Thinking strategic and acting pragmatic: The European Refugee crisis and Turkey-EU relations

Thinking strategic and acting pragmatic: The European Refugee crisis and Turkey-EU relations

Tuesday, 26 January 2016 - 12:30pm
Seminar Room, European Studies Centre
Basak Kale (Middle East Technical University, Ankara)
Othon Anastasakis (St Antony’s College)
ESC Lunchtime Seminar

ESC Visiting Academics Seminar Series

Light lunch provided

The relations between Turkey-EU have never been easy due to the challenges on both sides of the negotiations table that have complicated the accession process. Since the opening of accession negotiations in 2005, the EU has lost much of its leverage with Turkey as the EU itself has been forced to deal with numerous challenges including: constitutional referendums, Eurozone crises and the integration of newly joined members while defining its global role. With the lack of EU’s enthusiasm and also dramatic changes in the political atmosphere in Turkey the democratization process has largely halted and the Turkey-EU relations have entered into a stalemate. Despite several reenergizing efforts such as creating a “positive agenda” and establishing Turkey-EU reinforcement teams comprised of experts, academics, journalists and bureaucrats, these efforts have been unable to revitalize the accession negotiations. However, the recent refugee protection crisis has caused Turkey-EU relations to acquire a more complicated yet strategic dimension. This tragic challenge may provide an important opportunity to reinvigorate the accession negotiations and it can keep the accession process alive.

Assoc. Prof. Dr. Başak Kale is a member in the Department of International Relations, Middle East Technical University (METU), Ankara. She is also a research fellow and the Coordinator of the Migration Studies Program at the Jean Monnet Center of Excellence Center for European Studies (JMCE CES), METU.  Dr. Kale graduated from Oxford University with a DPhil. on the impact of EU law on the EU’s enlargement process in 2009. Prior to this degree, she pursued a PhD. on international refugee regime at METU in 2005. She also completed a MSc. in European Studies at the London School of Economics (LSE) and a BSc. in Political Science and Public Administration at METU. She is one of the European Marshall Memorial Fellows (EMMF) of the German Marshall Fund. Currently, she is one of the members of the “Academic Advisory Group” for the special unit recently established for the Turkish Prime Ministry on “Migration and Humanitarian Aid”. At the civil society level, she is the founding member of Turkey’s first migration and asylum research specific NGO, Asylum and Migration Research Center (IGAM).  Currently, she is working as the coordinator of the Open Society Institute funded project jointly by IGAM to establish Turkey’s first “National Refugee Council” to coordinate the efforts of the civil society organizations working in refugee and asylum. In addition to METU, she taught and conducted research at various institutions including UC Berkeley, Boğaziçi University (İstanbul), and Hitotshubashi University (Tokyo). Her research focuses on Turkey-EU relations, Europeanization, refugee and immigration policies.