Turkey's alternative strategies to the stalling EU accession process

Hakan Özkan

Abstract


The Turkish foreign policy activities directed towards the EU are dominated by the unresolved Cyprus issue and the EU financial crisis. On the one hand, the EU admitted Cyprus, a divided country, as a member and at the same time engaged in access negotiations with Turkey. The non-recognition of Cyprus by Turkey under international law and the suspension of some negotiation chapters by the EU resulted in a tense period between 2005 and 2009 during which no progress appeared to be made. On the other hand, the "cold" political years between Turkey and the EU were followed by the gradual emergence of the economic crises in Greece and Cyprus. As a result, the EU governments were engaged more in avoiding a disintegration of the EU than in accelerating its expansion. Given the EU crisis and the quest for identity within the European Union, the EU access negotiations with Turkey have stalled so far because rescuing Greece's moribund  economy with rescue packages has taken priority.

The growing Turkish economy and its exceptional political position due to its geostrategic positioning are resulting in a growing impatience towards the crisis-ridden EU: The Republic of Turkey is no longer necessarily dependent on membership of the EU and Turkey's multilateral and inclusive  foreign policy of recent years and its function as a role model in the Arab Spring strengthen its newly gained confidence on the international stage. The more Turkey's relations with the West and the EU deteriorate, the more Turkey relies on having a good relationship with Russia, which in turn could result in a marginalisation of the EU in the Caucasus or in Central Asia. After the disintegration of the Soviet Union and the arrival in power of Putin, Russia is no longer viewed as a threat. In fact, there is an expectation that the partnership and cooperation will intensify in many areas and particularly on the economic level.

Given the economic crisis affecting the EU, there is a possibility that the Turkish government under Tayyip Erdoğan may withdraw from the negotiations. This option is undoubtedly possible, as the strong economic growth and the geopolitical positioning with the neighbouring emerging markets of Russia and Iran clearly illustrate that Turkey has both a high degree of autonomy and plenty of room for manoeuvre.


Full Text:

.

Refbacks

  • There are currently no refbacks.


............................................................................................................................................................................................................................

HOW DO YOU REGISTER and SUBMIT AN ARTICLE?

Registering and Logging in

Submitting an Article