Brexit and Turkey

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The dynamics of Turkey’s relations with the European Union will likely change following the Brexit decision. Though the procedures of the United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union will have been finalized in two years, this historic decision will immediately result in new dynamics. Absent the United Kingdom inside the EU, both the EU and Turkey will likely view each other through new glances.   

 

The first observation to offer in this regard is that with Brexit, Turkey seems to have lost one of the staunch supporters of its eventual accession to the Union. As part of its pro-enlargement policy and in the name of helping transform the EU into a more inter-governmental, economy-based, pragmatic and pro-American regional organization, the United Kingdom has long supported Turkey’s accession to the EU. Referring to Turkey’s contribution to the materialization of European and transatlantic security interests in Europe and the greater Middle Eastern region, British decision makers have lent strong support to Turkey’s EU membership. Turkey’s membership in NATO, strong hard power capabilities, sovereignty-sensitive security culture, critical geopolitical location and pragmatic world-view of its leaders offered the main reason why the successive British authorities have incessantly lobbied on behalf of Turkey’s membership. The British leaders have never desired that the EU become a post-modern, supranational political entity that takes its legitimacy from common European norms and values and manifest a civilizational mission. From the British perspective, the EU should be designed as an intergovernmental organization built on the philosophy of free trade and reflecting the common security and economic interests of its member states. Nothing more, nothing less.   

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