The Influence of the European Union on Turkish Foreign Policy

By Brockett, Gavin | International Journal of Turkish Studies, January 1, 2012 | Go to article overview

The Influence of the European Union on Turkish Foreign Policy


Brockett, Gavin, International Journal of Turkish Studies


ÖZLEM TERZI, The Influence of the European Union on Turkish Foreign Policy (Ashgate, 2010). Pp. 176. $99.95 cloth.

REVIEWED BY GAVIN BROCKETT, Department of Middle East and Islamic History, Wilfrid Laurier University, Waterloo, Ontorio, Canada; e-mail: gbrockett@wlu.ca

This book explores just how much the European Union has influenced Turkish foreign policy in the decade since Turkey was granted candidate status in 1999. It serves very well as a carefully documented account of Turkish foreign policy in this period: in this context author Özlem Terzi also tries to develop an analytical perspective that recognizes both the transformative power of the EU and its limits on those not within its borders, although it is not clear how novel this contribution really is. The impact of "Europeanization" on EU member states has long been the subject of study, but Terzi points out that only recently have scholars begun to examine the impact of Europeanization on candidate countries in Central and Eastern Europe. Her contribution, therefore, is to add to this perspective through an analysis of Turkey's politics and foreign relations throughout its first ten years as a candidate in the seemingly endless process of joining the European Union.

Following an introduction to the theoretical literature related to Europeanization, the book is divided into two parts. The first part demonstrates Terzi's concern to move beyond an "issue specific focus" and instead to provide an "actor-based focus." In these chapters she concentrates on the changing "perceptions, values and behaviours" of the various parties involved in determining Turkey's foreign policy. The analysis in these chapters is perceptive and well thought-out. Terzi dissects the different policies of the major political parties towards the EU and demonstrates not only similarities and differences, but how a particular party's position changed over time. She is sensitive to how the historical and social roots of each party have affected its attitudes towards the EU. At the same time, she argues that a party's stated policy may not, in fact, be reflected in its actions once it attains power. She attributes this not only to pragmatism resulting from having to actually implement policy in the context of real developments, but also to the fact that various other actors were able to influence that policy. In particular, Terzi examines the critical role of the military and also the emerging role of civil-society organizations. In the case of the former, she documents the reasonably well known story of how the Justice and Development Party (AKP) has managed to diminish the power of the military and pursue a diplomatic "softpolicy" in place of the confrontational "hard policy" that the military promoted in regard to foreign affairs in the 1990s. With reference to civil-society organizations, Terzi explains how Europeanization has led to the growth of these non-governmental actors-both in terms of business and human-rights organizations-and how they have contributed to the formulation of Turkish foreign policy.

The second part of the book provides an analysis of different aspects of Turkish foreign policy since 1999, but especially since the electoral victory of the Justice and Development Party in November 2002. In these chapters Terzi puts into practice her overall theory regarding both the factors that contribute to foreign policy and the varying degree to which the EU influences it. One chapter concentrates on Turkey's troubled relationship with its neighbors Greece and Armenia. Because Greece is an EU member, its inconsistent and frequently changing policies towards Turkey have inevitably influenced how the EU has approached the various Greek-Turkish problems. Notably, Greece sees Turkish inclusion in the EU accession process as a means by which to encourage Turkey to alter its policies. Just as Turkey's difficulties with Greece have not been resolved, however, neither have the rather different problems between Turkey and Armenia. …

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