Turkey and the European Union
12 September 1963: Turkey and the EEC sign an association agreement. This agreement provides for the strengthening of economic and trade relations, with the goal of establishing a customs union in fine.
14 April 1987: Turkey officially presents its candidacy for accession to the EEC.
1 January 1996: The customs union stipulated by the association agreement between the EU and Turkey enters into force.
12-13 December 1997: The Luxembourg European Council confirms Turkey’s eligibility for accession to the EU. A “European strategy”, which aims to prepare [Turkey] by bringing it closer to the Union in every field” is launched.
10-11 December 1999: The Helsinki European Council recognizes that “Turkey is a candidate country destined to join the Union on the basis of the same criteria as applied to other candidate states.” The Council specifies “that a precondition for opening accession negotiations is compliance with the political criteria of Copenhagen.” A pre-accession strategy for Turkey is launched.
26 February 2001: The EU Council adopts an accession partnership that identifies in a single framework the priority areas of action in terms of the progress that Turkey must make on the path to accession to the EU and mobilizes all forms of EU assistance (this partnership was revised in 2003 and 2006).
12-13 December 2002: The Copenhagen European Council decides that “if, in December 2004, the European Council decides, on the basis of a report and recommendation of the Commission, that Turkey meets the political criteria of Copenhagen, the EU will open accession negotiations without delay.” In terms of this, the Council proposes reinforcing the pre-accession strategy by reviewing the accession partnership, extending and deepening the customs union and increasing pre-accession assistance significantly.
6 October 2004: The Commission presents its recommendation concerning Turkey, with a view to the decision that the European Council of 16-17 December 2004 must make. It “finds that Turkey sufficiently fulfils the [Copenhagen] political criteria and recommends opening accession negotiations.”
16-17 December 2004: Based on the Commission’s report, the Brussels European Council decides to open negotiations on 3 October 2005, on the condition that by then, Turkey has implemented six laws identified by the Commission and that it has signed the additional protocol to the Ankara agreement, aiming to extend this agreement to new Member States.
In addition, the European Council asks that by the date set for the opening of negotiations, the Council reach an agreement on the “negotiation framework”, a document that will define the principles and methods that will be used throughout the process.
29 July 2005: Turkey and the EU sign the additional protocol to the Ankara agreement, condition for opening negotiations. However, Turkey adds to this signature a unilateral declaration in which it reasserts that it does not recognize one of the EU Member States.
21 September 2005: In response to Turkey’s declaration, the EU adopts a declaration that stresses that “Turkey must apply the protocol fully to all EU Member States.” It reminds that “Recognition of all Member States is a necessary component of the accession process [and that] accordingly, the EU underlines the importance it attaches to the normalization of relations between Turkey and all EU Member States, as soon as possible.” Turkey’s progress in these areas will be evaluated in 2006 during a specific meeting.
3 October 2005: Accession negotiations opened with Turkey.
Discussions are conducted on the basis of a “negotiation framework” which specifies that “these negotiations are an open-ended process, the outcome of which cannot be guaranteed beforehand. While taking account of all Copenhagen criteria, including the capacity of the Union to accept new members, if Turkey is not in a position to assume in full all the obligations of membership, it must be ensured that Turkey is fully anchored in the European structures through the strongest possible bond.”
The Commission will monitor the capacity of the EU to take on this new Member State during the negotiations, to enable the EU to assess whether this accession condition has been met.
The negotiations will be governed entirely by the principle of unanimity, which means that any State may, at any time, make itself heard. Conditions for closing, and, if necessary, opening negotiations on the 35 chapters will be defined by the EU unanimously: these conditions will in particular concern the alignment of Turkish legislation with the Community acquis, the implementation of this legislation throughout the entire territory, and Turkey’s compliance with its obligations to the EU. Specific provisions, including permanent safeguard clauses, may be stipulated. Finally, in the event of gross and persistent violation of human rights and civil liberties, a negotiation suspension mechanism has been included in the negotiation framework.
14 and 15 December 2006: The European Council ratifies the conclusions of the General Affairs Council of the previous 11 and 12 December. These conclusions note Turkey’s progress, regretting a slowdown in 2006, however. As at this time, Turkey has not fully implemented the Ankara Protocol which extends the Customs Union to States that became members in 2004 and the Republic of Cyprus, in particular, the Council decides to have the opening of eight chapters of negotiations related to the implementation of the Ankara Protocol and the provisional closing of all negotiation chapters be dependent upon Turkey’s full compliance with its commitments under the Ankara Protocol. The European Union continues to monitor the progress made in the issues opened by the declaration of 21 September 2005.
Updated on 03.10.07