Turkey is a candidate country for EU membership following the Helsinki European Council of December 1999. Accession negotiations started in October 2005 with the analytical examination of the EU legislation (the so-called screening process). Since then the EU closed provisionally one chapter: Science and Research (June 2006). In addition the EU opened negotiations on seven chapters: Enterprise and Industry (March 2007) and Financial Control and Statistics (June 2007), Trans-European Networks and Consumer and health protection (December 2007), Intellectual property and Company law (June 2008). On 18 February 2008 the Council adopted a revised Accession Partnership with Turkey.
Turkey has had a long association with the project of European integration. The European Economic Community (EEC) signed in 1963 the Ankara Association Agreement for the progressive establishment of a customs union. The Ankara Association was supplemented by an Additional Protocol signed in November 1970. Due to the Turkish failure to apply to Cyprus the Additional Protocol to the Ankara Agreement the Council decided in December 2006 that eight relevant chapters will not be opened and no chapter will be provisionally closed until Turkey has fulfilled its commitment. The eight chapters are: Free Movement of Goods, Right of Establishment and Freedom to Provide Services, Financial Services, Agriculture and Rural Development, Fisheries, Transport Policy, Customs Union and External Relations.
The EU established a Customs Union with Turkey in 1995. The scope of the Customs Union covers trade in manufactured products between Turkey and the EU, and also entails alignment by Turkey with certain EU policies, such as technical regulation of products, competition, and Intellectual Property Law. Trade between the EU and Turkey in agriculture and steel products is regulated by separate preferential agreements. The Customs Union has significantly increased the volume of trade between Turkey and EU member states. Today, more than half of Turkey's trade is with the EU. Turkey’s trade with the EU is almost balanced, the deficit being less than € 8.3 billion, and having a share of 13% in Turkey’s total trade deficit. The share of exports to the EU increased slightly from 56.0% in 2006 to 56.4% in 2007. Imports from the EU as a share of total imports declined, from 42.6% to 40.4%, mainly due to the rising import bill for energy, which Turkey imported almost exclusively from non-EU countries. EU foreign direct investments (FDI) in Turkey have reached almost € 9 billion in 2007. They account for about two thirds of total FDI inflows in Turkey and they amount to 3.5% of Turkey's GDP. In the first quarter of 2008, the share of FDI flows from the EU fell further to 53%. Turkey’s main industrial imports from the EU continue to be machinery, automotive products, chemicals, iron and steel. Its main agricultural imports from the EU are cereals. Major EU imports from Turkey include textiles and cloth, machinery, and transport equipment.
Key dates in Turkey's path towards the EU
June 2008 - Negotiations are opened on two chapters: Intellectual property and Company law (June 2008).
February 2008 - Adoption by the Council of a revised Accession Partnership for Turkey.
December 2007 - Negotiations are opened on two chapters: Trans-European Networks and Consumer and health protection
June 2007 - Negotiations are opened on two chapters: Financial Control and Statistics.
March 2007 - Negotiations are opened on the chapter Enterprise and Industry
December 2006 - Due to the Turkish failure to apply to Cyprus the Additional Protocol to the Ankara Agreement, the Council decides that eight relevant chapters will not be opened and no chapter will be provisionally closed until Turkey has fulfilled its commitment. The eight chapters are: Free Movement of Goods, Right of Establishment and Freedom to Provide Services, Financial Services, Agriculture and Rural Development, Fisheries, Transport Policy, Customs Union and External Relations.
June 2006 - Negotiations are opened and closed on the chapter Science and Research
December 2005 - Adoption by the Council of a revised Accession Partnership for Turkey.
October 2005 - Starting of the screening process concerning the analytical examination of the acquis.
October 2005 - Adoption by the Council of a Negotiating Framework setting out the principles governing the negotiations followed by the formal opening of Accession negotiations with Turkey.
June 2005 - The Commission adopts a Communication on the civil-society dialogue between EU and Candidate countries . This communication sets out a general framework on how to create and reinforce links between civil society in the EU and candidate countries.
December 2004 - The European Council defines the conditions for the opening of accession negotiations.
October 2004 - The Commission presents its Recommendation on Turkey's Progress towards accession along with its paper Issues Arising from Turkey's Membership Perspective.
May 2003 - Adoption by the Council of a revised Accession Partnership for Turkey.
March 2001 - The Council adopts the Accession Partnership for Turkey.
December 1999 - EU Helsinki Council recognises Turkey as an EU candidate country on an equal footing with other candidate countries.
December 1997 - At the Luxembourg European Council, Turkey is declared eligible to become a member of the European Union.
1995 - Turkey-EU Association Council finalises the agreement creating a customs union between Turkey and the EU.
April 1987 - Turkey makes an application for full EEC membership.
November 1970 - The Additional Protocol and the second financial protocol are signed in Brussels, preparing the ground for the establishment of the customs union.
September 1963 - An association agreement (known as the Ankara Agreement) is signed, aiming at bringing Turkey into a Customs Union with the EEC and to eventual membership. A first financial protocol to the initial agreement is also signed.
September 1959 - Turkey applies for associate membership of the European Economic Community (EEC).