Greeks not keen on Turkey in EU

Most Greeks do not support Turkey’s bid to enter the European Union, a survey showed yesterday, a sentiment likely influenced by recent tensions between Athens and Ankara. The EU’s Eurobarometer poll showed that 67 percent of Greeks do not want Turkey to join the Union, even if Ankara meets all the accession criteria. The EU average on that question showed 48 percent of respondents supporting Turkey’s entry. Several Turkish violations of Greek air space earlier this year, including one in which a Greek pilot lost his life, led to a strain in relations between the countries. The Greek and Turkish foreign ministers have met since the jet accident to ease tensions. But other EU countries show more vehement disapproval of Turkey’s bid to enter the EU. Austria tops the list with 81 percent of those surveyed against the idea, followed by Germany, Luxembourg and Cyprus with 69 percent of those questioned saying they did not want Turkey to be granted membership. The Greeks ranked fifth in the survey. Half of the Greeks and Cypriots surveyed believe Turkey’s main goal must be improving its relations with neighboring countries. Respondents in Greece were much more enthusiastic about other Balkan countries joining the EU. Between 67 percent and 62 percent said they supported Serbia, Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina becoming EU member states. But Greeks are less keen on the entry of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM). Half of those surveyed say they support FYROM’s bid for EU entry while the other 50 percent say they oppose it.