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EU losing its appeal to Turkey

As Greek authorities are trying to persuade their own population to face more austerity cuts to secure further EU bailouts, some countries, such as Turkey, are slowly weakening their resolve to join up with the eurozone.

If you talked about Turkey and the EU ten years ago, Turkey's hopes of joining would have been inseparable from joining the euro. Not anymore.

Turkey's attitude, in short, can be summed up very simply:  “We are very glad we are not part of the euro right now,” said a member of the Turkish parliament, Suat Kiniklioglu.

Turks on the street seem to have a wide range of opinions on the euro at their country's doorstep.

“Europe’s economy is worse now, Turkey’s is improving,” one Turkish resident told RT. “Turkey is improving in all fields, but Europe is going backwards, so we do not need them.”

Still, many Turks still continue to rely on euro in their savings strategy.

“Turkish people are using the euro as an investment to earn money,” said another Turkish resident. “Euros are more reliable than Turkish money. Turkish people do not want to save their money in lira.”

Academics analyzing public opinion have found a common logic in decisions about the euro. People polled do not care about wider economics, but about their own personal finances.

“My pocketbook economy is actually the only important factor that will make me a Euroskeptic or a Europhile,” said Ebru Canan-Sokullu from Bahcesehir University.

The public opinion analysts are keen to point out that further economic integration into Europe does not just mean money, and that people should not only think about their pocketbook economics.

“We have to take into account the freedom of movement of labour, the freedom of movement of service,” Canan-Sokullu said. “These are all integrated in each other so it is not only exchange of money or leaving Turkish lira and adopting euro.”

One thing everyone does agree on, however, is the mess the Eurozone is in. 

Whereas Turkey's economy grew per nine cent last year and over ten per cent in the first quarter of this year, Europe – especially southern Europe – has come to the point of catastrophe because of excessive borrowing. Greece has so far been the worst hit. This and others' economic disasters have meant appeals for bailouts.

“This makes it difficult for national governments to defend constantly pouring more money into the coffers of irresponsible or inefficient members,” said Ilter Turan, professor of political science with Bilgi University.

With increasing tension in the EU over economic mismanagement, some foresee big problems ahead.

“Economic co-operation based on a single currency in Europe is going to be history in the near future,” said former Turkish Foreign Minister Sukru Sina Gurel.

These dynamics could mean that Turkey will likely remain an independent trader for some time to come.

Turkey’s markets are famous to tourists and traders alike. Taking that mercantile spirit to Europe seemed like a good idea once, but with all the riches now at home, and not in Europe, it no longer seems like such a profitable move.