RELATIONS WITH THE EU
The European Union and Türkiye
Key findings of the 2022 Report on Türkiye:
Türkiye is a key strategic partner of the EU on issues such as climate, migration, security, counter-terrorism and the economy.
In 1987, Türkiye applied to join what was then the European Economic Community, and in 1999 it was declared eligible to join the EU.
Türkiye's involvement with European integration dates back to 1959 and includes the Ankara Association Agreement (1963) for the progressive establishment of a Customs Union (ultimately set up in 1995).
Accession negotiations started in 2005, but until Türkiye agrees to apply the Additional Protocol of the Ankara Association Agreement to Cyprus, eight negotiation chapters will not be opened and no chapter will be provisionally closed.
In 2018, due to continuing backsliding in reforms in the key areas of the enlargement strategy, in particular in the functioning of the democratic system, respect for fundamental rights and independence of the judiciary, the Council decided that accession negotiations were at a standstill.
The June 2022 European Council expressed deep concern about repeated actions and statements by Türkiye and recalled its previous conclusions and the statement of March 2021.
Click here for more information including visa liberalisation dialogue, the EU Facility for Refugees Turkey, pre-accession assistance and the European Fund for Sustainable Development Plus (EFSD+).
European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations:
The Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance (IPA)
Overview - Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance (IPA)
IPA is the means by which the European Union (EU) has been supporting reforms in the enlargement region with financial and technical assistance since 2007.
Türkiye - financial assistance under IPA
For 2014 - 2020, IPA II funding allocated for Türkiye amounted to €3.19 billion. This includes IPARD (IPA Rural Development), Cross Border Cooperation with EU Member States and Erasmus+, but excludes allocations to the EU Facility for Refugees in Turkey, additional support for refugees, migration and integrated border management.
Priority sectors include:
- Democracy and governance
- The rule of law and fundamental rights
- Environment and climate action
- Transport and energy
- Competitiveness and innovation
- Employment and social policies
- Agriculture and rural development
- Regional and territorial cooperation.
IPA funds are implemented via the below types of financing:
Service Contracts: Meant for studies, technical assistance, audits or communication services.
Supply Contracts: They cover the purchase, leasing, rental or hire purchase of products.
Work Contracts: Works contracts cover either the execution, or both the execution and design, of works or related work. Works contracts are usually concluded by the partner country with which the European Commission has a financing agreement.
Grants: A financial donation/non-commercial payment by the contracting authority given to a specific grant beneficiary. The body signing a grant contract is known as the grant beneficiary and should not be confused with the partner country, the final beneficiary of the operation nor with the target group.
Twinning: An instrument for institutional cooperation between the Public Administrations of EU Member States and beneficiary or partner countries. Twinning projects bring together public sector expertise from EU Member States and beneficiary countries with the aim of achieving concrete mandatory operational results through peer-to-peer activities.
The political context in EU-TÜRKİYE relations has progressively deteriorated over the past years, bringing to a virtual halt the various instruments and processes for bilateral engagement and cooperation.
EU-Türkiye relations have deteriorated over the past years, due to continuous democratic backsliding in Türkiye, bringing accession negotiations to a standstill and halting several processes for bilateral engagement and cooperation.
EU-Türkiye relations remain framed in the country’s accession process, though this continued to be at a standstill, due to deeply worrying backsliding in the areas of democracy, rule of law, and fundamental rights over the last years.
In accordance with the June 2021 European Council, the EU is engaged with Türkiye in a phased, proportionate and reversible manner to enhance cooperation in a number of areas of common interest, notably climate change, health, migration, agriculture, counterterrorism, and research and innovation.
ECONOMIC AND TRADE RELATIONS
EU-TÜRKİYE TRADE RELATIONS ARE GOVERNED BY THREE PREFERENTIAL TRADE AGREEMENTS.
The EU-Türkiye Customs Union, created in 1995, covers trade in industrial goods and thus the bulk of trade flows.
In addition to the Customs Union, the Association Council agreed a free trade agreement for agricultural products in 1998. In 1996, the European Coal and Steel Community and Türkiye concluded a separate free trade agreement on coal, iron and steel products.
Click here for more information on EU trade relations with Türkiye: facts, figures and latest developments.
EU response to the refugee crisis in TÜRKİYE
TÜRKİYE's geographical position makes it the first reception and transit country for many refugees and migrants.
Türkiye currently hosts over 4 million refugees and the EU is committed to assisting Türkiye in dealing with this challenge. The EU Facility for Refugees in Türkiye, managing a total of €6 billion in two tranches, provides for a joint coordination mechanism, designed to ensure that the needs of refugees and host communities in Türkiye are addressed in a comprehensive and coordinated manner. The Facility focuses on humanitarian assistance, education, migration management, health, municipal infrastructure, and socio-economic support. In addition to the € 6 billion contracted under the Facility for Refugees in Turkey (FRIT), an additional €3 billion was committed in late 2021 (post-facility funding), plus €1 billion in the new EU-Trust fund. The June 2021 European Council called on the Commission to put forward without delay formal proposals for the continuation of financing for Syrian refugees and host communities in Türkiye (and other parts of the region) in line with the statement of the Members of the European Council of March 2021 and within the context of the EU’s overall migration policy.
Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid
Find out EU projects in the country on Migration and Forced Displacement
Supporting civil society is a priority area in the EU’s relations with TÜRKİYE. A dynamic civil society can help shape government policy and make sure that the voices of people are heard.
This is laid down in the Revised Indicative Strategy Paper for Türkiye 2014-2020 as well as in the Guidelines for EU support to civil society in enlargement countries, 2014-2020, EU support to civil society has three objectives:
- supporting the development of civil society so that it plays a more active role in democratic policy and decision-making processes;
- promoting a culture of fundamental rights and dialogue; and
- enhancing dialogue and cultural exchange between civil societies in Türkiye and Europe.
The EU’s Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance (IPA) places specific emphasis on the need to support the development of Türkiye's civil society.
Actions mainly focus on:
- an enabling legal and policy environment, for the exercise of the rights of freedom, expression, assembly and association;
- an enabling financial environment which supports sustainability of CSOs;
- civil society–public sector cooperation; and
- civil society development and sustainability.
IPA assistance for civil society is also managed by the EU Delegation to Türkiye through the Civil Society Facility (CSF).
THE EU HAS PLEDGED SUPPORT FOR HUMAN RIGHT DEFENDERS IN TÜRKİYE. IT HAS DEVELOPED A LOCAL STRATEGY TO FOCUS ON RELEVANT ISSUES
The EU Delegation to Türkiye and the EU diplomatic missions to the country have adopted an EU Local Strategy to support human rights defenders in Türkiye.
The strategy was drafted with inputs from Turkish Human Rights Defenders (HRDs). It provides operational guidelines for EU Missions to implement the EU's Guidelines for Human Rights Defenders. Under the strategy, regular meetings take place every year with EU missions, HRDs and NGOs. In addition, a liaison officer has been appointed to secure local assistance when needed.
Along with the guidelines, financial support for human rights defenders is also provided under the Thematic Programme on Human Rights and Democracy as well as with funding from the Civil Society Facility
For assistance or more information about the local strategy, please contact: email@example.com
TÜRKİYE 2022 Report
Accompanying the document
Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions
2022 Communication on EU Enlargement policy