Columbia International Affairs Online: Working Papers

CIAO DATE: 03/2010

The new Turkish foreign policy and the future of Turkey-EU relations

Emiliano Alessandri

February 2010

Istituto Affari Internazionali


The article refutes the often-heard argument that Ankara’s recent ‘activism’ in the Middle East indicates that Turkey is ‘drifting away from the West’. Turkey’s improving relations with its neighbors (not only in the Middle East), are mainly a result of the end of the Cold War and of domestic developments which have ‘unlocked’ Turkey, transforming it into a more open and democratic country with an even greater stake in EU membership. At the same time, the many international and domestic changes that have occurred since Turkey was granted candidate status call for a ‘re-foundation’ of the Turkey-EU relationship. Lacking the latter, the future of Turkey-EU relations will indeed remain uncertain.