Butterfly Effect in Turkey-European Union Relations: Turkey’s Candidacy Process
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From the beginning up to now, Turkey – European Union (EU) relations have been quite problematic. With the Ankara Agreement signed in 1963, the relations were set on a legal basis and continued within the framework of this agreement. However, then-Prime Minister Turgut Özal applied for full membership on April 14, 1987 before reaching the final chapter and the EU-Turkey relations entered a new dimension. After the application for full membership, the EU adopted a partnership model in its relations with Turkey rather than full membership, arguing that it would be useful to sustain relations with this model in the fields of Customs Union, technical area, trade and industry. In this process, when the decision was taken at Agenda 2000 and Luxemburg Summits to negotiate with the former Eastern Bloc countries, Turkey could not even obtain candidacy status. However, Turkey suddenly gained the status of candidate country with the Helsinki Summit held in 1999. Although the capture of Abdullah Öcalan in Kenya embassy of Greece, the US pressures and many other factors such as the 1999 earthquake are stated to be effective in obtaining the candidacy status, the main factor was the correspondence between Bülent Ecevit and Gerard Schröder. After obtaining the candidacy status, the relations between the two parties considerably improved and negotiations between the EU and Turkey started on October 3, 2005. In that vein, this study is designed to elaborate on the EU-Turkey relations from the application for full membership to the process of negotiations. The study is tackled by means of the Butterfly Effect Theory and it will be revealed that simple correspondence has had a major role in the development of the relations between the two sides.