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Estonians cool on Turkey membership

  • 2004-12-15
  • By The Baltic Times
TALLINN 's An opinion poll released on Friday showed that Estonians are more against than for Turkey's accession to the European Union.

The survey, conducted by the Faktum pollster, showed that 37 percent of Estonia's voting-age residents are for, and 43 percent against, Turkey becoming a member of the EU. The remaining one-fifth of the polled had no opinion on the issue.

Among ethnic Estonians, 38 percent supported and 42 percent were against Turkish membership, while among non-Estonians, 31 percent were for and 43 percent against admitting Turkey into the club.

Electorates of all parliamentary parties are also inclined to oppose Turkey's accession to the union. The ratio of opponents is the biggest among Pro Patria Union voters at 59 percent and in the Social Democratic Party at 54 percent.

Faktum interviewed 969 people, including 733 persons with the right to vote, at the end of October and in early November.

EU leaders on Thursday agreed to propose to Turkey to open accession talks on Oct. 3, 2005.

Marko Mihkelson, head of Parliament's foreign affairs committee, hailed the decision. "This shows that the 25-member European Union is capable of jointly making important decisions, even though there was strong opposition to this in quite a few countries," he told the Baltic News Service.

In his opinion, the Council of Ministers' decision represents a great opportunity for Turkey, giving it a chance to show that it is ready to be a member of the EU regardless of how long and difficult the talks will be.

He stressed that the negotiating process calls on Turkey's part for a clear policy of recognizing Cyprus, a condition that Estonia has insisted upon before.