EU and turkish foreign policies - synergies for the Southern Caucasus?

Master's Thesis, 2007

51 Pages, Grade: 8,0= 1,6


Table of Content

1. Introduction

2. The EU’s Foreign Policy and Turkish Foreign Policy
2.1. EU Foreign Policy
2.2. Turkish Foreign Policy

3. The European Neighbourhood Policy

4. The Southern Caucasus p.26 4.1. Republic of Armenia
4.2. Republic of Azerbaijan
4.3. Georgia
4.4. Possible Synergies between the EU and Turkey in the Southern Caucasus

5. Conclusion


Annex I. – Structures and Levels of Structural Foreign Policy

Annex II. – The Continuum of Power

Annex III. – EU Grants to Armenia since 1991

Annex IV. – EU Grants to Azerbaijan since 1992

Annex V. – EU Grants to Georgia since 1992

1. Introduction

The European Union (EU)[1], since the end of the bipolar Cold War, aspires to position itself as a global actor on the changed international scene. The foreign policy competences of the EU were enhanced through the introduction of the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP), the intergovernmental second pillar of the EU, with the Treaty on European Union (TEU) in 1992. This pillar was strengthened with the introduction of the European Security and Defence Policy (ESDP) a couple of years later. However, this is not the only foreign policy instrument in the ‘tool kit’ of the EU. Even before the TEU, the EU had foreign policy instruments or policies at its disposal, for example, the Common Commercial Policy (CCP) or Development Cooperation, which are situated in the supranational first pillar. Furthermore, a third component of the EU’s foreign policy are the different policies and interests of the twenty-seven member states[2], which shape the EU’s policy to a considerable extent (Lucarelli, 2006, p.9).

Since the end of the 1980s, the EU also witnessed the accession of twelve new member states[3], mainly from Central and Eastern Europe in 2004 and 2007. These successive enlargements are seen as successes, because they posed many challenges, especially for the Central and Eastern European Countries (CEEC), since they had to ‘start from scratch’ to converge their policies to the acquis communautaire of the EU. In the words of the Commission: “enlargement has unarguably been the Union’s most successful foreign policy instrument” (Commission, 2003, p.5) even though it consumed much time, nerves, and energy from both sides. Nonetheless, the list of potential candidate and candidate countries[4] is long. The EU faces the questions of its geographical limits, on the one hand, and of its own future, after the French and Dutch referenda did not approve the EU Constitution, on the other hand. Both these questions produce much controversy in the EU and are not answered yet.

The European Security Strategy (ESS, 2003) admits that “enlargement should not create new dividing lines in Europe” (ESS, 2003, pp.7-8). Thus, the EU had to find a new path to project its successful ‘transformational diplomacy’, which focuses on the imitation of standards and not so much on the imposition of standards (Dannreuther, 2006, pp.183-184), or, as Schimmelfennig and Sedelmeier (2004) describe it the strategy of rule transfer by conditionality. The European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) was developed, from 2003 onwards, to give the neighbouring countries in the East and South incentives to transform without the prospect of membership, or in the words of Romano Prodi, the former President of the Commission, to give them “‘everything but institutions’” (quoted in Lavanex, 2004, p.688). The ENP includes a wide variety of countries from the western Mediterranean to Eastern Europe, including the Southern Caucasus. The Southern Caucasus countries, Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia, were not included as potential beneficiaries of the policy in the beginning and participate in the ENP only since 2004. They are neighbours of one of the candidate countries, which are naturally not included in the ENP, namely Turkey.

The EU and Turkey have a long-lasting relationship, which already started more than forty years ago. The so-called Ankara Agreement of September 12, 1963, an Association Agreement, was concluded with “[t]he aim [. . .] to promote the continuous and balanced strengthening of trade and economic relations between the Parties”[5] (Ankara Agreement, 1964, Article 2(1)) through the establishment of a customs union in three stages between the EU and Turkey (Article 2(2) (3)). This agreement entered into force on December 1, 1964 and projected the possibility of a future Turkish accession to the EU

[a]s soon as the operation of this Agreement has advanced far enough to justify envisaging full acceptance by Turkey of the obligations arising out of the Treaty establishing the Community, the Contracting Parties shall examine the possibility of the accession of Turkey to the Community (Article 28)[6].

Nevertheless, the relations between the two partners are not always smooth, for example, during the 1980s the political relations were suspended by the EU after a coup d’état by the Turkish military. After the resumption of relations in 1986, Turkey applied for EU membership one year later, but the application was not met favourably by the EU, because the completion of the Single Market until 1992 was the EU’s main priority at that point in time. Thus, the Commission recommended, in 1989, that the abovementioned Customs Union should be completed first, before Turkey would be considered for membership, because this step “would give the Community the opportunity to associate Turkey more closely with the operation of the single market” (Erdemli, 2003, p.5). This recommendation was endorsed and the customs union entered into force in 1996 (Ibid.).

The dissolution of the Soviet Union and the concurrent end of the Cold War presented another challenge to the EU and its relations to Turkey. The iron curtain, which divided Europe since the end of the Second World War, was hoisted and many CEECs wanted to accede to the EU, as mentioned above. Furthermore, Malta and Cyprus applied for membership as well. The EU, to “finally putting an end to the divisions of the past” (Luxembourg Presidency Conclusions, 1997), at the Luxembourg European Council in December 1997, officially launched the enlargement process and specified the procedures for the negotiations. Furthermore, these Presidency Conclusions confirmed once more that Turkey is eligible for membership in the EU. Nevertheless, Turkey did not fulfil the prerequisite Copenhagen Criteria[7] to open negotiations and, on account of this, A European Strategy for Turkey was included to strengthen and prepare the Turkish bid for membership in the future (Paragraph 31ff.).

Turkey was recognized as a candidate country at the Helsinki European Council in 1999 and successive European Council summits welcomed and further encouraged Turkey’s process in fulfilling the Copenhagen Criteria. The Copenhagen European Council (2002) specified a date when negotiation could commence “[i]f the European Council in December 2004, on the basis of a report and a recommendation from the Commission, decides that Turkey fulfils the Copenhagen political criteria, the European Union will open accession negotiations with Turkey without delay” (Council, 2004, p.2). The Commission expressed that “[i]n view of the overall progress of reforms, and provided that Turkey brings into force the outstanding legislation [. . .], the Commission recommends that accession negotiations be opened” (Communication, 2004, p.3). The opening of the negotiations was postponed, because reforms were not sufficiently implemented at the time of the Commission report. Accession negotiations between the EU and Turkey finally started on October 3, 2005.

Even though the negotiations are projected to last at least another ten to fifteen years, or in the worst case even twenty years, Turkey could become an important member state for the EU and an asset to its foreign policy[8]. For this to happen, the foreign policies of the EU and Turkey will have to be supplementary, even and especially now in the phase of negotiations. Thus, the relationships between Turkey, on the one hand, and Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan, on the other hand, have to be friendly to be an asset for the EU. However, the ENP and enlargement, especially with regard to Turkey, are mainly researched separately, because they are two distinctive EU policies. Are the interests and aims of the EU and Turkey in their relations to the countries of the Southern Caucasus compatible and can they lead to synergies? Hence, the essay analyses foreign policy, because it wants to determine what the foreign policy objectives of the EU and Turkey in the Southern Caucasus are, in order to understand if they are compatible. The essay will be organised as follows. Firstly, the main underlying principles of the EU’s foreign policy and Turkish foreign policy will be presented and analysed to understand their general policy objectives and aims. Secondly, the development of the ENP will be described. Thirdly, the EU’s and Turkey’s relations to Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia will be respectively portrayed. Finally, it will be exhibited if the policies are compatible and if they can achieve positive synergies in the Southern Caucasus.

2. The EU’s Foreign Policy and Turkish Foreign Policy

Men, however, cannot forever go on killing one another; and peace is consequently made, till either party thinks itself sufficiently strong to recommence the war. Those who can write draw up these treaties of peace; and the chiefs of every nation, with a view more successfully to impose upon their enemies, invoke the gods to attest with what sincerity they bind themselves to the observance of these compacts. Oaths of the most solemn character are invented and employed, [. . .] to live forever in peace and amity; while [. . .] they take the first opportunity of cutting one another’s throats (Voltaire, 2003, pp.38-39).

2.1. EU Foreign Policy

The EU, as a conglomeration of twenty-seven different nation-states, is a unique actor on the international scene, because sovereignty in a multitude of policy areas has been transferred by the member states to the EU institutions. The foreign policy of the EU includes many specific strands, as was already mentioned in the introduction. Thus, a traditional definition of foreign policy “as the external actions of a state” (Cameron, 2007, p.XIII) is not very helpful to analyse the EU. Foreign policy in the context of this essay is defined, in accordance with Fraser Camerons’s definition, “as all external actions that are undertaken by the actor [i.e. the EU]” (p.XIV)[9], no matter if they are institutionally situated in the first, second or third pillar of the EU’s framework[10].

The global order changed profoundly in the last two decades, because the ‘thick’ global order of the “bipolar framework of the East-West conflict [which] restrained violence [. . .], imposed checks and balances on power, and helped to underpin the political legitimacy of regimes and alliances within each bloc” (Maull, 2005, p.775) disappeared. Instead, a ‘thin’ order “characterized by a pronounced diffusion of legitimate power and authority and hence an absence of effective checks and balances [. . .] and possibly also by widespread [. . .] violence” (p.777) replaced it. Thus, Francis Fukuyama was too optimistic when he proclaimed that “what we may be witnessing in [ sic ] not just the end of the Cold War, [. . .] but the end of history as such: that is, the end point of mankind's ideological evolution and the universalization of Western liberal democracy as the final form of human government” (Fukuyama, 1989, p.1). However, he directly clarified what he means by the ‘end of history’, because “the victory of liberalism has occurred primarily in the realm of ideas or consciousness and is as yet incomplete in the real or material world. But there are powerful reasons for believing that it is the ideal that will govern the material world in the long run” (Ibid.). Furthermore, he concludes that

this does not by any means imply the end of international conflict per se. For the world at that point would be divided between a part that was historical and a part that was post historical. Conflict between states sill [ sic ] in history, and between those states and those at the end of history, would still be possible. There would still be a high and perhaps rising level of ethic and nationalist violence, since those are impulses incompletely played out, even in parts of he [ sic ] post historical world. [. . .] This implies that terrorism and wars of national liberation will continue to be an important item on the international agenda. [. . .] Perhaps this very prospect of centuries of boredom at the end of history will serve to get history started once again (p.16).

The EU is trying to find its place and role in this new post-Cold War global order and tries to promote the ideas and values of liberal democracy through its singular foreign policy, as will be described in the following paragraphs.

At the beginning of the 1990s, former Belgian Prime Minister Mark Eyskens described the EU as «un géant économique, un nain politique et, pire encore, un ver de terre lorsqu’il s’agit d’élaborer une capacité de défenses»[11] (Tyler, 1999). Firstly, beyond all question the EU is an economic giant and global player in this policy area. Secondly, it also has some political weight, however, it often depends on the policy area and on the member states, more specifically if they can find a common denominator and speak with one voice on the topics in question. Thirdly, the probably most important reason why the EU did not develop military capabilities during the Cold War was the security umbrella, which was provided by the United States (US) and especially the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO). This security umbrella also made the European integration project possible in the first place. Since the dissolution of the Soviet Union the EU tried to develop its military capabilities through the ESDP, especially after the conflicts in the former Yugoslavia exposed that diplomatic means alone, without the ability to coerce (through military power) are not sufficient in the current situation. Furthermore, the illusion that war on the European continent was unthinkable at the end of the twentieth century was destroyed by these conflicts as well. The EU describes itself as a global actor in the ESS, because

[a]s a union of 25 states and over 450 million people [. . .] and with a wide range of instruments at its disposal, the European Union is inevitably a global player. [. . .] The increasing convergence of European interests and the strengthening of mutual solidarity of the EU makes us a more credible and effective actor. Europe should be ready to share in the responsibility for global security and in building a better world

(emphasis added; ESS, 2003, p.1).

It is unquestionably an important international actor, which has unique characteristics, even if it does not and probably never will have the military power to rival the US. If one takes the two concepts of ‘presence’ and ‘actorness’ it becomes even clearer that the EU is an important actor. Presence is defined as “the capability of the EU to exert influence on nonmembers” (Ginsberg, 2001, p.46). It is unquestionable that “other international actors cannot fail to notice [the EU’s] resources [. . .], and its internal policies [. . .] affect other international actors” (Smith, 2003, p.104). The difficult task is to translate presence into actorness, which is defined as “the ability to function actively and deliberately in relation to other actors in the international system” (p.105). Sometimes the EU is not able to translate its presence into actorness. Smith names two reasons for this, namely the complicated decision-making system of the EU and the problems to find a common position from all the different interests in any given situation (Ibid.). In its own neighbourhood, the EU nonetheless is very successful to translate its presence into actorness, as the successive enlargements show. Many states, especially those geographically close to the enlarged EU, are attracted by the ‘special’ conduct of EU foreign policy, which differs from other actors, because it is a unique or, in Robert Cooper’s terms, post-modern actor.

Cooper divides the nation-states of the world in his essay The Condition of the World into three categories. The first category comprises the pre-modern nation-states. The second category includes the modern and the third the post-modern nation-states. Since the end of the Cold War “a new form of statehood” (Cooper, 2004, p.3) emerged or, in other words, states behave in a radically different way. For post-modern states or entities, considerations about empire and the balance of power do not play an important role anymore. Furthermore, sovereignty is not as emphasised as before, because these states have other priorities and security is based on openness, transparency, and mutual vulnerability (pp.27-30). To summarise, in “the postmodern world, raison d’état and the amorality of Machiavelli have been replaced by a moral consciousness” (p.31) and “the EU is the most developed example of a post-modern system[, which] represents security through transparency and transparency through interdependence” (pp.36-37). That the EU is a prime example also becomes clear if one looks at the main characteristics of a post-modern state or entity. They include firstly, “[m]ultilevel governance, based on supranational, international, and subnational institutions” (Sorensen, 2001, p.91), which “indicates a diffusion and decentralization of power, both upwards [. . .] and downwards” (p.88). Secondly, “[s]upranational and international institutions are sources of citizenship rights [and a] collective identity is also tied to levels above and below the nation” (p.91). Finally, the economy is characterised by the fact that a “[m]ajor part of [the] economic activity [is] embedded in cross-border networks [and the] ‘National’ economy [is] much less self-sustained” (Ibid.). This seems to be a very positive characterisation, but the problem is that there are other actors on the international scene, both pre-modern and modern states or non-state actors (e.g. Al Qaeda), which can develop into threats. The European approach to counter these threats is mainly based on the extension of cooperation, even though it is also recognised that the EU should not neglect its military capabilities (Cooper, 2004, pp.77-79)[12].

In the same vein of characterisation, Robert Kagan’s essay Power and Weakness describes that “Europe [. . .] is moving beyond power into a self-contained world of laws and rules and transnational negotiation and cooperation” (Kagan, 2002, p.1). Thus, it enters the “post-historical paradise of peace and relative prosperity, the realization of Kant’s ‘Perpetual Peace’[, whereas t]he United States, meanwhile, remains mired in history, exercising power in the anarchic Hobbesian world” (Ibid.). He acknowledges that the EU can play an important role, if it builds up its military capabilities in the future (p.18). Other actors, especially the US, should ‘use’ and acknowledge the possibilities that multilateralism offers. Thus, one can say that the EU is a post-modern actor, which does nonetheless not neglect the importance of military power as it tries to develop independent military capabilities.

Nevertheless, the EU’s foreign policy, as became clear from the preceding paragraphs, is not based on military power. A useful term to describe the EU’s foreign policy is ‘structural foreign policy’, which

refers to a foreign policy which, in the long-term is aimed at influencing or shaping viable and sustainable political, socio-economic and security structures as well as ‘mental structures’ under which states and societies, relations between states and societies, the position of individuals within states and societies, and the international system as a whole operate (Keukeleire, 2004, p.153).

In comparison with traditional foreign policy, which “pays more attention to events, actions and conflicts” (p.154) and is short-term outcome-oriented, structural foreign policies main characteristics are “(1) the long-term perspective and the focus on sustainability, (2) the interrelatedness of the various structures [. . .] and (3) the interrelatedness of the various levels [. . .]” (Ibid.)[13]. Thus, it is also more difficult to achieve viable outcomes with structural foreign policy, because ‘milieu goals’, which aim to “[shape] the external environment or the general circumstances that transcend the state’s own borders” (Keukeleire, 2003, p.46) are very difficult to pursue. The EU nonetheless tries to realise them, for example, with its ENP and other policies with third countries or regions (e.g. Russia; the African, Caribbean, and Pacific (ACP) countries). There are two important caveats, which need to be mentioned. Firstly, policy coherence is a necessary prerequisite to have a successful structural foreign policy. Secondly, attention has to be paid to the different situations of the partner countries and their willingness to adopt certain political, economic, and social principles from the EU (p.48). These caveats will be important later in this essay, when the relationship of the EU with the Southern Caucasus countries will be analysed.

This EU’s particular approach to foreign policy also becomes apparent when one observes the instruments used by the EU to achieve its aims and objectives. The EU is often described as a ‘civilian’[14] or ‘normative’ power, a concept that is contested, because no ‘right’ definition has been agreed upon. A good starting point is that “‘the central component of normative power Europe is that the EU exists as being different to pre-existing political forms, and that this particular difference predisposes it to act in a normative way ’” (emphasis in original, Sjursen, 2006, p.236). Furthermore,

‘its goal is: to domesticate relations between states, including those of its own members and those with states outside its borders. This means trying to bring to international problems the sense of common responsibility and structures of contractual politics which have been in the past associated exclusively with ‘home’ and not foreign, that is alien, affairs’ (quoted in Lavanex, 2004, p.684).

Thus, the EU, according to Maull, pursues six interrelated policy tracks, to promote international peace, one of the EU’s core values, namely

(1) deprivatization of force and the abolition of sources of military power other than that of the state (or international institutions); (2) rule of law and institutions as a means to control the monopoly of force; (3) the encouragement of interdependence and affect control; (4) representative, democratic participation in decision-making; (5) protection of the weak and the pursuit of social justice; and (6) a culture of non-violent management of conflict (Maull, 2005, pp.780-781).

In its efforts to achieve favourable results the EU relies on ‘soft’ power and ‘hard’ power[15], whereas “[s]oft power is the ability to get what you want by attracting and persuading others to adopt your goals”. Thus, “[i]t differs from hard power, the ability to use the carrots and sticks of economic and military might to make others follow your will. Both hard and soft power are important [. . .], but attraction is much cheaper than coercion, and an asset that needs to be nourished” (Nye Jr., 2003).

The EU also uses ‘sticks and carrots’, especially in its relations with its neighbouring countries through conditionality, and it develops its military capabilities at the moment. Thus, some observers argue that the characterization as a civilian power is not accurate anymore, but being a civilian power does not mean that one does not want to deploy force, if it is deemed necessary, to achieve a goal. Force can be used, because “[s]oft power is useful[, b]ut foreign policy is about war and peace, and countries that only do peace are missing half of the story – perhaps the more important half” (Cooper, 2004, p.162). Furthermore, it has to be and will be done in a specific way, namely “never alone and autonomously, but only collectively, only with international legitimacy and only in the pursuit of ‘civilizing’ international relations” (Maull, 2005, p.781). Therefore, the EU can still be characterized as a normative or civilian power and there are no signs that another way will be pursued in the future. The ESS also clarifies that “a mixture of [civilian and military] instruments” (ESS, 2003, p.7) is the best way to approach today’s threats.

Thus, the EU stands for certain values (e.g. peace, human rights, freedom, democracy, the rule of law) and principles (e.g. conditionality to promote human rights, democracy, or the rule of law; multilateralism), which it tries to promote (Lucarelli & Manners, 2006, p.202) through its structural foreign policy, which explains to a certain extend the EU’s attraction on other actors. However, the EU’s foreign policy is both value-based and interest-driven as official policy documents show. For example, with regard to the neighbourhood, the ESS states that “[i]t is in the European interest that countries on our borders are well-governed Neighbours who are engaged in violent conflict, weak states where organised crime flourishes, dysfunctional societies or exploding population growth on its borders all pose problems for Europe” (ESS, 2003, p.7). This mixture of value-based and interest-driven foreign policy can be observed in the ENP as well, as will be analysed below.


[1] The essay will use the term EU for reasons of simplicity. At first, there were three separate communities, the European Economic Community (EEC), the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) and the European Atomic Energy Community (EURATOM). In 1967, the three separate communities were merged into the European Communities (EC). The EU was established with the Treaty of Maastricht (1992).

[2] However, the different foreign policies of the member states will not be the main theme of this essay.

[3] Overall, fifteen countries acceded to the EU since the end of the 1980s. Austria, Finland, and Sweden joined the EU in the so-called Fourth Enlargement in 1995. However, these three countries are omitted from the essay, because their accession did not pose many challenges to the EU. The fifth or ‘Big Bang’ enlargement included Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovenia, and Slovakia on May 1, 2004. Bulgaria and Romania joined on January 1, 2007.

[4] Turkey, Croatia, and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia are candidate countries. Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, and Serbia are potential candidate countries.

[5] Original in German (own translation): „Ziel [. . .] ist es, eine beständige und ausgewogene Verstärkung der Handels- und Wirtschaftsbeziehungen zwischen den Vertragsparteien [. . .] zu fördern“.

[6] Original in German (own translation): „Sobald das Funktionieren des Abkommens es in Aussicht zu nehmen gestattet, daß die Türkei die Verpflichtungen aus dem Vertrag zur Gründung der Gemeinschaft vollständig übernimmt, werden die Vertragsparteien die Möglichkeit eines Beitritts der Türkei zur Gemeinschaft prüfen“.

[7] “Membership requires that the candidate country has achieved stability of its institutions guaranteeing democracy, the rule of law, human rights and respect for and protection of minorities, the existence of a functioning market economy as well as the capacity to cope with competitive pressure and market forces within the Union. Membership presupposes the candidate’s ability to take on the obligations of membership including adherence to the aims of political, economic and monetary union. The Union’s capacity to absorb new members while maintaining the momentum of European integration, is also an important consideration in the general interest of both the Union and the candidate countries.” (Copenhagen Presidency Conclusions, 1993, p.13)

[8] This essay will abide with the premise that Turkey will join and it will not analyse the difficulties of the negotiations. It will only refer to them if they are relevant for the present research.

[9] Except where otherwise indicated.

[10] Furthermore, the ENP Action Plans, which will be described later, comprise policies from all three EU pillars and, with a view to the following analysis, this definition has further merits.

[11] Translation provided by the same source: “an economic giant, a political dwarf, and, even worse, a worm until it concerns itself with elaborating a defense capability”.

[12] Whereas, the United States’ approach is based on hegemony and thus, (military) control of threats.

[13] For a table of the different structures and levels see Annex I.

[14] The term‚ civilian power was first introduced by François Duchêne.

[15] See Annex II. for a continuum of soft and hard power in foreign policy.

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EU and turkish foreign policies - synergies for the Southern Caucasus?
Maastricht University  (Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences)
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EU, Turkey, Foreign Policy, Southern Caucasus, European Neighbourhood Policy
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MA Judith Becker (Author), 2007, EU and turkish foreign policies - synergies for the Southern Caucasus?, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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