The objective of the survey, organised by Brussels-based NGO TR PLUS (Centre for Turkey in Europe) in partnership with EurActiv Turkey, was to ascertain the opinion of Commission-accredited journalists towards the prospect of Turkish EU accession.
It was carried out among a 100-strong, EU-wide sample of the 1000 journalists accredited to the EU executive.
Asked whether they thought Turkey would become a full EU member, 64% responded positively, with just 24% believing that Turkey would never join.
Meanwhile, 18% of the participants identified 2016-19 as the likely accession date, with 2012-2015 and 2020-23 coming close behind with 16% each.
Few journalists believe accession will come later than that, with just 4% choosing the 2024-27 period and 6% opting for 'after 2028'.
The organisers claim these results show that there is a wide acceptance among journalists that Turkey will be an EU member by 2023 at the latest.
The survey also sought to identify what Turkey's strengths would be as an EU member state. Respondents highlighted the country’s large internal market (60 votes) and its status as an increasingly popular tourist destination (35 votes) as its main strong points, reflecting heavy government promotion and private-sector support for these areas in recent years.
Additionally, journalists counted Turkey's role as a democratic bridge to the Muslim world (53 votes) and its strategic geographical location (48 votes) among the major advantages of its EU membership, in keeping with the perception of the Turkish Foreign Ministry – a result which TR PLUS believe shows that improved communication can eliminate prejudices.
The unresolved status of Cyprus was identified by the journalists as the main obstacle to Turkey's accession hopes (36%), closely followed by concerns over its Muslim population (34%).
What's more, political instability was considered to be a major stumbling block, and the ongoing Kurdish conflict was seen as a significant outstanding issue.