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Unfinished Transitions: Challenges and Opportunities of the EU’s and Turkey’s Responses to the « Arab Spring » 30 janvier 2013

Posted by Acturca in Middle East / Moyen Orient, Turkey / Turquie, Turkey-EU / Turquie-UE.
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GTE Working Paper (Istituto Affari Internazionali) No. 4, 25 Jan 2012,11 p.

by Emiliano Alessandri and Meliha Benli Altunişik *

Both the EU and Turkey have so far failed to establish a firm strategic rationale for their support for democratic change in the neighborhood, often accepting the tenet that their « values » may continue to clash with – but in the new context will have to prevail over – their « interests ». As the geopolitical implications of the Arab uprisings become clearer, the EU and Turkey should adopt a more lucid and nuanced approach to democracy and a more explicitly political response to the « Arab Spring » which could offer the basis for joint initiatives bearing positive implications on the future of the bilateral relationship between the EU and Turkey. The EU could decide to pursue a wide-ranging dialogue with Ankara on respective primary strategic interests in the MENA region, not as a substitute for or diversion from more delicate discussions on Turkey’s EU membership, but as a test of their present degree of alignment and possibly a catalyst for a more constructive conversation on accession in future.

* Emiliano Alessandri è Senior Transatlantic Fellow al German Marshall Fund of the United States, Washington. Meliha Benli Altunişik è docente presso il Dipartmento di Relazioni internazionali della Middle East Technical University, Ankara.

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