EU pre-accession funds for border management in Turkey: preparing for membership or safeguarding EU external borders?

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2019
Dikilitaş, Bahar
As a candidate country, Turkey has been supported by Instrument for Pre-Accession (IPA) funds since 2007 in its gradual alignment with the EU acquis, standards and policies. In this context, the funds allocated to integrated border management is highly substantial since it has been allocated more budget than other fields such as civil society, justice and fundamental rights. In addition, the ratio of funds allocated to border management has almost been doubled between two IPA periods. Therefore, it is worth to research whether the purpose of EU funds allocated to this field match with that of IPA and these funds support Turkey towards accession; or it is related with the EU’s own interests to safeguard its external borders through IPA funds. For this purpose in addition to archival research, semi-structured interview has been conducted with Turkish and EU actors operating in this field. In conclusion, this thesis has concluded that while financial assistance to Turkey in the field of border management approximates Turkey towards membership, it also creates a win-win situation and serve the interests of Turkey and EU irrespective of the accession process.