26 Mar 2014

EU-Turkey Relations: Turning vicious circles into virtuous ones

Steven Blockmans

Download Publication


The coming weeks and months will be decisive for the general tenor of politics in Turkey. The country faces local elections this March, presidential elections in August and general elections next June, while top-level political scandals compound the deterioration in the state of democracy and rule of law. At the same time, stagnation in Turkey’s accession process continues to sour relations with the EU.

In this new Policy Brief, Steven Blockmans puts forward a number of recommendations to help drive the EU accession process forward, namely the early opening of negotiation chapters 23 (judiciary and fundamental rights) and 24 (justice, freedom and security), in line with the EU’s so-called New Approach. In that way reform could not just be assured on paper, but a track record in implementation could be established throughout the process. To achieve this, member states, and Cyprus in particular, need to be persuaded to end their opposition to formulating benchmarks for the opening of accession negotiating chapters 23 and 24.

Steven Blockmans is CEPS Senior Research Fellow and Head of the EU Foreign Policy unit.