Ünal
Turkey's EU negotiations began in 2005, since then Turkey has faced certain obstacles, causing an erosion of trust for both parties, slower democratic reforms and a decline in the EU's support for Turkey. During the nine years of negotiations, the number of chapters that have been opened for negotiation has increased to 14 with the opening of Chapter 22 on Nov 5, 2013. Sixteen of the remaining 19 are currently blocked due to political obstacles posed by the Council of the European Union and EU member states like Greek Cyprus and France.
Since the initiation of membership talks, however, the Turkish economy has clearly outperformed a number of EU member states while Ankara developed a reputation as a regional power at a time of economic and political turmoil in Europe. Consequently, public support for Turkey's EU membership has steadily declined among Turks and EU citizens alike. According to a recent survey by the German Marshall Fund of the United States, a mere 44 percent of Turks voiced support for the country's EU membership in 2013 compared to 48 percent the previous year and 73 percent in 2004.