Accession Aspirations Degenerate: A New Chapter for Turkey and the EU


Political and judicial events in 2009 severely undermined Turkey's negotiations to accede to full membership in the European Union (“EU”). The ongoing accession dialogue has proven largely unproductive of its aims, and these new events have clarified the negative environment engulfing the process and warrant the conclusion that Turkey and the EU are better served by recognizing this reality and moving forward to a more constructive chapter of collaboration. In the June 2009 European Parliamentary elections, rightist parties inhospitable to Turkey's EU aspirations won large numbers of seats amid a campaign in which political rhetoric dangerously broadened the range of acceptable criticism of immigration, Islamic culture, and Turkey itself. Concurrently, EU organs and Member States continued an ongoing policy of scrutinizing Turkey's progress to accession with a finer lens than was ever used before, and in fact vetoing the start of negotiations in many chapters of the EU acquis communitaire. Finally, the European Court of Justice issued its powerful Apolostolides v. Orams judgment, and the voters of the northern Cypriot community elected a new nationalist, right-wing government known to oppose the United Nations (“U.N.”) plan to reunite Cyprus on a federal, bi-zonal basis. Both of these latter developments further lessened the likelihood of progress in the U.N. negotiations to resolve the Cyprus division, one of the keys to Turkey's own EU accession aspirations. All of these new developments combine to render Turkey's accession to full membership in the EU improbable in this era, supporting the conclusion that Turkey and the EU should modify the present, unfruitful accession discussion and advance to a new, realistic framework for constructive dialogue and collaboration. Reprinted by permission of the publisher.


Turkey -- Foreign relations, European Union countries -- Foreign relations, European Union countries -- Economic integration, International economic integration, Accession (Law), Property rights



Patrick R. Hugg (Loyola University New Orleans School of Law)



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