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The EU and Turkey in Energy Diplomacy

Since 2000, Turkey’s Europeanisation process has affected the country’s foreign policy both as a structural and a conjunctural factor. As a structural factor, the EU has had a good deal of influence on Turkey’s political and security culture by introducing elements of “soft power” and by expanding the number of Turkey’s foreign policymaking agents, particularly in the realm of “pipeline diplomacy.” As a conjunctural factor, the EU has affected Turkey’s foreign policy rhetoric by introducing new negotiating chips, and thus complicating the “bargaining” process. However, in order for Turkey’s energy diplomacy to achieve its goals, Turkey’s strategy towards the Middle East and the Caucasus must become coherent and its approach towards the EU, the US, and Russia, balanced. Most importantly, the question of whether Turkey perceives “pipeline diplomacy” as a means to achieve energy independence, thus enhancing its security, or as leverage to increase its power, thus leading to its recognition as a regional hegemon, remains open.

The EU and Turkey in Energy Diplomacy
Turkey’s goal to become an energy hub between Asia and Europe does not represent a shift eastwards; rather, it aims at strengthening its negotiating chips towards the EU.
 

Since 2000, Turkey has engaged in a phase of political and economic reforms in order to become a full member of the European Union (EU). The process of “Europeanisation” has had an impact on Turkey’s foreign policy both as a structural and as a conjunctural factor.

As a structural factor, the EU has affected Turkey’s political and security culture by accommodating elements of “soft power” and by expanding the number of agents involved in foreign policy making. This became very evident after Professor Ahmet Davutoglu was appointed Foreign Minister in May 2009 and even more noticeable after the August 2008 Georgian-Russian war, a crisis that created an opportunity for Turkey to become more involved in the wider Black Sea region and the Caucasus. 

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