Democracy, human rights and civil liberties have long been among the most challenging issues in the relations between Turkey and the European Union. Despite Turkey’s recent authoritarian turn, these challenges have been overshadowed by increased cooperation on a range of issues as well as rising tension in others. Various studies focus on these transactional ties between Turkey and the EU. This article shifts the attention back to the normative pillar of the relations. More specifically, it deliberates on the ways in which the EU could be more effective in supporting democracy, human rights and civil liberties in Turkey. To that end, the article starts with an overview of the areas of cooperation and potentials for clashes between Turkey and the EU, and probes the (dis)incentives for the EU to promote human rights in Turkey. It then elaborates on the EU’s existing instruments and discusses how they can be improved to better support democracy, human rights and civil liberties in Turkey.
Table of contents
Areas of cooperation and conflict in EU-Turkey relations 4
Moving forward in EU support to democracy, human rights and civil liberties 6
The characteristics of EU funding in Turkey 6
The EU’s role in improving resilience in Turkish civil society 10