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Refugee Crisis: Two-edged sword in EU-Turkey relations?

CEPS Conference room
Place du Congrès 1 - 1000 Brussels

Participation in this event is exceptionally free of charge. A light lunch will be served from 13.30 onwards.

CEPS Event

Refugee Crisis: Two-edged sword in EU-Turkey relations?


Event organised by CEPS in cooperation with FES and TUSKON

The ongoing refugee crisis has brought to the fore the EU’s vital social and security concerns. Faced with divisions regarding the internal management of the most challenging crisis it has faced since World War II, the EU is heavily relying on some of its neighbouring countries to stem the migratory flows.

In this context, Turkey’s strategic importance for the EU has been raised to a new level. The Turkish government has been offered key financial, economic and political incentives in exchange for its best efforts to host millions of Syrian refugees and to prevent them from embarking for Europe. The past few months have proven that expectations are difficult to meet. Indeed, the political, security and economic landscape in and around Turkey are not conducive to realising the country’s foreign affairs objectives.

At the present juncture, EU-Turkey relations seem to be evolving towards a strategic partnership rather than Turkey’s full integration into the Union. The EU is prioritising its core interests even if this comes at the expense of promoting the principle of democracy and the rule of law. For its part, the Turkish government seems intent on capitalising on the current weakness of the EU. What are the benefits and drawbacks from the refugee crisis for each of the partners and where is their bilateral relationship heading?

Uwe Optenhögel

Head of Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung EU Office

Speakers list
Aysegul Kayaoglu Yilmaz

Istanbul Technical University

Javier Niño Perez

Head of Turkey Division, European External Action Service - EEAS

Kati Piri

MEP, Rapporteur on Turkey, European Parliament

Catherine Woollard

Secretary General, ECRE