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EU‐Turkey accession negotiations: the state of play and the role of the new Turkish foreign policy (WP) 4 avril 2011

Posted by Acturca in Turkey / Turquie, Turkey-EU / Turquie-UE.
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Real Instituto Elcano de Estudios Internacionales y Estratégicos (Spain)
Working Paper 8/2011, 4/4/2011

Mahir Ilgaz * and İlke Toygür **

Turkey’s EU accession negotiations completed their fifth year on 3 October 2010. However, despite annual declarations on the Turkish side that each new year would be ‘the year of the EU’, negotiations seem to be progressing very slowly and the prospects for their timely completion look dim. In fact, with 18 chapters out of the picture due to a variety of obstacles and the blocking of the provisional closure of any chapters until Turkey fulfils its obligations deriving from the Additional Agreement, the situation looks grim indeed.

The first aim of this paper is to provide the necessary background for placing the accession negotiations with Turkey within the proper context. To accomplish this, it first provides an overview of EU-Turkish relations, starting with Turkey’s initial application to become a member of the EEC. The overview aims to help put things into perspective by providing an account of relations from the start, including the establishment of a Customs Union between Turkey and the EU.

Secondly, the course of the negotiations themselves will be analysed, along with the reasons for the current impasse. In this section, the focus will not be to put the blame on one side or the other but rather to provide a list of the problems contributing to the deadlock. The section will also look into the deeper underlying issues.

In addition to the slowdown in the negotiations, new Turkish foreign policy initiatives have also caused some concern in both Turkey and the EU as to whether they imply a shift in foreign policy that could endanger its accession goal. Consequently, this paper considers the future of Turkey’s accession goal as the anchor of its foreign policy. Furthermore, the effects of Turkey’s foreign policy on the EU’s are briefly discussed with respect to contemporary developments in the Middle East and North Africa.

* Mahir Ilgaz, EU Expert, İstanbul, Turkey
** İlke Toygür, Researcher, Economic Development Foundation (İKV), İstanbul, Turkey

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