Close relations between the Republic of Turkey and the European Union have existed for a long time.
After the Ottoman Sultanate was transformed into the modern, westward-oriented Turkish Republic under Kemal Atatürk in the 1920s, there have been frequent phases of rapprochement between the country and Western Europe. In 1963, the so-called Ankara Agreement was concluded between Turkey and the then EEC, which gave Turkey a basic prospect of joining the Economic Community.
This course was pursued further, so that in 1999 Turkey became an official candidate for membership of the institution now called the European Union. Finally, in 2005, the accession negotiations began, which continue to this day, even if the impression is not given that they are still being taken seriously. For Turkey has never stepped out of the role of candidate country, and a number of reasons can be cited for the failure of these negotiations.
Apart from the country’s internal political situation, which is often subsumed under “democratic deficits”, there is the question of the situation in Cyprus, which has been divided into a Greek and a Turkish half for almost 50 years. Then there is the problem with the Kurds, which could also put the EU under pressure in view of various concession movements within the EU countries, such as the Walloons in Belgium or the Catalans in Spain. In addition, the country’s location, right on the border with the trouble spots of the Middle East and, even if this will never be heard officially, its large, predominantly Muslim population, is an obstacle on the road to the EU.
Today, Turkey is again increasingly orienting itself towards the East. So how might relations between Turkey and the EU develop in the future?