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Jean Monnet Seminars Hosted by the IR Department Continue

Assoc. Prof. Sinem Akgül Açıkmeşe from Kadir Has University visited the Department of International Relations on 7th April and delivered a speech entitled “Dynamics of Stagnation in Turkey – EU Relations.” The Seminar was planned by the Jean Monnet Chair of the IR Department Assist. Prof. Dimitris Tsarouhas.
Assoc. Prof. Açıkmeşe began to her speech by giving a brief history of Turkey’s long journey towards the EU membership. She first presented the periods of momentum in Turkish – EU relations such as 2001 political reforms and 2005 negotiations as well as emphasizing the endogenous and exogenous factors behind these momentous times. She argued that between the years 1999-2006 the major external dynamics of the heyday were EU’s commitment to Turkey’s accession and coherent implementation of conditionality erasing the feeling of double standards on Turkey’s part. Favorable domestic factors, according to Assoc. Prof. Açıkmeşe, were governmental commitment, relatively low costs of compliance, societal support as well as the support of actors such as political parties and the military. Later on, she claimed that the relations reached its peak in 2004 but interestingly the lowest moments were experienced at the same time. Next, she mentioned the “stagnation” in relations which has occurred from 2006 onwards due to concerns of double standards resulting in lack of enthusiasm and decreased societal support. Finally, Assoc. Prof. Açıkmeşe discussed future prospects in the light of these arguments.
The discussion followed with a fruitful Q&A session and several questions were asked about the role of the Eurozone crisis in Turkey’s loss of enthusiasm. Answering these questions, Assoc. Prof. Açıkmeşe stated that the EU is not only an economic union and emphasized the distinction between Turkey’s interest in the EU and reform process predicting that in spite of the loss of enthusiasm, reform process may continue.