Turkey became an European Union (EU) candidate country at the EU Helsinki Summit in December 1999. Its candidacy was subject to the understanding that actual negotiations would not start until Turkey met the “Copenhagen criteria,” which enshrine human rights. The EU is more than a geographic area. It is a zone where “European values” and human rights are paramount. According to the Copenhagen criteria, EU candidate countries must meet economic and institutional requirements. They must also have “stable institutions guaranteeing democracy, the rule of law, human rights and respect for and protection of minorities.”2