Turkey and the EU need each other. Even in a context of tense relations, harsh rhetoric and a near dead accession process, they approach each other. In anticipation of a marriage that may never come, there is cooperation in various areas today. Think of the refugee deal, counter-terrorism, trade, energy, ... Is there a new friendship or rather a forced LAT relationship without passion?

The current new relationship seems pragmatic, more economically oriented, based on common goals and self-interest. In the used jargon: a transactional partnership. The idea has been mooted to make this approach more formal. After all, such a relationship has advantages: it is defined, clearer, fairer, more effective and marketable in both the EU and Turkey.

But there are also disadvantages. Little attention will be given to human rights and other values and standards. Is this the pinnacle of European opportunism? What remains of Europe as the great human rights defender in such a relationship?

Illustration: © Serge Baeken

Team members

Sarah Lamote

Sarah Lamote is a Belgian journalist based in Ankara, Turkey, where she has lived since the end of 2017.

A working grant of € 2.900 allocated on 08/07/2018.


'Niet getrouwd, wel bij elkaar op de schoot', Knack 24 april 2019.  (in Dutch)


'Turkije en de EU: waarom Ankara en Brussel tot elkaar veroordeeld te zijn', Knack.be, 24/03/2019.

'Sinds de vluchtelingendeal is Europa minder kritisch voor Turkije', Knack.be, 24/03/2019.

(in Dutch)

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