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Joint Panel by Istanbul Policy Centre and CETEUS on “EU-Turkey Relations in Times of Global and Regional Turmoil”

“The good news is – this is such a turmoil that no actor can handle it alone” concluded Prof Fuat Keyman, Professor at Sabanci University and director of Istanbul Policy Centre (IPC), in view of the regional and global conflicts that confront Turkey and the EU.

Supported by Stiftung Mercator and chaired by Prof Wolfgang Wessels, CETEUS welcomed distinguished experts from Germany and Turkey in Cologne on 19th April. Prof Fuat Keyman, Dr Metin Gürcan (IPC), Prof Atila Eralp (IPC, Middle East Technical University Ankara), Assoc Prof Senem Aydin-Düzgit (IPC, Sabanci University), Hanna-Lisa Hauge (CETEUS) and Wolf-Ruthart Born (former State Secretary and German ambassador to Turkey) shared their views on EU-Turkey relations in exchange with a public audience.

The conflicting interests of actors involved in the Syria conflict that determine Turkey’s security environment were laid down briefly. In view of the “strategic partner” narrative being currently the dominant one in EU-Turkey relations, the panel underlined the need to establish a rule-based cooperation. One point of discussion was that negotiations on the Customs Union upgrade would be more fruitful to all actors than a further cooldown of the relations. The potential impact of a revitalized German-Franco friendship on EU-Turkey relations were outlined as well. The general conclusion was that the current regional conditions made it necessary for Turkey and the EU to work closer together.