Türkiye has been a candidate country to join the European Union since 1999, and is a member of the Euro-Mediterranean partnership. The EU and Türkiye are linked by a Customs Union agreement, which came into force on 31 December 1995. as a most important parts of business ecosystem, KOSGEB has been involved in EU projects, programs and politics on Business issues.
Türkiye is the only pluralist secular democracy in the Moslem world and has always attached great importance to developing its relations with other European countries. Historically, Turkish culture has had a profound impact over much of Eastern and Southern Europe.
Türkiye began "westernising" its economic, political and social structures in the 19th century. Following the First World War and the proclamation of the Republic in 1923, it chose Western Europe as the model for its new secular structure.
Türkiye has ever since closely aligned itself with the West and has become a founding member of the United Nations, a member of NATO, the Council of Europe, the OECD and an associate member of the Western European Union. During the Cold War Türkiye was part of the Western alliance, defending freedom, democracy and human rights. In this respect, Türkiye has played and continues to play a vital role in the defence of the European continent and the principal elements of its foreign policy have converged with those of its European partners.
Having thus entered into very close cooperation with Western Europe in the political field, it was therefore only natural for Türkiye to complete this in the economic area. Thus, Türkiye chose to begin close cooperation with the fledgling EEC in 1959
Türkiye-EU Historical View
12 September 1963: Ankara Agreement was signed (Effective date: 1 December1964)
1 January 1996: Customs Union between Türkiye and the EU entered into force
10-11 December 1999: Türkiye assumed “candidate status”
3 October 2005: Accession negotiations were launched
12 June 2006: Opening of first Chapter (“Chapter 25-Science and Research”) in the negotiations process (and it was provisionally closed)
14 December 2015: Opening of “Chapter 17-Economic and Monetary Policy”
30 June 2016: Opening of “Chapter 33-Financial and Budgetary Provisions”
16 Chapters have been opened to negotiations so far and 1 of them (“25-Science and Research”) has been provisionally closed.
11 December 2006: The negotiations on 8 chapters cannot be opened (“1-Free Movement of Goods”, “3-Right of Establishment and Freedom to Provide Services”, “9-Financial Services”, “11-Agriculture and Rural Development”, “13-Fisheries”, “14-Transport Policy”, “29-Customs Union” and “30-External Relations”) as a result of the EU Council decision of December 2006 and no chapters can be provisionally closed on the grounds that Türkiye does not undertake its obligations stemming from the Additional Protocol to Ankara Agreement in its entirety
8 December 2009: Following the EU Council meeting of December 2009, Greek Cypriot Administration unilaterally stated that it would block the opening of 6 chapters (“2-Freedom of Movement for Workers”, “15-Energy”, “23-Judiciary and Fundamental Rights”, “24-Justice, Freedom and Security”, “26-Education and Culture”, “31-Foreign, Security and Defense Policy”).
In order to reenergize the accession negotiations, we give priority to the opening of chapters “23-Judiciary and Fundamental Rights”, “24-Justice, Freedom and Security”, “15-Energy”, “26- Education and Culture” and “31-Foreign, Security and Defense Policy”. At Türkiye-EU Summit of 29 November 2015, the European Commission stated its commitment to accelerate the preparatory work for the opening of abovementioned chapters.
The Customs Union
The Customs Union (CU) which was established by Association Council Decision No. 1/95 and entered into force on 1 January 1996, has made a significant contribution to Türkiye economy in twenty years. Trade volume between Türkiye and the European Union (EU), which currently amounts to around €140 billion annually and has increased seven-fold, represents 41% of Türkiye global trade. The EU ranks first as far as imports and exports of Türkiye are concerned. In addition, two thirds of the foreign direct investment to Türkiye currently originates from the EU. Türkiye is the EU's 5th largest partner in trade in goods.
The CU was established bearing in mind that Türkiye would soon become a member of the EU. However, the Parties have faced structural problems regarding the implementation of the CU in the course of time due to certain factors such as the fast growth in Türkiye economy and deepening of EU’s economic relations with third countries. The CU, as it is, has remained incapable of meeting the expectations of both Parties.
The European Commission asked for an advisory opinion from third parties regarding the problems emanating from the implementation of the CU. The World Bank prepared a Report on the subject in March 2014 evaluating the CU with its all dimensions. This Report constitutes the first building block of preparations for the revision process of the CU. The High Level Senior Officials Working Group discussed the chapters to be included in possible future negotiations on the modernization of the CU without prejudice to either party’s future negotiating position. The Parties agreed on a Document forming the negotiation framework on 12 May 2015.
The European Commission asked the Council for a mandate to launch talks with Türkiye with the aim of modernising the CU. Once the Commission is granted the mandate, the negotiations are expected to be launched.
The Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance (IPA)
The Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance (IPA) is the means by which the EU supports reforms in the 'enlargement countries' with financial and technical help. The IPA funds build up the capacities of the countries throughout the accession process, resulting in progressive, positive developments in the region. For the period 2007-2013 IPA had a budget of some € 11.5 billion; its successor, IPA II, will build on the results already achieved by dedicating € 11.7 billion for the period 2014-2020.
Current beneficiaries are: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Kosovo*, Montenegro, Serbia, and Türkiye.
The priority sectors for funding in this period are:
Democracy & governance, Rule of law & fundamental rights, Environment& climate action, Transport, Energy, Competitiveness & innovation, Education, employment and social policies, Agriculture& rural development, Regional and territorial cooperation
For Türkiye Reports prepared by the European Commission: https://www.ab.gov.tr/regular-progress-reports_46224_en.html