From Convergence to Divergence: The Compatibility of Turkish and EU Foreign Policy

This chapter assesses the compatibility of Turkish and EU foreign policies between 1959 and 2020. Based on the analysis of key international developments and Turkey’s alignment with the EU’s Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP), the chapter identifies four periods that were characterized by different degrees of convergence and divergence. In the period between 1959 and 1998 compatibility was relatively high as Turkish foreign policy was guided by the goal of remaining part of the Western community of states throughout the Cold War and its immediate aftermath. Between 1999 and 2002, Turkish foreign policy became regionally more active, in a similar way to that of the EU, but produced few results. The period between 2003 and 2010, up to the Arab Spring, is identified as the ‘golden age’ of compatibility between Turkish and EU foreign policies. Turkey’s prevailing ethos of this period, i.e., relying on soft power and cooperation with neighbors, was generally in line with the EU’s foreign policy approach. Since 2011, divergences between the EU and Turkey have increased, in particular with regard to Syria, Cyprus, and the Eastern Mediterranean. As Turkey defined its norms and interests differently from the EU, its rate of alignment with the EU’s CFSP decreased remarkably. The chapter concludes by looking to the future, arguing that cooperation between the EU and Turkey is likely to focus on issues where there is strong compatibility in selected areas only, such as pandemics, counterterrorism, migration, and energy, and will be primarily based on ad hoc mechanisms.


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Citation Formats
Z. Torun, From Convergence to Divergence: The Compatibility of Turkish and EU Foreign Policy. 2021.