There is an ongoing dispute as to whether Turkey is an Asian or a European nation, but the Swedish government made clear it wants Turkey to become a member of the European Union. Prime Minister Fredrick Reinfeldt said “Sweden fully supports Turkey’s bid to join the European Union… Turkey belongs to Europe.” However, he urged that Turkey could assist its own desire to join the EU by working to resolve problems on the divided island of Cyprus. Cyprus has been divided since 1974 into a Muslim and a Christian nation. Most nations recognize the Greek Cypriot state but few recognize the Turkish Cypriot state. Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan warned hard line Turk Cypriots not to create problems that would impair his nation’s ability to enter the EU.
Turkey faces many issues in obtaining membership in the EU. There is fear of allowing a predominant Muslim nation into the group so it is important for Erdogan to find a way to resolve the Cypriot division in such a manner that respects the rights of both groups. Unless he does something, it seriously damages the ability of Turkey to be treated as a European nation.