The EU’s Changing Discourse in the EU Documents on Civil Society in Turkey

  • Abstract:

    Since its beginning in the late 50’s, the relations between Turkey and the European Union always had ups and downs. After having candidacy status, this process has gained new dimensions and high politics such as refugee crises or foreign policy choices has become more important besides the technical aspects of integration. The European Commission (Commission hereafter) has published eighteen progress reports after 1998 with Turkey’s candidacy status. And also European Parliament (EP) published different resolutions with regard to these reports. In these reports and resolutions the EU’s wording has changed depending on the conditions of that period. It is a known fact that some of the civil society organizations can reach the EU bodies directly to affect decision-making process. Besides, they could be funded via the EU programmes like their counterparts in Europe. Considering democratic changes of Turkey, the position of civil society and their ability to self-expression, it is crucial to determine their situation. In this regard this study will focus on the EU’s changing discourse about the civil society in Turkey in the progress by analysing the Commission reports and the EP resolutions. By doing so, it has been aimed to show changes of the EU’s perception on Turkey’s accession process.