At the beginning of October, the European Commission puts forward its official position about opening up membership negotiations between the European Union and Turkey. In December, the European Council will announce its decision. For months, the press and experts have been examining the political dimension of membership, both at the domestic and at the regional level. Similarly, the consequences of Turkish membership for Europe’s institutions and economy have been much discussed. This article looks at the Turkish economy, as the choice to be made places Turkey at a decisive crossroads. The opening up of negotiations will extend the remarkable stabilisation process which has taken hold since the customs union treaty of 1996, and which has accelerated since 2002. Negotiations will contribute to defining a new growth model, based on a dynamic manufacturing sector, but which will draw in more foreign direct investment and facilitate technological transfers. From this point of view, European membership and the adoption of the Union’s acquis may be seen as an instrument for both modernising Turkey’s institutional framework and accelerating its economic transformation. Nevertheless, the risks associated with such a strategy, in a country that remains relatively poor, need to be assessed.
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