In 1987, Turkey applied to join what was then the European Economic Community, and in 1999 it was declared eligible to join the EU.
Turkey's involvement with European integration dates back to 1959 and includes the Ankara Association Agreement (1963) for the progressive establishment of a Customs Union (ultimately set up in 1995).
Accession negotiations started in 2005, but until Turkey agrees to apply the Additional Protocol of the Ankara Association Agreement to Cyprus, eight negotiation chapters will not be opened and no chapter will be provisionally closed.
State of play
Turkey is a key strategic partner of the EU on issues such as migration, security, counter-terrorism, and the economy, but has been backsliding in the areas of democracy, rule of law and fundamental rights. In response, the General Affairs Council decided in June 2018 that accession negotiations with Turkey are effectively frozen. A visa liberalisation dialogue was launched in 2013. The third Report on progress by Turkey in fulfilling requirements of its visa liberalisation roadmap was published in May 2016 and found seven outstanding benchmarks to be met by Turkey. Turkey’s economy is facing several challenges, such as high unemployment and high inflation. Strong economic volatility has undermined the business environment and overreliance on external financing has created vulnerabilities.
Turkey is seeing an unprecedented and continuously increasing influx of people seeking refuge from Syria which has exceeded 3.6 million to date (out of a total of 4 million). Overall, Turkey is the country in the world hosting the highest number of refugees, and has already spent significant financial resources on addressing this crisis. A Joint EU-Turkey Action Plan was agreed in October 2015 and was activated at the EU-Turkey Summit on 29 November 2015. The Action Plan aims at bringing order in the migratory flows and stemming the influx of irregular migration. The EU and Turkey reconfirmed their shared commitment to end irregular migration from Turkey to the EU, to break the business model of smugglers and offer migrants an alternative to putting their lives at risk in their joint statement of 18 March 2016 .
The establishment of the EU Facility for Refugees in Turkey at the end of 2015 aimed to provide the European Union with a coordination mechanism that should allow for the swift, effective and efficient mobilisation of EU assistance to refugees in Turkey.
The EU Facility for Refugees in Turkey is the answer to the EU Member States’ call for significant additional funding to support refugees in the country, and coordinates the mobilisation of €6 billion, in two tranches. The first tranche serves to fund projects running until mid-2021 latest (most projects finish earlier). The second tranche serves to fund projects running until mid-2025 latest (most projects will finish earlier). The Facility’s priority areas are education, health, protection, basic needs, socio-economic support and municipal infrastructure. The full operational budget of the Facility was committed in November 2019.
The Facility coordinates and streamlines actions financed from the Union's budget and bilateral contributions from EU Member States in order to enhance the efficiency and complementarity of support provided to refugees and host communities in Turkey. This represents a major additional support for refugees and host communities in Turkey.
Free Movement of Capital
|Science and Research|
The EU Delegation in Ankara provides more information on Turkey.
Factsheets and Factographs available to download:
- March 201954th EU-Turkey Association Council held.
- 28-09-2016Third Implementation Report.
- 30-06-2016Accession conference with Turkey: Talks opened on Chapter 33 - Financial and budgetary provisions.
- 15-06-2016Second Implementation Report.
- 04-05-2016Third Report on visa roadmap.
- 20-04-2016First Implementation Report of Statement.
- 18-03-2016EU-Turkey Statement.
- 14-12-2015Negotiations are opened on chapter 17 - Economic and monetary policy.
- 29-11-2015First EU-Turkey Summit held and Joint EU-Turkey Action Plan activated.
- 20-10-2014First implementation report on the visa roadmap.
- 16-12-2013Visa liberalisation dialogue launched and EU-Turkey Readmission Agreement signed.
- 05-11-2013Negotiations are opened on chapter 22 – Reg. Policy and Coordination of Structural Instruments.
- 17-05-2012Positive Agenda intended to bring fresh dynamics into the EU-Turkey relations was launched.
- 30-06-2010Negotiations are opened on Chapter 12 (food safety, veterinary and phytosanitary policy).
- 19-02-2008Council adopts revised Accession Partnership for Turkey.
- 11-12-2006Because Turkey refused to apply to Cyprus the Additional Protocol to the Ankara Agreement, Council decides that eight chapters will not be opened.
- 01-06-2006Negotiations are opened and closed on Chapter 25 (science and research).
- 03-10-2005Council adopts negotiating framework, and negotiations are formally opened.
- 03-10-2005"Screening process" begins to determine to what degree Turkey meets the membership criteria and what remains to be done.
- 16-12-2004European Council declares that Turkey sufficiently fulfils the criteria for opening accession negotiations in October 2005.
- 19-05-2003Council adopts revised Accession Partnership for Turkey.
- 24-03-2001Council adopts Accession Partnership for Turkey.
- 11-12-1999Helsinki European Council declares Turkey a Candidate Country.
- 13-12-1997Luxembourg Council summit declares Turkey eligible to become EU member.
- 31-12-1995Turkey-EU Association Council finalises agreement creating a customs union.