Thorny Relations with the EU under AK Party Rule: Challenges and Prospects

Turkey-EU relations have historical significance in terms of politics, societal structures along with the longevity of Turkey's EU accession process. The relationship between them should not be seen as one in which the EU requires and Turkey fulfills accordingly. A multi-dimensional and reciprocal approach is necessary to evaluate the flow of relations rather than short-term or daily political ups and downs. This paper analyzes the relationship between Turkey and the EU under successive AK Party governments in chronological order, along with political and social reflections by focusing on the main turning points and considering the development of relations in the long-run of politics.


Relations between Turkey and the European Union (EU) have faced many highs and lows since Turkey's initial application to the European Economic Community in 1959. Therefore, in order to understand certain vicissitudes in Turkey's EU membership process under successive AK Party governments, it is necessary to take into account both historical and reciprocal perceptions of the relations between these two. In order to build a comprehensive understanding, it is necessary to base the discussion on the fact that, Turkey-EU relations should be seen as dynamic and reciprocal in the flow of history. Both sides have faced dramatic social, economic and political changes with regard to the internal dynamics or developments that have taken place at the international level. Moving towards more specific objectives, the first AK Party government defined full membership to the EU as its strategic goal in the area of foreign policy.

Source: Insight Turkey