Turkey’s Long and Winding Road to the EU: Implications for the Balkans

Aybet, Gulnur (2006) Turkey’s Long and Winding Road to the EU: Implications for the Balkans. Journal of Southern Europe and the Balkans, 8 (1). pp. 65-84. ISSN 1461-3190. (The full text of this publication is not available from this repository)

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Abstract

Turkey has come a long way in the past 10 years in terms of becoming a more liberal democracy, and has completed significant reforms in the run up to the December 2004 decision by the EU to open accession negotiations with Turkey on the 3 October 2005. However, while `getting a date' from the EU had undoubtedly been a watershed in Turkey–EU relations, it has also opened a new era in Turkish foreign policy which must now face the serious challenges of reconciling internal and external policy priorities. While the political reforms that Turkey has carried out make headway in reconciling these two strands, it is important to note that during the Cold War, Turkey's sense of belonging in the `West' was not challenged by its internal upheavals from civil unrest to military coups.1 In the post-Cold War era, Turkey has had to adjust its policy outlook through finding a way to come to terms with traditionally sensitive issues that have direct bearing on its national security but which also impact upon its accession process with the EU. Turkey's path towards the EU has not been a straightforward one, in contrast to the recently admitted EU members. While its geo-strategic position and its membership of NATO place it in a unique position in terms of European security, it is also an active participant in transatlantic cooperation to bring stability to the Balkans and the Broader Middle East.2 Turkey not only participates in various peace building missions but also provides training for NATO Partnership for Peace (PfP) countries in peace building exercises. As the Balkans become a disparate entity with regards to the EU as new members, pending members and probable members, it is clear that the EU's role will increase as a catalyst for political and economic reform and transformation throughout the region. With Turkey's present involvement in the region, as well as its bilateral ties with neighbouring countries, and its own accession process into the EU, there is no doubt that a higher EU profile in the Balkans can predominantly have a positive impact on Turkey–EU relations rather than a negative one. However, the hurdles that Turkey still has to go through in its accession process coupled with the next EU enlargement to Romania and Bulgaria, can have repercussions on Turkey's relations with countries of the region. The first part of this paper presents a brief background to the long and winding road of Turkey's bid for EU membership. Subsequent sections look at the December 2004 decision of the EU to open accession negotiations with Turkey and the problems that lie ahead which can impact the accession process. The final section looks at Turkey's role in the Balkans.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled keywords: Turkey, EU, EU enlargement, Balkans
Subjects: J Political Science > JZ International relations
J Political Science > JN Political institutions (Europe)
Divisions: Faculties > Social Sciences > School of Politics and International Relations
Depositing User: G. Aybet
Date Deposited: 11 Sep 2008 09:28
Last Modified: 11 Sep 2008 09:28
Resource URI: http://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/12932 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
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