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What Is The Importance Of Helsinki Summit

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It is certain that being a member of the European Union (EU) is a very hot debate for Turkey since 1950s. According to some journalists, Turkey-EU relations remind you of a couple who live together without a legal marriage bond. Though, this process has evolved for the past fifty years and effected both interior and exterior relations of Turkey with the other states and vice versa. Whether Turkey's own internal problems or to qualitative changes in European integration over time, her efforts at adaptation are significantly older than most of the other candidate countries. Turkey is ahead of the countries that are seen as our equals regarding the admission criteria.

When the historical facts based on the agreements and acts are examined, the EU-Turkey relations could be divided into three parts; such as "preparation", "transition" and "final" periods. Preparation period could be considered as the establishment of the first relations between European Economic Community by Ankara Agreement and transition period is seen as the way to the full membership of Turkey by being a member of the Customs Union Joint. In this case, Helsinki Summit would be the heart of the ongoing process. Most of the thinkers and academicians assume that Helsinki Summit paved the way for Turkey's full membership to the EU. For this reason it would be the final period. Most of the comments and criteria were finalized and EU Commission declared its most recent opinion on enlargement process and submitted its views on each country expecting to become a member at the Summit.

In this context Helsinki Summit would be the main theme of the paper. While depicting the importance of the summit for Turkey, the Turkey-EU relations would also be explained briefly. Since this study has its own limitations, in spite of a vast amount of source -journals, speeches, official records and more- the case would be examined in a descriptive perspective and would follow the chronological line of the case.


European Union (EU) has been through a series of transformations from the date it was established. First Organization of European Economic Community (OEEC) has developed day by day and came to the point where it is today. The idea of EEC was to establish a peaceful and integrated Europe after the Second World War. For this reason, the main theme of the ongoing organization has never been changed during the process of transformation. Its goal is to provide a secure atmosphere by integrating the European countries on the basis of economic, politic and cultural interests and that was very important for decreasing the tension among the post-war countries. The strong desire to establish an integrated Europe and related attempts had its first stable outcomes in the beginning of 1950s. Turkey, on the other hand made its first application to EEC on the 31st of July, 1959. Turkey's intention of being a European was based on its republican ideology. From the time the Turkish Republic was established, one of its main political plans is to be a civilized country and its face always turned to West. For this reason, it was inevitable to stay outside of Europe.

One aspect that comes as a package with Turkey's problems in its democracy, making Turkey's inclusion doubtful, could be seen as cultural differences between Turkey and the rest of Europe. For instance, on the 4th of March 1997, the representatives of the Christian Democratic Party declared that 'the European Union is a civilization project and within this civilization project, Turkey has no place'.

Nevertheless, Turkey is an associate member of the EU since 1963 and it has a pending application since 1987. Despite her rises and falls through those of her attempts Turkey has never given up the idea of inclusion into the EU because it is the final peak of being part of Europe. For one reason, democracy in the country was interrupted three times by military. The First one in 1960 and the second in 1971 and the last one 1980, as well as this invoked suspicion about the country's stability. Besides, Turkey's military intrusion of Cyprus in 1973 turned the advantages which Turkey had achieved through its negotiations into the disadvantages and lobbies against Turkey's membership was carried out over "human rights", "democracy" and "economic stability" issues.

2.1. Preparation Period (1963-1973):

Relations between the European Union are based on the Agreement establishing an Association between the EEC and Turkey, which was signed on 12 September 1963 (the Ankara Treaty) and came into force on 1 December 1964. The cornerstone of this agreement is the establishment of a customs union in three stages. A Financial Protocol came after this agreement. A second and third Financial Protocols were signed in 1970 and 1977 correspondingly. The Ankara Agreement also set up an Association Council that meets regularly and discusses the work of the association. The Association Agreement was increased by an Additional Protocol, which was signed on 23 November 1970 and came into force on 1 January 1973. This settlement helped for establishing a timetable of technical measures to be taken to achieve the objective of the customs union within a period of 22 years.

Turkey had to provide the necessary infrastructural preparations during those years in order to be successful in the transition period. Some important economic reforms which would enhance the Turkish economy did not take place. One of the reasons of that were the Turkey's five year development plans. The second Five Year Development plan had taken place between the years of 1968 and 1972, focusing on the latest economic issues. Besides, Turkish political side was in a hurry and they assumed that most of the necessary institutions which would conduct the mutual relations were ready and as a result there was no need to extend the preparation period. On the other hand, it was true that Turkey established institutions which served in an ideal condition such as Common Market Center (Ortak Pazar Merkezi), Turkish Chambers and Stock Union (Tьrkiye Odalar ve Borsalar Birliрi) and by the support of the private entrepreneurs Economic Development Foundation (Эktisadi Kalkэnma Vakfэ) in order to fulfill the demand.

On the EEC side, Turkey's rush was understandable but EEC stuck on their policy of setback and assumed that it was early for Turkey to start the transition period. Turkey's responsibilities for transition period were more than for the preparation period. Since the necessary economic acquisitions were not fulfilled, very



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