The Impact of Turkey’s EU Accession Process
to Turkey-France Relations
Dr. P. Karatekelioğlu 27/10/2010, CES-METU
Research Question
• To what extent Turkey’s EU membership
process impacts bilateral relations between
Turkey and France?
Challenges and Prospects
Time period of the research presented (1996-2009)
France’s questions / Turkey’s responses
Paper in progress overview
and Trade
Historical Legacy
• History of diplomatic relations (15th century;
establishment of the modern Turkish republic)
• Comparative studies on state tradition
• Cultural relations (education, language, literature;
high schools, universities, cultural centers)
Historical Legacy
• Strategic partnership (NATO as the defense umbrella
of Western democracies during the cold war, military
and strategic alliances)
• Economic and Trade relations (growing intensity of
import-export and investment; partnerships)
• French perspective with regard the EU and Turkey’s
role in the Union; current domestic political and
economic issues in France
Political Discourse
• Existence of ambivalent rhetoric in the EU regarding
Turkey’s membership is a major factor that affects:
full compliance with the EU’s political conditionality
weakens EU’s credibility factor (post-1999; 2004;
negative impact on bilateral relations (i.e. France)
Political Discourse
• French debates questioning the Europeanness of
Turkey and its EU membership (years 2002-2007
peak of debates):
 Different political actors, different perspectives (identity;
political criteria or culture)
 Most influential is governmental level discourse
reflections in the media
Political Discourse
Jacques Chirac (Presidency: 1995-2007; 2002 UMP)
 support to Turkey’s candidacy for EU membership in
December 1999 Helsinki Summit:
“the EU with unanimity voting has recognized Turkey as a
candidate country for EU membership … France as a result of
long lasting multi-dimensional relations between the two
countries (from the period of François 1er and Kanuni Sultan
Süleyman) has given all possible support to this new area of
partnership that will lead Turkey to full membership …”
(13.12.1999, letter to then President Süleyman Demirel).
Political Discourse
Valéry Giscard d’Estaing (Presidency: 1974-1981; President of
European Convention 2002-2003; 2004 UMP)
 Cultural, demographic and political arguments
“Turkey cannot belong to Europe … It is not a European
country … those who have promoted most the enlargement
towards Turkey are the adversaries of the EU ” (November
Political Discourse
Partie Socialiste (PS):
 Supports Turkey’s EU accession process in the condition
that the political conditionality for EU membership is
 speeches of Ségolene Royal
presidential elections campaign
Political Discourse
Nicolas Sarkozy (Presidency: 16 May 2007- ; 2002 UMP):
 Europe needs borders and limits to work efficiently
“It is in the view of the Mediterranean Union that we must
consider the relationship between Europe and Turkey…
Turkey has no place in the EU because it is not a
European country” (February 2007, Toulon speech).
Political Discourse
Nicolas Sarkozy’ s government / French Presidency of the European Council:
July 1, 2008- January 1, 2009:
Discourse shift
economic/trade partnership,
EU harmonization reforms,
common foreign and security policy objectives (peaceful relations with
neighboring countries; cooperation under the framework of UfM);
• Chapter 10 Society of Information and Media; Chapter 4 Free Flow of
Capital opened in December 2008.
Political Discourse
Discourse of French political elite:
 It does not necessarily reflect the French government’s main
position (i.e. François Fillon, Pierre Lellouche, Bernard
Kouchner…) or opposition parties,
 need further analysis and research;
 yet, it is very influential on public debates,
 media coverage (newspapers are main sources of info about
the EU enlargement according to 2002 Special EB survey).
Public Opinion
• According to IFOP, 2004- 2008
 France 67% in 2004 ; 80% in 2008
• According to Special EUROBAROMETER (EB), July 2006
Attitudes towards Turkey’s accession
 EU 48% (Standard EB 64 55% is opposed)
 France 54% opposed higher than EU average
 primarily in the interest of Turkey argument
Public Opinion
Views on Future enlargement, priorities at the EU level
(Flash EB 257, 02/2009):
 Freedom and democratic values (significant)
 Economic issues
 Immigration issues
 Cultural and religious issues
 Stability at EU’s borders
 EU’s role in the world (significant)
 Ageing of European population
Economic and Trade Relations
• Turkey and France
investment partners;
• In France, Business and Trade Unions attitudes are
relatively positive when compared to other domestic
political actors,
• The role of the private sector is very important in
promoting better relations between France and
Economic and Trade Relations
• 1987 established Turkish-France Business Council
under DEİK (events, activities to promote the
development of economic relations)
“French-Turkish Partnership, Being Stronger in
Europe and the World,” October 8, 2009.
Economic and Trade Relations
From January 1996 onwards and specifically between
2000-2009 bilateral trade has increased 156 % and
reached 13.3 billion $
 French import of Turkish products: 6,2 billion € (tenth
after China, Switzerland, UK, Germany)
 French exports to Turkey: 7,0 billion € (twelfth after
Japan, Russia, Spain, Germany)
Economic and Trade Relations
• Export products: road transport vehicles,
electrical devices, coal and steel, energy
producing devices, pharmaceutical…
• Import products: road transport vehicles, textile,
vegetables, fruits, communication devices, energy
producing devices…
Economic and Trade Relations
 Large scale French firms invest in strategic sectors in
Turkey (i.e. Automotive, finance and banking, food,
insurance, cement)
 Renault, Peugeot, Lafarge, Carrefour, Danone, Axa, BNP,
Groupama etc. (more than 50.000 people are employed in
these firms)
 Turkish firms in France increased from 22 to 49 (20002009)
Economic and Trade Relations
• Promotion of investment and trade
• Cooperation in third countries
• Visa, transport quotas and free trade agreements
affects Turkey’s competitiveness under the Customs
Union Agreement
Promoting Political and Cultural Dialogue
There are several other variables that influence French
opinion with regard Turkey’s EU accession:
general attitude towards enlargement,
economic crisis (rising unemployment rates)
cultural issues
Promoting Political and Cultural Dialogue
• EU Strategy for Turkey’s Accession Process, January
I. Official negotiation process,
II. Commitments to the National Programme for the
Adoption of the Acquis (2008),
III. Political Criteria,
IV. Communication Strategy.
Political Dialogue
• Foreign Policy Objectives:
Neighborhood policy; peace-keeping operations
under NATO; fight against terrorism
International economic crisis (economic activities
linking trade and development; common position
for a renewed financial system and fight against
economic crisis; G-20 summit)
Political Dialogue
• Foreign Policy Objectives:
Bernard Kouchner (Minister of Foreign and European Affairs, PS,
Independent 2007- ) visit to Minister of Foreign Affairs Ahmet
Davutoğlu, October 11-12, 2010:
 Expressed political will to deepen cooperation on security
policy and foreign policy (Middle East Policy -peace
process); economic policy (G20 presidency of France);
cultural relations (opening of Lycée Charles de Gaulle).
Cultural Dialogue
• Turkey’s EU Communication Strategy, January 2010:
(1) towards the EU
(2) towards Turkey
 Public institutions, private sector, civil society, media
 to explain the contributions of Turkey’s EU membership,
 i.e. security, culture, democracy, economy arguments,
 different content and methods of communication different
target groups.
Cultural Dialogue
The Cultural Season of Turkey in France
 July 2009 - March 2010
 More than 400 cultural, political, economic
events over the whole French territory
 To promote a better understanding and dialogue
 To present contemporary Turkey
Impact assessment? Need sustainable projects…
Cultural Dialogue
 400.000 Turkish citizens living in France (half of them have
dual citizenship)
 Tourism (nearly 1 million French tourists visit Turkey every
year; 4th EU country)
 Education (third destination for Turkish students)
 Cultural centers, high schools, Galatasaray University
(İstanbul, İzmir and Ankara)

The Impact of Turkey`s EU Accession Process to Turkey