[former "Turkey, Europe and the World: Political, Economic and Foreign Policy Dimensions of Turkey's Evolving Relationship with the EU"]
The overarching theme and assumption of the project is that the EU is changing, Turkey too, and above all there is systemic change and crisis all round, ranging from economics, the spread of democratic norms and foreign policy. In view of this, since 2012 IAI, the Istanbul Policy Centre and the Mercator Foundation have been conducting a project on EU-Turkey relations. This project aims at exploring how the EU and Turkey can enhance their cooperation (within, not necessarily beyond the accession process), in the political, economic, security and foreign policy domains.
Over the years Global Turkey in Europe (GTE) has built a core exchange and dialogue group as well as solid baseline of publication on all pillars in EU-Turkey relations.
In 2014/15, the project prioritized the following issues: democracy, trade & commerce and the Kurdish question. In particular, these themes were explored through a series of working papers, policy briefs and commentaries. In this cycle, a greater focus was placed on outreach and dissemination, with selected publications being published in the national and international print media and publicized through the use of social media tools. A new 'GTE question of the month' feature was included on IAI website where each month a select number of experts commented on a given question with answers of about 200 words.
In 2016/17, GTE moved beyond the expert focus, to become more political, with the aim of triggering transformation in the public debates on Turkey and the EU. GTE IV focused on the issue of migration in EU-Turkey relations and provided groundwork to stake out the key dimensions within which the refugee and migration issue could be discussed from an EU-Turkey perspective. The topic was explored through the organization of five closed-door meetings among different stake-holders in Istanbul, Athens, Rome, Budapest and Berlin, in coordination with Istanbul Policy Center – Sabanci University (IPC)
GTE V - through study trips and interactive seminars to be spread over two years - will generate engaged discussion on six priority issues: (i) the future of accession negotiations; (ii) modernization of the customs union; (iii) sustainability of migration management cooperation; (iv) energy convergence; (v) security cooperation; and (vi) the EU’s embrace of civil society in Turkey.
Indeed, after the approval of Turkey’s constitutional change, the question of the formal suspension of accession negotiations is hanging over EU-Turkey relations, and new thinking for alternative frameworks is needed, as the EU and Turkey remain strategic partners.
While ensuring a solid research basis through developing synergies with FEUTURE, GTE V will also enhance its engagement with the whole spectrum of political actors (parliamentarians, civil society organizations, industry and business people, journalists and mainstream media, among others) in order to constructively transform public debates.