Turkey EU Relations

Term Paper 2012 18 Pages

Politics - International Politics - Region: Near East, Near Orient



1. Introduction

2. Historical development of the relations between the EU and Turkey and the current status

3. The current status of the Turkey-The Copenhagen criterias
3.1 Die Copenhagen criteria
3.2 Current Status of the political criteria
3.3 Current status of the economic criteria
3.4 Current Status on the Acquis- criteria
3.5.Capacity of the European Union

4. Chance of becoming a full member? - Current position of the EU and its institutions
4.1. EU Commission
4.2 The European Parliament
4.3 Current position of selected member states

5. Conclusion


- List of Abbreviations

- Bibliography

1. Introduction

For decades Turkey has been trying to join the European Union and the country is considered to be the most complex state to integrate into the European confederation. On 3rd October 2005, following a recommendation from the European Commission from the year before, the accession negotiations between Turkey and the EU officially started. The beginning of the talks does not mean guaranteed and rapid accession, they are a year-long and arduous process. The result was purposely represented as open, both a full membership as well as a "privileged partnership" between the EU and the Turkey is possible, whereas Turkey made clear that it is only interested in a full membership.1

The Enlargement of the European Union by ten countries in 2004 let Turkey's chance fall significantly. Due to this massive extension in many EU countries, a debate developed that the EU is soon facing an Overexpansion and for the next time should take no further candidates. Strategic considerations, which are in Europe of not the great importance as in the U.S., have been eclipsed by debates and distribution of diverse national interests of the member states.2 This term paper deals with the question whether Turkey has a realistic chance in the current position of becoming a full member state. First, the current state of developments and the historical relationship between Turkey and the EU is supposed to be examined, followed by an analysis of the current state of negotiations referring to use of the Copenhagen criteria. Finally, the chances of Turkey’s full membership on the basis of the various positions of European institutions and member countries are going to be estimated.

2. Historical development of the relations between the EU and Turkey and the current status

The negotiations with Turkey on an EU membership are currently stalled and due to a recommendation by the EU Commission, the European Union decided that they are even partially exposed. Affected of this are eight of total of 35 sections of the negotiation talks, which mostly regard to customs and trade issues.3 The EU demands, based on an open association agreement from the year 1963, that Turkey should open itself for ships and planes from Cyprus, which has led to a counter-demand of Turkey. So links the country the demand to the opening ofthe Isolation ofthe Turkish occupied part of North Cyprus.4

After the Second World War, Turkey sought a stronger connection to Europe, but which was more of a political than a cultural nature. The strategic location and regional proximity to the Soviet Union had encouraged Turkey's chances of this intention. Considerably it was the "Truman Doctrine" guarantying the territorial integrity ofTurkey as well as Greece5 and in 1952, the inclusion ofthe two countries in the NATO took place.6 The U.S. treated Turkey hereby always with a special attention because of its geostrategic position and as a result of this Turkey could be sure about its exposed position within the defense alliance.

The tensed relationship between Turkey and Greece deteriorated enormously in the mid-fifties due to the the development of the Cyprus question. At the same time both countries were fighting for a stronger connection to the west, that’s why both states attempted to become a member in the European Economic Community (EEC).7

Despite the unfulfilled economic criteria of the two states negotiations over a member status took place in 1963.8

The Association Agreement between Turkey and the EEC started on 01.12.1964 and was divided in the so-called "three-phase program". The first phase, the “Preparation phase” should last 5-9 years, then the following “Transition phase” was set at 12 to 22 years and the duration of the final phase was made dependent on whether and when the conditions for Turkey's full membership are fulfilled.9

Contents of this Agreement were fundamental issues like an ongoing and balanced revival of trade and economic relations and the three-stage establishment of a customs union. This had the aim of adapting Turkey to EU standards. The signing of the association agreement signaled for Turkey the formal admission to the Association of European states.10 The military coup on March 12, 1971 leading to the resignation of the ruling government had a noticeable impact on the negations and consequently paralyzed the European- Turkish relations.11 Additionally to serious domestic problems, the Cyprus crisis took place in 1974 followed by Greece’s application for full membership in the European Community. Another military coup in 1980 prevented Turkey from also applying for the admission to the European Community. Finally, in 1982, the EC closed officially the Association progress. The southward enlargement of the EC including Greece (1981), Spain and Portugal (1986) meant a bitter defeat for Turkey, as this enlargement was largely determined by political considerations. After the first free parliamentary elections after the attempted coup in 1983 the new Prime Minister Turgut Ozal tried to represent the world public a modern and democratically country an four years later in 1987 Turkey applied forfull membership, which was, however, rejected by the EC.12

The main reason for the failure of the application was seen in the fact that Turkey put an emphasis on its economic aspects, but the political aspects were of greater significance for the EC. Before the start of the Accession negotiations Turkey was given a recommendation to carry out further political, economic and social reforms. The Association Agreement came into force again in 1988 and consequently negotiations with Turkey on a customs union began.

Due to the collapse of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s it came to a major change in the priorities of the EC. East Central and Eastern Europe won more and more importance for the economically and strategically intention of the EC, while Turkey lost its existing strategically important as a buffer role in the Region. In addition to that the cultural aspects started to play an increasing role in the accession criteria.13

On 01.01.1996 the accession of Turkey into the Customs Union, was officially signed, which became a landmark for the western orientation of the country.14 In 1996/1997 the political relations between the EU and Turkey were stalled again, due to an unstable political situation in Turkey caused by a renewed Intervention of the army into domestic politics.

It was the powerful earthquake of August 1999, through which approximately 20.000 people died, which offered the country an opportunity to restart its dialogue with Europe. Turkey received EU financial support to cope the damage of the natural disaster.15 In December of the same year, Turkey received the status as a Candidate, although no time information about continuation of the process were given.16 These steps were taken as an answer to ongoing reform plans of the Turkish government. Above all, the targeted progress in civil law (e.g. strengthening of the right of assembly and demonstration) convinced the EU to give Turkey the status of a candidate, since also the EU was not interested in a deterioration of relations with Turkey.

In the autumn of 2000 and again in the spring of 2001 the country fell into an economic crisis that only through the help of the U.S. and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) Turkey was prevented of the complete economic collapse.17

In 2002 the EU demanded that the successor government of Bulent Ecevit, the Justice and Development Party (AKP) leaded by Erdogan, has to pass further reforms in the field of human rights and minority protection to fulfill the Copenhagen criteria. In particular, it was called for the abolition of the death penalty in peacetimes and the approval and Permit of the use of minority languages in schools and radio stations.18

At the EU-Summit in Copenhagen in 2002, the European Commission was prompted to submit a report with a recommendation on whether the EU should enter into accession negotiations with Turkey or not until October 2004. Meanwhile, Turkey continued with the required improvements and puts a lot of effort in order to receive a positive assessment by the Commission.

In 2003, the Turkish government finally adopted a legislative package, circumcising the great influence of the army. Then finally The Commission formulated a positive verdict and suggested the commencement of accession negotiations with Turkey, which officially began on 3 October 2005.19 Since then, the negotiation talks can be characterized as very difficult and in some sections almost no progress was done. Due to the ongoing debate about the separation of the island, Turkey does not recognize the EU Member Cyprus. As a result of this in eight core areas of the talks the negotiations were stopped, from the 35 chapters currently in only five areas are negotiations, only one theme is already closed.20


1 Euractive: Türkei: Privilegierte Partnerschaft ist Beleidigung <http://www.euractiv.de/erweiterung-und-nachbarn/artikel/trkei-privilegierte-partnerschaft-ist- beleidigung-002206> (opened: 14.01.2012, 12:13 Uhr).

2 Riemer, Andrea K., Die Türkei und die Europäische Union. Eine unendliche Geschichte? In: Aus Politik und Zeitgeschichte, Edition B 10-11/2003, p. 40.

3 Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung: Turkey and the European Union <http://www.bpb.de/themen/KSGKMH,0,T%FCrkei_und_EU.html>, (opened: 13.01.2011, 13:26).

4 European Commission: Turkey

<http://ec.europa.eu/enlargement/candidatecountries/turkey/eu_turkey_relations_en.htm> , (opened: 13.01.2012,15:22).

5 Barin Kayaoglu, Strategic imperatives, Democratic rhetoric. The United States and Turkey 1945­52., in: Cold WarHistory, Aug 2009, Vol. 9#3 pp 321-345.

6 US Department of State: Background Note Turkey <http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/bgn/3432.htm>, (opened: 13.01.2012, 13:22).

7 Müller-Graf, Peter-Christian, Die Rolle der erweiterten Europäischen Union in der Welt, Baden­Baden: 2006, p. 109.

8 Riemer, Andrea K., Die Türkei und die Europäische Union. Eine unendliche Geschichte? In: Aus Politik und Zeitgeschichte, Edition В 10-11/2003, p. 40.

9 Eurolex: Agreement of establishing an Association between the European Economic Community and the Republic of Turkey

<http://eur-ex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=CELEX:21964A1229%2801%29: DE:HTML>, (opened: 13.01.2012, 13:43).

10 Steinbach, Udo, Die Türkei und die EU. Geschichte richtig lesen. In: Aus Politik , und Zeitgeschichte, В38/2004, 9.8.2004, p.4.

11 Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung: Chronology of the assignment process <http://www.bpb.de/themen/LCD38U,0,0,Chronologie_der_Beitrittsverhandlungen.html>, (opened:13.01.2012,12:23).

12 Ibid.

13 Riemer, Andrea K., Die Türkei und die Europäische Union. Eine unendliche Geschichte? In: Aus Politik und Zeitgeschichte, Edition B 10-11/2003, p. 41.

14 Ibid. P. 42.

15 European Union Press Releases: EU bürgt für 600 Mio. € Kredit der EIB für Wiederaufbauarbeiten im türkischen Erdbebengebiet <http://europa.eu/rapid/pressReleasesAction.do?reference=IP/99/772&format=HTML&aged=1&la nguage=D E&guiLanguage=en>, (opened: 13.01.2012, 14:24).

16 Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung: Chronology of the assignment process <http://www.bpb.de/themen/LCD38U,0,0,Chronologie_der_Beitrittsverhandlungen.html>, (opened: 13.01.2012, 14:32).

17 Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung: Chronology of the assignment process <http://www.bpb.de/themen/LCD38U,0,0,Chronologle_der_Beltrlttsverhandlungen.html>, (opened: 13.01.2012, 14:43).

18 Carnevale, R./Ihrig, S./Weiß, Ch.: Europa am Bosporus (er-)finden? Die Diskussion um den Beitritt der Türkei zur Europäischen Union in den britischen, deutschen, französischen und italienischen Zeitungen. Europäische Hochschulschriften, 2005, p. 37.

19 European Union: Türkei: Kommission empfiehl die Aufnahme von Beitrittsverhandlungen <http://europa.eu/scadplus/leg/de/lvb/e50015.htm 02.04.08>, (opened: 13.01.2012, 13:35).

20 Süddeutsche Zeitung: EU will Verhandlungen beschleunigen <http://www.sueddeutsche.de/ausland/artikel/776/170279/>, (opened:13.01.2012, 13:56).


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turkey relations



Title: Turkey EU Relations