Until recently, European Union-Turkey relations have been mutually disappointing. While Ankara has always expressed a strong desire for membership, it has lagged behind in fulﬁlling the so-called Copenhagen political criteria, which are now part of the Union treaty.
The European Commission, Parliament and Council have repeatedly criticised the prominent role of the military in Turkish politics; restrictions on freedom of expression and association; repression of Kurdish identity and language; torture and state violence, especially in the predominantly Kurdish southeast; and Ankara’s uncooperative attitude in the Cyprus conﬂict and in Greek-Turkish disputes.
Plus, all major decisions about advancing relations have been mired in passionate debates about Europe’s identity, borders and purpose. These discussions have been strongly resented in Ankara and provoked accusations of European racism and double standards.