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Assessing Turkey’s Foreign Policy Choices towards the European Union

Turkey adopted a new strategy for its European Union accession process in 2014, in an attempt to revitalize its relations with the EU. Turkish foreign policy towards the European Union has remained consistent with full membership as its main goal. However, since 2013, there have been significant challenges for the realization of that foreign policy objective, with the altering geopolitical environment and the changing preferences in the European Union. Turkey’s own foreign policy choices towards the EU were impacted by the loss of both EU’s credibility in its enlargement policy and its attractiveness as an economic magnet. This paper analyzes the role of the EU specific external factors on Turkish foreign policy, and assesses the reformulation of Turkey’s relations with the European Union after 2014. The main conclusion of the paper is that Turkey’s foreign policy towards the EU has altered and a new pattern of cooperation is emerging between these two players.

Assessing Turkey s Foreign Policy Choices towards the European Union
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Cavuşoğlu and Federica Mogherini, High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, hold a joint press conference following the Turkey-EU High Level Political Dialogue Meeting on September 9, 2016 in An

Introduction

When Turkey adopted a new strategy for its relations with the European Union in 2014 in order to revitalize the accession process as well as open new avenues of integration, this constituted a critical step in marking the priorities in Turkey’s foreign policy. While Turkey’s accession to the EU still seemed far off, the new strategy, nonetheless, signaled a renewed commitment to the EU. The changing geopolitical conditions since 2013 –increasing uncertainty in the Middle East, a more proactive Russian presence on the European soil, and instability around the Turkish borders –necessitate the continuation and strengthening of Turkey’s institutional ties to the part of the world that still resonates some stability.

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