ANKARA, Oct. 8 (Xinhua) -- The dramatic drop in the number of Turks who are confident in prospects of full membership for Turkey in the European Union indicates a growing disenchantment with the 28-member economic and political bloc, analysts said.
According to a recent survey done by the German-Turkish Foundation for Education and Scientific Research (Tavak), around 74 percent of Turks do not believe Turkey will be joining the EU any time soon.
In 2012, only 17 percent of people who were polled said they believe Turkey would become an EU member, down from 35 percent a year earlier. The support was increased only slightly with two percentage points this year.
"The stalled negotiations with the EU due to political obstacles as well as lingering economic crisis in Europe have contributed to the diminished support for the membership among Turks," Mehmet Seyfettin Erol, the head of the Center for International Strategic and Security Studies (USGAM), told Xinhua.
"There is a widespread conviction in public opinion that Turkey, unlike other candidate countries, is not receiving a fair treatment by the EU," he added.
Most Turks (some 64 percent) see Germany as the biggest obstacle for Turkey's accession process while a quarter of those who were polled identified France as the biggest obstacle.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel whose conservative bloc is opposed to Turkey's EU membership has won elections last month, dashing Ankara's hopes to revitalize the stalled talks.
"It is a fact of life that Merkel is and will never be an enthusiast supporter of Turkey's EU membership," said Joost Lagendijk, a former member of the European Parliament who served as the joint chairman of the Turkey-EU parliamentarians delegation.
However, Merkel may be forced to moderate her views if she enters into a coalition with the Social Democrats or the Greens who support Turkish bid.
"Her inevitable coalition partners, be it the Social Democrats or the Greens, are supporters of Turkey's membership and will, in all likelihood, push for a more constructive attitude in the new German government," Lagendijk said.
The Tavak's survey also found that the main reason for apprehension among Turks is the strength of Turkish economy in contrast with the EU in crisis. Around two-thirds of respondents said Turkey does not need the EU from economic viewpoint.
"The growing confidence of Turks in their robust economy which stands in sharp contrast to many EU member states is also factor for the lost of interest in the EU by most Turks," Idris Gursoy, Ankara-based analyst, told Xinhua.
"They say why join in a bloc that is struggling economically," he underlined.
Turkish exports to the EU have dropped to around 40 percent of its total export last year from some 70 percent a decade ago. Turkey has successfully diversified its trading partners by opening up to Africa, Middle East, Latin America and South East Asia. Nevertheless the EU is still the largest single market for Turkish products.
"We now see that Turkey seems to be giving up its ambitions for joining the EU," said Temel Iskit, a columnist at Turkish daily Taraf, "it is apparent that the Turkish-EU relationship has entered a difficult phase."
Turkey has only been able to open 13 chapters -- and close just one -- out of the 35 chapters every accession candidate must complete. No chapter was opened in the last three years by Turkey. The opening of Chapter 22, which is on regional policy and the coordination of structural instruments, was approved in June but its opening was delayed to a later date.
The European Commission, the executive arm of the EU, is set to issue an annual progress report on Oct. 16, which was expected to be critical of Turkey's shortcomings in a number of areas.
Ahead of the report, the Turkish government announced a series of reforms aiming to curb criticisms while addressing domestic concerns in the country.
The reform proposals include, among others, allowing education in languages other than Turkish at private schools, harsher penalties for hate-speech offenders, freedom of dress code for women in public institutions, restitution of seized property rights to non-Muslims, and possibly lowering the election threshold for parties to enter into the parliament.
Brussels hailed the reforms as positive steps for Turkey.
The research further underlined that Turkey desires to develop close relations with BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India and China and South Africa) as well as the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). Turkey has formally become a "dialogue partner " of the SCO in April, making it the first NATO member with a formal relationship with the organization.