Opportunities and Threats in European Integration and Turkey-EU-Relations after Brexit

by Erol Esen (Volume editor) Duygu Sekeroglu (Volume editor)
©2018 Edited Collection 272 Pages


This publication consists of contributions of experts from Turkey and various European Union countries and researchers who focus on European studies. The articles include the results of an international workshop held in Antalya in November 2016 with the contributions of the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung Association and European Research and Application Center (AKVAM) of Akdeniz University. In the book, the results of Brexit from the perspectives of Turkey and some member countries are discussed in terms of opportunities and threats regarding European integration and Turkey–EU relations. The book consists of three parts: the factors that lead to Brexit, the possible consequences of Brexit for the European integration process and the future of Turkey–EU relations after Brexit.

Table Of Contents

  • Cover
  • Title
  • Copyright
  • About the author(s)/editor(s)
  • About the book
  • This eBook can be cited
  • Contents
  • Greetings (Prof Mustafa Ünal)
  • Foreword (Prof Erol Esen / Duygu Şekeroğlu)
  • Chapter I The Path To Brexit
  • Turkey, the European Union and Brexit (Natalie Martin)
  • Brexit Debates in the Context of Democracy and Populism (Ayşe Kalav)
  • The Role of Migration in the United Kingdom’s EU Referendum (Gökay Özerim)
  • Global Crisis and Brexit (Ömer Faruk Çolak)
  • Negotiations Between the United Kingdom and the European Union on the Single Market After Brexit: “Hard” or “Soft” Brexit? (Haydar Efe)
  • Chapter II Eu-Integration Or Eu-Disintegration?
  • Brexit from French Point of View and a Glance at the Possible Membership of Turkey (Deniz Akagül)
  • Representation Crisis in the European Parliament Axis: Problem of Participation of EU Citizens in the Decisions (Esra Akdoğan)
  • Brexit, European Union and Public Opinion: Understanding the Rising Radicalism and Populism in Europe through the Britain Example (Ebru Ece Özbey / Özgehan Şenyuva)
  • Breaking Point in Brexit: EU Budget (Sibel Mehter Aykin)
  • Evaluation of the Future of European Integration after Brexit with Flexible Integration Models (Nergiz Özkural Köroğlu)
  • The Separation of the UK from the EU in the Context of Regional and International Security (A. İnci Sökmen Alaca)
  • Chapter III The Future Of Turkey-Eu Relations After Brexit
  • Brexit and the European Identity: Where Are the Positions of Turkey-EU Relations in the Debate? (Başak Alpan)
  • Turkey-Germany Relations and Negotiations with the EU After Brexit (Yaşar Aydin)
  • Brexit, European Union Law and Free Movement: Situation of Turkish Citizens Living in the UK (Yavuz Selim Alkan / Önder Bakircioğlu)
  • The United Kingdom’s Decision to Leave the European Union, the Common Security and Defence Policy and Turkey (Armağan Gözkaman)
  • Preferability of EU Regulations for Member and Non-member Countries: Brexit and the Turkish Case (Erdal Türkkan)
  • Brexit’s Effect on the European Statements of the Political Parties in Turkey (Levent Kirval)
  • Authors Index

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Turkey’s European Union (EU) membership process continues. Although there are different perspectives in various EU countries on the place of Turkey in the European integration process, the relations between the two parties will probably continue. Thus, internal affairs of Europe are of particular concern to Turkey. Brexit, that is, withdrawal of UK from EU membership is one of the most important developments in Europe in the recent years. With the referendum held in June 2016, 52% of the British people said “No” to EU membership. Different from the several cases, in which countries refused to join the Community in the referendums, a country withdrawing from membership was a first in its 60-year-old history and shook the global public opinion deeply, especially in the EU countries. After recovering from the initial shock of the British people’s decision, the European public opinion continues to discuss the issue.

The subject is also of great importance to Turkey. UK has been an important member in favour of Turkey in the EU decision-making process with its creative recommendations, and it is a mystery what consequences this unexpected decision will bring for Turkey. Especially the financial crisis, problems in the EU decision-making mechanisms, the refugee crisis and the efforts of Brussels towards increasing its powers concern the governments of EU member countries. The rising right-wing populist discourses are also drawing attention. In this context, there are numerous questions waiting to be answered: Is the British case unique or is it a crisis solving method that can be attempted by other EU countries? How will the withdrawal of UK affect the foreign relations of EU? And how will the EU-Turkey relations continue? Which route will be taken in Turkey’s full membership negotiations with the EU, which has reviewed and redefined all of its policies and integration strategies several times in the recent years?

In this period, Akdeniz University hosted the Brexit Worksop, in which the issue was discussed with reference to the debates in the Turkish and European public opinions. Thirty researchers and scholars from Turkey and Europe addressed the issue in the light of scientific data in an effort to define new European strategies, EU-Turkey relations and the future of European integration. As a compilation of the workshop papers, this volume provides a comprehensive assessment of the Brexit issue from the perspective of different countries, on various subjects and factors. I would like to thank European Union Research and Application Centre (AKVAM) at Akdeniz University, for organizing this event and convening researchers and scholars from different countries and their decision-making ← 7 | 8 → mechanisms. I also thank the researchers and scholars for participating in the Workshop and contributing to this volume with the papers they presented, and the editors, Prof. Erol ESEN and Duygu ŞEKEROĞLU for compiling a very important reference book for the ongoing Brexit process.

Prof Mustafa Ünal
Rector of Akdeniz University

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The Brexit process has been discussed with increasing intensity since it came to agenda of the global public opinion and it continues to occupy institutions of the European Union (EU) and the governments of its member countries. The Community, which is currently composed of 28 member countries, has lost a member 60 years after its establishment. On June 23, 2016, the people of the United Kingdom (UK) said “No” to EU membership, showing how the factors that were influential on leaving the membership have become strong over time. However, the greatest mistake to be made in the evaluations of the process will undoubtedly be to consider this decision of the people of England as the ingenuity of popular politics in recent years.

Although anti-EU extreme right and racist movements in British politics have fuelled Euroscepticism due to the immigration and refugee crisis that has put a lot of pressure on the governments in recent years, many reasons played a role in this decision. Besides, the EU referendum is not the first in the UK. UK, which succeeded in becoming a member only after much effort and several membership applications in 1973, had to hold a referendum on Community membership in 1975, and the Eurosceptics had to step back in favour of the 67% saying “Yes” to membership.

In the years following the Second World War, UK governments, which did not hesitate to entice other European countries into political integration, have generally preferred to remain at the edge of Europe even after becoming a EU member. Established with a total of 6 members and now reaching 28 members, the Community has become a broad common policy and practice area covering political, economic, social and cultural fields with a legislation reaching 100,000 pages today, although originally it aimed at establishing a common market. UK is not a part of the Schengen Agreement, which regulates the border security between the member states with the slogan “Borderless Europe” and facilitated crossings between countries by removing the controls at the borders. Another area of integration that UK has remained outside is the adoption of “Euro” by many member states as the common currency at the beginning of the 2000s. Britain’s stance on the EU’s policies on Turkey has been different from the attitudes of many other national governments. With the special efforts of Prime Minister Tony Blair, Turkey started the membership negotiations with the Community in 2005, bringing the harmonization process to a new stage. The UK governments also gave many Turkish citizens the opportunity to stay in the UK by implementing ← 9 | 10 → the legal requirements of partnership between Turkey and the EU regarding the free movement.

It is a matter of curiosity how Britain, which decides to abandon the EU 43 years after it was accepted as a member, will continue to influence the European integration process beyond being the first country that uses Article 50 of the EU Treaty on the Separation from the Community. The issue does not end with European integration. Another controversy is whether the United Kingdom, which has been referred to as “the empire on which the sun never sets” and “the commonwealth”, will be able to maintain its unity. Experts say that the immediate government change after the referendum would not be Brexit’s first and last effect for the UK. Brexit, which means a significant loss of support for Turkey on the way to Europe, will require the development of new EU policies and strategies for Turkey in the future. This volume consists of articles of researchers of European studies from Turkey and various EU countries and experts who participated in decision-making mechanisms. The articles cover the results of the international workshop held in Antalya on November 8–9, 2016, by the Akdeniz University EU Research and Implementation Centre (AKVAM) with the contributions of Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung foundation. In the book, the Brexit process was assessed from the perspective of member states such as Germany, France and UK as well as Turkey, and it has been discussed in terms of threats and opportunities for Turkey and the EU.

The first part of the book, consisting of a total of 17 articles, deals with the reasons leading to the withdrawal of the UK from the EU, that is, Brexit. The introduction discusses the problem in relation with the political and economic conjuncture in the world, in the EU and in the UK. Second part of the book considers the potential consequences of Brexit in terms of European integration process. In addition to security issues, recent immigration movements and financial crisis, which had a profound impact on many EU countries, are also discussed in this part. Last part of the book discusses the potential consequences of Brexit for Turkey. The possible threats and opportunities that can arise in Turkey’s relations with the EU and with the West in general as a result of the heavy blow dealt by Brexit to the European identity are addressed. After the separation from the EU, the possible development of the UK’s relationship with the Association Law, the situation of Turkish citizens living in the UK and Turkey’s relations with other EU countries are also discussed in this part.

We would like to thank all the authors, who have not only participated in the workshop and the closing panel but also contributed to this publication with their articles. We also thank the faculty members and students of Akdeniz University for ← 10 | 11 → contributing to the discussions by participating in the closing panel, and all other participants for their interest and contributions. We thank all units of Akdeniz University that contributed to the organization of the workshop in the person of Rector Prof. Mustafa ÜNAL. We also thank the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung Foundation for their financial support in the organization of the workshop and publication of the outcomes. We decided to publish this book in two languages, Turkish and English, so that the discussions on the topic of Brexit, which is still a new issue for the world public opinion, are not limited to Turkey. We thank Deniz BIYIKLI, who undertook the translation of the articles into English and Dr. Deniz ÖZÇETİN, who gave important support by proofreading and editing the translations, and Sezai ZEYBEKOĞLU for supporting the publication by coordinating the translation and text editing. We also thank Prof. Rolf Wirsing and Büşra AKSOY for their support in editorial work.

Prof Erol Esen
Duygu Şekeroğlu

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Chapter I
The Path To Brexit

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Natalie Martin

Turkey, the European Union and Brexit

Abstract: The causes of the Brexit referendum result go beyond the usual Eurosceptic tendencies in British politics. High migration levels, economic austerity and the fractured nature of the UK Labour Party also played a part. The consequences will be to diminish European security cooperation and undermine EU efforts to tackle economic issues and migration. However, Brexit will not directly affect Turkish accession because of the highly illiberal nature of the current Turkish government. Ironically, in the short term, Turkey could benefit from Brexit and EU disarray as it holds the key to stop migration across the Aegean. Ultimately however this will weaken the EU’s liberal-democratic identity arguably to the benefit of no one.

Keywords: Turkey, the EU, Brexit, Security, Migration


The so-called Brexit referendum, held in June 2016, has had a seismic effect on politics in the United Kingdom (UK) and across a wider Europe. This chapter argues that it should be seen in the context of the wider Euroscepticism debate in the UK, which has been bubbling under the political surface since the UK voted to confirm entrance into, what was then, the EEC ( European Economic Community)n 1975. However, it also argues that the Brexit referendum result was about more than just Euroscepticism: it was also the result of the ongoing economic austerity programme in the UK, concerns about migration into the country from inside, and outside, the EU and, lastly, a divided UK political elite.


ISBN (Hardcover)
Publication date
2018 (May)
Flow of immigrants Populism discussions Global crisis Euroskepticism Budgetary discussions European security
Berlin, Bern, Bruxelles, New York, Oxford, Warszawa, Wien, 2018. 272 pp., 9 tables, 10 graphs

Biographical notes

Erol Esen (Volume editor) Duygu Sekeroglu (Volume editor)

Erol Esen is Professor of Political Science. He studied at Bonn University in Germany and gained a PhD in Turkey–EU relations. He is a lecturer at Akdeniz University, Turkey, and has been the head of the EU Research Center. He is working on issues such as European integration, migration, and supra-cultural processes. Duygu Şekeroğlu completed her undergraduate education at Dumlupınar University, Turkey. Currently, she is a postgraduate student at the Department of Public Administration. She is also involved in academic translation studies.


Title: Opportunities and Threats in European Integration and Turkey-EU-Relations after Brexit
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274 pages