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A Policy Change in Turkey: Targeting membership of the EU again
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A Policy Change in Turkey: Targeting membership of the EU again


In 2002, after the Turkish election, Turkey announced that one of its main goals was to join the European Union (EU). On October 3rd, 2005, Turkey’s EU Accession Negotiations began, along with the adoption of the country’s Negotiation Framework Document. The document, which is conducted in 35 chapters, lists the methods and technicalities of the negotiations.

However, recently, the EU has criticized Turkey for implementing natural gas searches in the Mediterranean sea, eroding democracy, biased jurisdictions, and weak economic structure. Moreover, the EU has started talking about placing some sanctions on the trade between the union and Turkey. Thus, it seems like the process of Turkey joining the EU has become much more complex in recent years.

The Turkish government has responded to the EU with threats and blaming language for the last four years, with the Turkish president even voicing cutting relations with the organization. However, the volume of trade with Europe has made this extremely difficult since the European countries have a significant share in Turkish exports. Thus, it is possible that although the Turkish diplomacy regarding the EU was not a realistic one, it was this policy that kept the power inside the country. More Turkish people went to the ballot boxes for elections than usual because of the political fluctuations in their country. Creating threatening and hate language against the EU proved to be a useful tool for the AK Party in collecting votes.


Turkey is currently in a deep economic and financial crisis, and the EU might be able to provide some opportunities to help the country get out of it. The trade volume with the European countries is especially crucial for Turkey in order to bring foreign exchange reserves to the country. Therefore, instead of staying away from the EU and increasing the political and diplomatic tensions between the union and Turkey, it may be better to improve relations instead. Turkey can no longer sustain the international relations policy isolating Turkey more and more from the other countries. Thus, it is vital to find a way to get closer to the developed countries, including the EU member states. Besides, many Turkish citizens have a vision with the Western countries, but not with other countries like the Islamic or Arabic nations.

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