New campaign set to tout benefits of EU membership to Turks
Turkey's Secretariat General for European Union Affairs is preparing to launch a major public relations campaign to make Turks better informed about the benefits of EU membership. Aiming to defuse misconceptions or lack of knowledge about the EU by providing the facts about the Union, the campaign is set to use local media outlets as its main channel of conveying its messages. The campaign plans to give clear, tangible answers to pressing questions people have about the EU. This will include the EU accession criteria, which most see as a highly technical bureaucratic matter, and what they mean to people's daily lives. Focusing on the concrete benefits that Turkey's eventual EU membership will bring, the campaign will employ clear messages organized into short questions and answers about the EU. For instance, to the question "We're going to enter the EU. What about it?," the campaign will respond: "We'll become the sixth-largest economy in Europe, and the 16th-largest in the world; we'll be able to enter EU member countries to visit, receive education, or work without visas; and Turkey's exports to EU countries, which have risen 476 percent thanks to our customs union with the Union, will go up even more." The campaign will also include messages to convince EU skeptics of the merits of EU membership as well as to defuse a widespread misconception that the EU will never agree to Turkey's accession no matter what it does. In related news, meeting with leading business figures in Istanbul over the weekend, Chief Negotiator for EU talks Egemen Bagis reiterated that Turkey cannot become an EU full member under its current Constitution, drafted in the wake of a 1980 coup. Stating that Greece and Spain also couldn't get into the EU without changing their coup-era constitutions, Bagis said they were able to join the EU only after aligning their constitutions with EU standards. A government-sponsored reform package containing key changes to the Constitution is set to go to a referendum this September.