- A threat called Turkey: perceived religious threats and support for EU entry of Croatia, Switzerland and Turkey
- Acta Politica
- Volume | Issue number
- 48 | 1
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Amsterdam School of Communication Research (ASCoR)
European Union (EU) enlargement evokes strong opposition among its citizens. Meanwhile, EU citizens’ opinions are likely to become increasingly important in determining the future of the European project. Countries aspiring to EU membership must therefore take public opinion in the EU into consideration. What determines public support for EU entry? A factor that has been ignored in the relevant literature is perceived threat posed by a candidate country's religion. On the basis of data derived from a voter survey fielded in the Netherlands (N=1394), we show that perceived religious threat is not very relevant for public support for EU access of Croatia or Switzerland. It is, by contrast, a major predictor of opposition to Turkish entrance to the EU. In the Turkish case, religious threat overshadows all other factors suggested in the literature except for immigration threat. We conclude by discussing the implications of our findings for Turkey's EU accession bid, and that of other Muslim countries.
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