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Turkey’s Accession to the European Union: The Impact of the EU’s Internal Dynamics


  • Author’s note: This paper emanates from RECON (Reconstituting Democracy in Europe), an Integrated Project supported by the European Commission’s Sixth Framework Programme (contract no. CIT4-CT-2006-028698).


The relationship between Turkey and the EU entered a new phrase on October 3, 2005 with the opening of Turkey’s accession negotiations. This paper proposes that the specific juncture that European integration finds itself in and the perceptions of Turkey’s fit into Europe are the main variables around which member states’ preferences and the European public’s position on the Turkish accession are shaped. This is different from arguing that Turkey’s adoption of the EU acquis would determine its accession. Turkey’s adoption of the EU acquis/criteria is necessary but not sufficient on its own, as other factors will shape Turkey’s accession. These factors are the convergence of member states’ interests, the public approval and the EU’s internal dynamics. This paper concludes by arguing that the interplay of the utilitarian concerns, the ideational factors and the EU’s internal dynamics is the key to understand the conditions under which Turkey’s accession talks will proceed.

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