Turkey's Relationship With the EU: It's Complicated

Mar 23, 2018 | 16:49 GMT

Social and political differences between Turkey and the European Union show no signs of abating.

Despite the likelihood of discord, there is too much at stake in the EU-Turkey relationship for the two parties to stop working together on some issues. 



  • The European Union and Turkey will seek to relaunch their bilateral relations during a summit March 26.
  • While Turkey will not join the European Union anytime soon, the parties can still cooperate in areas such as updating their customs union agreement.
  • However, issues such as the dispute over Cyprus, EU criticism of Erdogan's domestic policies and Turkey's increasingly unilateral action in the conflict in Syria will continue to generate friction between Brussels and Ankara.

The European Union and Turkey are looking for ways to improve their bilateral relationship after months of strain. On March 26, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and European Council President Donald Tusk will meet with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Bulgaria. Though EU officials have hailed the meeting as an opportunity to relaunch political and economic cooperation, there are simply too many unresolved disputes between the neighbors for that to happen. And despite its ambitions Turkey is unlikely to join the bloc in the next several years, if ever. Unable to fully integrate, Turkey and the European Union will instead cooperate on a case-by-case basis in areas where they share common interests....

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