2 March 2022

Erdogan in Berlin: A chance to mend bridges after EU-Turkey rift

Erdogan in Berlin: A chance to mend bridges after EU-Turkey rift


During the cold war era, Turkey lost several chances. Under a block-shaped international order and a smaller Europe, it would have been easier then for Turkey to integrate into the EU with its relatively small size. Instead, Turkey managed to enter NATO and the alliance worked well for all parties, from containing the Soviets to post-9/11 operations in Afghanistan.

At times, Turkey took bigger risks than it gained from the alliance. However, NATO’s security umbrella was important for Turkey and it was a net contributor to Europe’s security.

EU-Turkey: Working together

Despite the fluctuating membership talks between Turkey and EU to join the European club, there’s no foreseeable hope for a positive result. The final test for relations between Turkey and Europe was the migration crisis in the Aegean region. Unimagined cooperation between Turkey’s then-Ahmet Davutoglu’s government and the EU, led by the Germans, brought an end to the refugee flow to Europe.

The EU-Turkey refugee agreement is still valid and functioning, though Turkey didn’t get all that it expected from it, i.e visa liberalisation. The deal, nonetheless, proved that if both parties were willing – and able – to act together, they could manage to achieve common goals and, indeed, they still have many common agendas in the region.

Donald Trump’s aggressive American patriotism, which opposes multilateralism, was once again outlined in his speech at the UN General Assembly, and was a follow-up to his tough stance against European members of NATO.

This patriotism, however, is pushing Turkey and Germany closer. Europe’s search for an alternative way to continue trade with Iran echoed Turkey’s concerns on the same matter; using alternative currencies in foreign trade rather than the US dollar is a cause Turkish President Recep Tayyib Erdogan has been promoting for many years.

Donald Trump’s aggressive American patriotism, which opposes multilateralism, is pushing Turkey and Germany closer

It’s worth pointing out here that Washington has – until recently – always been the most important champion of Turkey’s membership bid to the European Union. Whenever EU-Turkey membership negotiations were locked, transatlantic influence worked in favour of Turkey. It was the result of the US rule-based, multilateral world order, which Trump is now tearing down.




The Ankara Institute is located in Ankara, Turkey. Our teams include academics, former members of the parliament, senior advisers to the Turkish prime ministers and ministers, analysts from prominent think-tanks, NGO directors, and media professionals with many years of experience. We do have extensive experience of working and partnering with leading global think-tanks, NGOs, international organizations, and governmental institutions.