EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: Turkey says it wants to join the EU, but has no intention of complying with membership rules. The EU says it wants Turkey to join, but is fully aware that it does not qualify. Turkey pushes forward in the hope that the EU might someday change its rules; the EU pushes forward in the hope that Turkey might someday qualify. Neither will happen.
When Turkey officially applied to become a full member of the European Union (EU), cell phones looked like bricks, Red Bull and The Simpsons had just made their debuts, President Ronald Reagan made his famous “Tear down this wall!” speech in West Berlin, the world population was five billion, Colonel Qaddafi in Libya was playing godfather to terrorists, Margaret Thatcher was the prime minister of Britain, Gestapo boss Klaus Barbie was sentenced to life in prison for crimes against humanity, the first intifada was launched, and sports superstars Lionel Messi and Maria Sharapova were newborn babies.
It was 1987. The mere opening of accession negotiations with Turkey would take another 18 years. Another 12 years after that, everyone in Brussels and Ankara knows full well that Turkish membership in the EU is an impossibility for the foreseeable future.
Nevertheless, the Turks think that 1) their country deserves full membership; and 2) the only reason the EU has not granted them membership is because they are Muslim. Few diagnoses could be as inaccurate as this.
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