Toward a "Privileged Partnership": The EU, Turkey and the Upgrade of the Customs Union

Altay S.

INSIGHT TURKEY, vol.20, no.3, pp.179-198, 2018 (ESCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 20 Issue: 3
  • Publication Date: 2018
  • Doi Number: 10.25253/99.2018203.13
  • Journal Name: INSIGHT TURKEY
  • Journal Indexes: Emerging Sources Citation Index (ESCI), Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.179-198
  • Istanbul Technical University Affiliated: Yes


Over the past few years, Turkey's EU membership prospects have further deteriorated amid intensive political crisis between Brussels and Ankara. The Turkish government and the European Commission have agreed to upgrade the two-decade-old Customs Union between Turkey and the EU, with negotiations likely to begin in 2018. This paper explores the European Commission's CU upgrade scenarios in tandem with European proposals to form a "Privileged Partnership" between the two parties as an alternative to Turkey's membership in the Union. An upgraded agreement would be a significant step toward Privileged Partnership, maximizing Europeans' political and economic benefits from Turkey and eroding any remaining motives for the EU to welcome Turkey as a full member.