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European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations
Turkey

Membership status

Candidate country

Background

In 1987, Turkey applied to join what was then the European Economic Community, and in 1999 it was declared eligible to join the EU.

Turkey's involvement with European integration dates back to 1959 and includes the Ankara Association Agreement (1963) for the progressive establishment of a Customs Union (ultimately set up in 1995).

Accession negotiations started in 2005, but until Turkey agrees to apply the Additional Protocol of the Ankara Association Agreement to Cyprus, eight negotiation chapters will not be opened and no chapter will be provisionally closed.

State of play

Turkey is a key strategic partner of the EU on issues such as migration, security, counter-terrorism, and the economy, but has been backsliding in the areas of democracy, rule of law and fundamental rights. In response, the General Affairs Council decided in June 2018 that accession negotiations with Turkey are effectively frozen. A visa liberalisation dialogue was launched in 2013. The third Report on progress by Turkey in fulfilling requirements of its visa liberalisation roadmap was published in May 2016 and found seven outstanding benchmarks to be met by Turkey. Turkey’s economy is facing several challenges, such as high unemployment and high inflation. Strong economic volatility has undermined the business environment and overreliance on external financing has created vulnerabilities.

Turkey is seeing an unprecedented and continuously increasing influx of people seeking refuge from Syria which has exceeded 3.6 million to date (out of a total of 4 million). Overall, Turkey is the country in the world hosting the highest number of refugees, and has already spent significant financial resources on addressing this crisis. A Joint EU-Turkey Action Plan was agreed in October 2015 and was activated at the EU-Turkey Summit on 29 November 2015. The Action Plan aims at bringing order in the migratory flows and stemming the influx of irregular migration. The EU and Turkey reconfirmed their shared commitment to end irregular migration from Turkey to the EU, to break the business model of smugglers and offer migrants an alternative to putting their lives at risk in their  joint statement of 18 March 2016 .

The establishment of the EU Facility for Refugees in Turkey at the end of 2015 aimed to provide the European Union with a coordination mechanism that should allow for the swift, effective and efficient mobilisation of EU assistance to refugees in Turkey.

The EU Facility for Refugees in Turkey is the answer to the EU Member States’ call for significant additional funding to support refugees in the country, and coordinates the mobilisation of €6 billion, in two tranches. The first tranche serves to fund projects running until mid-2021 latest (most projects finish earlier). The second tranche serves to fund projects running until mid-2025 latest (most projects will finish earlier). The Facility’s priority areas  are education, health, protection, basic needs, socio-economic support and municipal infrastructure. The full operational budget of the Facility was committed in November 2019.

The Facility coordinates and streamlines actions financed from the Union's budget and bilateral contributions from EU Member States in order to enhance the efficiency and complementarity of support provided to refugees and host communities in Turkey. This represents a major additional support for refugees and host communities in Turkey.

The EU Facility for Refugees in Turkey

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Negotiation chapters

OpenProvisionally closed

Free Movement of Capital
Company Law
Intellectual Property Law
Information Society and Media
Food Safety, Veterinary & Phytosanitary Policy
Taxation
Statistics
Enterprise & Industrial Policy
Trans-European Networks
Environment
Consumer & Health Protection
Financial Control
Regional policy & coordination of structural instruments
Economic and Monetary Policy
Financial and budgetary provisions

Science and Research

The EU Delegation in Ankara provides more information on Turkey.

Factsheets and Factographs available to download:

Timeline

  1. March 2019
    54th EU-Turkey Association Council held.
  2. 28-09-2016
    Third Implementation Report.
  3. 30-06-2016
    Accession conference with Turkey: Talks opened on Chapter 33 - Financial and budgetary provisions.
  4. 15-06-2016
    Second Implementation Report.
  5. 04-05-2016
    Third Report on visa roadmap.
  6. 20-04-2016
    First Implementation Report of Statement.
  7. 18-03-2016
    EU-Turkey Statement.
  8. 14-12-2015
    Negotiations are opened on chapter 17 - Economic and monetary policy.
  9. 29-11-2015
    First EU-Turkey Summit held and Joint EU-Turkey Action Plan activated.
  10. 20-10-2014
    First implementation report on the visa roadmap.
  11. 16-12-2013
    Visa liberalisation dialogue launched and EU-Turkey Readmission Agreement signed.
  12. 05-11-2013
    Negotiations are opened on chapter 22 – Reg. Policy and Coordination of Structural Instruments.
  13. 17-05-2012
    Positive Agenda intended to bring fresh dynamics into the EU-Turkey relations was launched.
  14. 30-06-2010
    Negotiations are opened on Chapter 12 (food safety, veterinary and phytosanitary policy).
  15. 19-02-2008
    Council adopts revised Accession Partnership for Turkey.
  16. 11-12-2006
    Because Turkey refused to apply to Cyprus the Additional Protocol to the Ankara Agreement, Council decides that eight chapters will not be opened.
  17. 01-06-2006
    Negotiations are opened and closed on Chapter 25 (science and research).
  18. 03-10-2005
    Council adopts negotiating framework, and negotiations are formally opened.
  19. 03-10-2005
    "Screening process" begins to determine to what degree Turkey meets the membership criteria and what remains to be done.
  20. 16-12-2004
    European Council declares that Turkey sufficiently fulfils the criteria for opening accession negotiations in October 2005.
  21. 19-05-2003
    Council adopts revised Accession Partnership for Turkey.
  22. 24-03-2001
    Council adopts Accession Partnership for Turkey.
  23. 11-12-1999
    Helsinki European Council declares Turkey a Candidate Country.
  24. 13-12-1997
    Luxembourg Council summit declares Turkey eligible to become EU member.
  25. 31-12-1995
    Turkey-EU Association Council finalises agreement creating a customs union.

Key documents

General publications | | Directorate-General for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations

Turkey Report 2020

General publications | | Directorate-General for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations

Turkey Report 2019

General publications | | Directorate-General for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations

Turkey Report 2018

Background document | | Directorate-General for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations

Turkey Report 2016