Title

Turkish Accession to the EU: What Has Prevented it?

Description

The foundations of the relationship between the European Union (EU) and Turkey dates back several decades, far before the EU was established. The European Economic Community (EEC), which would later evolve into the modern-day EU, was the first European community that Turkey had formal relations with. Since the beginning of the relationship, the EU-Turkey dynamic has changed several times, going through periods of ups and downs and all kinds of stages, reflecting characteristics of human relationships. Nevertheless, Turkey has managed to keep close relations with Europe, despite never becoming an official member of the EU. The Turks first filed their application to the community in 1987. However, they remain outside of the union as of 2020, constituting a 33- year application, the longest of its kind. Considering the lengthy history of the two bodies, this raises several questions. Why is Turkey such a unique case? What has prevented Turkey from joining? Will Turkey ever formally join the European Union, or will it continue in a state of limbo until the relationship reaches a breaking point? Each of these questions are discussed in detail in this paper.

Chair

Adérito Vicente

Discussant

Iakovos Iakovidis & Ester Sigillò

Session Type

Panel 2

Topic

Foreign Policy

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Turkish Accession to the EU: What Has Prevented it?

The foundations of the relationship between the European Union (EU) and Turkey dates back several decades, far before the EU was established. The European Economic Community (EEC), which would later evolve into the modern-day EU, was the first European community that Turkey had formal relations with. Since the beginning of the relationship, the EU-Turkey dynamic has changed several times, going through periods of ups and downs and all kinds of stages, reflecting characteristics of human relationships. Nevertheless, Turkey has managed to keep close relations with Europe, despite never becoming an official member of the EU. The Turks first filed their application to the community in 1987. However, they remain outside of the union as of 2020, constituting a 33- year application, the longest of its kind. Considering the lengthy history of the two bodies, this raises several questions. Why is Turkey such a unique case? What has prevented Turkey from joining? Will Turkey ever formally join the European Union, or will it continue in a state of limbo until the relationship reaches a breaking point? Each of these questions are discussed in detail in this paper.