Turkey's European Future: Behind the Scenes of America's Influence on EU-Turkey Relations

Turkey's European Future: Behind the Scenes of America's Influence on EU-Turkey Relations

Turkey's European Future: Behind the Scenes of America's Influence on EU-Turkey Relations

Turkey's European Future: Behind the Scenes of America's Influence on EU-Turkey Relations

Excerpt

It is striking how often Turkey is mentioned in transatlantic debates over a wide variety of strategic questions. While being a critical partner of both the United States and the European Union, Turkey is viewed very differently on both sides of the Atlantic. For the US, Turkey has been, at least since the inception of the Cold War, a strategic ally. Because of this and because of the centrality of Turkey in a myriad of American foreign policy interests and objectives, there has also been close-to-unanimous US support for Turkey’s European integration. Numerous indeed are the benefits that the US sees in Turkey’s European integration. In Europe, on the other hand, views of and approaches to Turkey are significantly more varied. Testimony to the commitment of both Turkey and the European Union to ever closer ties between the two is the fact that Turkey has been associated with the European integration project almost since its inception and, on the eve of the new century, has been admitted to the EU enlargement process. Aside from all the European and Turkish concerns and uncertainties, the EU enlargement process remains the only official framework for the conduct of relations between Turkey and the European Union. But this does not suggest that there is a hard EU consensus on the desirability of Turkey’s full membership. European debates about Turkey have been varied and have oscillated over time. They have very often acted as proxies of far broader concerns and issues, which drive to the very heart of the European integration process. From a European perspective, Turkey’s EU accession process is fundamentally contested.

On the grounds of these premises, this book sets out to explore how the US, as the first and foremost partner of both the EU and Turkey, has influenced the long and tortured love affair between the two. In doing so, this book does not limit itself to examining how the US has willingly attempted to foster Turkey’s European integration. This is an important story to be told. But it does not capture all the intricacies underpinning the triangle linking the US, Turkey, and the EU together. In order to make sense of the complex . . .

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