Turkey Waiting for a Date for the Start of Accession Negotiations

 by Christos Iacovou, Assistant Professor of International Relations


During the last few months, Turkey entered a period of a delicate balancing process,

the outcome of which will probably constitute a turning-point in its Kemalic history.

The ruling Islamic Justice and Development party is going through a period of

political consolidation and popular legitimization after the two electoral victories

it won, a fact allowing Tayyip Erdoğan to enhance his authority internally so as

to lead the country to reforms and, consequently, present himself as a strong

opponent of the Kemalic military and bureaucratic establishment.


The fact that Erdoğan has made Turkey’s accession policy a high priority issue,

together with the psychology of waiting for a date to be set for the start of

accession talks, discourage, at this stage, the hegemonic ambitions of the

Kemalic establishment in foreign policy. However, this is not a strategic

choice; it is rather a tactical move to facilitate Turkey’s intensive diplomatic

efforts to realize its aspirations in December. Greek diplomacy should,

therefore, avoid placing its hopes and expectations for an effective change

in the hegemonic behaviour of Turkey solely on this country’s bid to join

the EU. In the long run, the orientation of Turkish foreign policy will not

be exclusively defined by relations between Turkey and the EU, but by

a series of other developments and complex relations, such as the strategic

options of the US in the area, the course of the Kurdish issue in the

Middle East, the role of Russia, Iran’s relations with the US and developments

in the Arab states of the Near East.



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