Turkey and the European Union

About one-quarter of Britons hold an unfavourable opinion of Turkey and consider that its membership of the European Union (EU) would be a bad thing, perceiving it as a predominantly Muslim country which would be out of place in the EU.

This is one of the findings from Transatlantic Trends, 2011, a partnership between the German Marshall Fund of the United States and the Compagnia di San Paolo, with support from four other sponsors, which reported on 14 September. Topline results can be found at:


Fieldwork was coordinated by TNS Opinion and took place in the United States and 13 European countries, including the UK. ICM interviewed 1,001 adults aged 18 and over by telephone here between 25 May and 19 June 2011.

In the UK 27% of citizens agreed that, as a mainly Muslim nation, Turkey did not belong in the EU. This was 2% more than in 2005 and the same as in the United States. But the figure was under the European average and notably lower than in Belgium (58%), Slovakia (48%) and Poland (46%), with the remaining European countries ranging from 31% to 38%. 65% of UK respondents disagreed with the proposition, the same as in 2005, with 8% undecided.

Overall British opposition to Turkey’s membership of the EU, in terms of it being regarded as a bad thing, has risen from 9% in 2004 but, at 27%, it remains less than the European average and is greatly exceeded by 45% in France and 40% in Germany. 25% in the UK pronounce it as a good thing, 41% are neutral, and 7% undecided.

Alternative trend data on attitudes to Turkey’s membership of the EU are available from the Eurobarometer studies. See our previous post at:


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