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Dynamics of European Union's Trade Strategy: Drawing Conclusions for Relations with Turkey

Mehmet Sait Akman

The Communications of 'Global Europe' in 2006 highlights important shifts regarding interests of stakeholders, and the conduct of trade relations of the European Union (the EU) with third countries. It led the EU to embark on an offensive market access strategy and a wide array of ambitious FTA negotiations that the EU alleges to be complementary to its multilateral commitments.This study discusses the external implications of EU's changing trade and growth strategy and makes inferrence for its relations with Turkey. It proposes that EU strategy with its characteristics shall have repercussions not only in trade matters, but also in Turkey's relations with the EU under accession process, at large. The main implication shall be the growing policy divergencies between two sides given the i) global challenges in the world economy; ii) economic and political motives behind actors' changing expectations; and iii) Turkish foreign policy activism (i.e. unilateral actions not necessarily in conformity with the EU position).The study takes note that that the mere existence of the CU, and the ongoing accession talks do not promise a strong basis needed for Turkey's smoother integration into the EU. Because the functioning of the CU and the way the overall relations under an 'open-endedness' principle are handled do not facilitate it. Therefore, both the CU and the 'negotiating framework' need to be restructured in order to reflect the changing dynamics of the world economy and to better accommodate tarnsformed priorities and expectations of stakeholders. Otherwise, the marginal return of the EU membership process, once served as a facilitator for the transformation of the economy, and consolidated democratic credentials in Turkey, shall diminish.

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