The Future of EU-Turkey Relations: Between Mutual Distrust and Interdependency

This paper aims to offer a forward-looking analysis of EU-Turkey relations based on three scenarios: convergence, cooperation and conflict. It discusses current political and social developments in Turkey and takes stock of the recent EU-level and regional developments under positive, negative and unfolding trends. The discussion shows that the future will be most likely driven by a push and pull between cooperation and conflict scenarios. On the one hand, mutual interests concerning trade, diversification of energy sources, migration and regional security concerns will continue to motivate both sides to engage with each other as partners in the future. On the other hand, Turkey’s domestic political developments marked by authoritarianisation since 2013 and violation of the freedom expression and the rule of law in the post-15 July period will strengthen the conflict scenario. It concludes with a discussion that the current EU apathy towards the social and political developments in Turkey undermines the EU’s normative influence and the credibility of the enlargement policy.

Cologne, University of Cologne, November 2016, 37 p.
Online paper 1
Publication date: 

1. Introduction
2. Three scenarios on the future of the EU-Turkey relationship
3. Positive trends in EU-Turkey relations: a lasting drive for cooperation

Customs Union and Economic Cooperation
Energy Security
Revitalised accession negotiations
4. Negative Trends in EU-Turkish relations
Regime change in Turkey
The end of the Kurdish peace process
15 July Coup Attempt and the Post-Coup relations with the West
5. Unfolding Trends
The refugee deal and its implementation
The ongoing turmoil in the neighbourhood

Research area