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TRIANGLE – Blickwechsel in EU/German-Turkish Relations Beyond Conflicts. Towards a Unique Partnership for a Contemporary Turkey?



Turkey and Europe share a long history. During the decades following the foundation of the Turkish Republic, Turkey became member of the Council of Europe as well as the NATO and also signed an association agreement with the then European Economic Community (EEC). In this context, German-Turkish relations have always had a significant impact on European-Turkish relations, as Ankara and Berlin are closely associated with each other through close trade relations and the high number of people of Turkish origin living in Germany. But Turkey plays a crucial role for the EU, too. With regard to multiple policy areas such as migration, foreign and security policy, energy and economics, Ankara has become an important strategic partner. Hence, in times of rapid change within the Turkish political system, in Brussels and also in Berlin uncertainty dominates the political discourse on future perspectives on EU/German-Turkish relations.

The research project TRIANGLE, a cooperation between the Centre for Turkey and EU Studies (CETEUS) at University of Cologne and the Middle East Technical University (METU) in Ankara, therefore, scrutinizes the EU/German-Turkish relations. By adopting a distinct academic approach, the relations´ institutional architecture as well as the dominant narratives shall be assessed. The aim of this comprehensive analysis is to identify possible turning points – a “Blickwechsel” - that might sustainably change the EU/German-Turkish relationship.

The objective of the project is to convey a differentiated and refined picture of Turkey to the public and to point out possible scenarios of EU/German-Turkish relations. During the project’s three-year duration, TRIANGLE will continuously provide current information, assessment and research results via its homepage and social media. Additionally, TRIANGLE will support young researchers and organise events in order to induce public discourse on the issue of EU/German-Turkish relations. 

Duration: 01.01.2017-31.12.2020


Three Steps of Analysis

Mapping the institutional architecture of EU-Turkey relations and German–Turkish relations (WP II)

Tracing the narratives of EU–Turkey and German-Turkish relations in the EU, Germany and Turkey (WP III)

Assessing scenarios of EU-Turkey relations (WP I & IV)


Main Dissemination Activities

Providing ongoing information on EU/German-Turkish relations

Publications (working papers, & policy briefs)

Qualification of young academics

Public and academic events



Project leadership: Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Wessels & Dr. Funda Tekin, Centre for Turkey and EU Studies (CETEUS); University of Cologne

Researchers:  Dr. Mirja Schröder & Anke Schönlau, Centre for Turkey and EU Studies (CETEUS); University of Cologne

Research Assistant: Denise Ersoy, Centre for Turkey and EU Studies (CETEUS); University of Cologne

Project partners: Middle East Technical University in Ankara, Prof. Dr. Atila Eralp, Assoc. Prof. Dr. Özgehan Şenyuva, Ardahan Özkan Gedikli and Nurdan Selay Bedir

More information on the TRIANGLE website.