New FEUTURE publication: Working Paper “Mapping periods and milestones of past EU-Turkey relations”

FEUTURE with text Authors: Hanna-Lisa Hauge (University of Cologne), Wolfgang Wessels (University of Cologne), Nurdan Selay Bedir (Middle East Technical University), Atila Eralp (Middle East Technical University)

This Working Paper aims to embed FEUTURE’s analysis of drivers of EU-Turkey relations in a historical context. It does so by outlining and discussing several narratives which represent influential interpretations of EU-Turkey relations at different times in history. It is argued that narratives on EU-Turkey relations became increasingly competitive in the course of time, both within EU and Turkey as well as between them. The paper maps these changes of narratives in light of different historical milestones and phases. The periodization also serves to outline trends of conflict, cooperation and convergence as manifested in the political discourse. Thereby, the paper also serves as starting point for the ensuing qualitative analysis of a vast set of sources, representing the debates in Turkey and the EU.

The paper can be downloaded here.

For more information about the FEUTURE project, please visit

New FEUTURE publication: Background Paper “Turkey and the European Union: Scenarios for 2023”, by Nathalie Tocci (IAI)

F|EU|TU|RE – FEUTURE with textThe Future of EU-Turkey Relations – analyses the past, present and future drivers of the EU-Turkey relationship. In order to navigate the possible future, a compass is necessary. This paper establishes this compass by imagining, delineating and systematizing three reference scenarios in order to organize subsequent research and eventually map out a most likely “feuture”. Drawing from Schwartz, the aim of these scenarios is to construct different pathways that might exist in future, suggesting and informing appropriate scholarly analysis or policy decisions that may be taken along those possible paths. Several conditions are proposed for the realisation of possible conflictual, cooperational or converging futures, taking into consideration forms of differentiated integration relating to these ideal-type scenarios.

The paper can be dowloaded here.

For more information about the FEUTURE project, please visit

FEUTURE Kick-off Conference in Istanbul, 26-27 May 2016

FEUTURE NL logo draftTaking Stock of EU-Turkey Relations: A Successful Kick-off for FEUTURE

On 26 and 27 May 2016 the research project “The Future of EU-Turkey Relations: Mapping Dynamics and Testing Scenarios” (FEUTURE) funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 programme was officially launched. About 100 participants including researchers from the consortium, distinguished Turkey experts, stakeholders and practitioners from Turkey, the European Union (EU) and the neighbourhood, as well as students and the wider interested public got together at the FEUTURE Kick-Off Conference in Istanbul. This event was hosted by Istanbul Bilgi Universitesi.

During the debate of the first day, which was open to the public, different views as to which path relations will most likely take in the future were exchanged and discussed in light of FEUTURE’s research aims and design. FEUTURE’s broad assessment of this relationship acknowledges the depth and intensity of relations between Turkey and the EU. It will combine both a look ‘backwards’ through its analysis of narratives which have shaped the debate in Turkey and the EU in different phases with a forward-looking approach which aims at delineating a most likely scenario(s) for the future and related policy recommendations. All participants welcomed this project and its research approach, because they felt that at this point in time substantial and ambitious research on EU-Turkey relations is highly relevant.

Debating FEUTURE’s Research Design: Future Scenarios and Historical Narratives

FEUTURE kick-offThe first day of the conference focused on discussing FEUTURE’s scenarios and narratives at two high-level panels with the project’s researchers and renowned Turkey experts from the project’s Scientific and Policy Advisory Board. The aim was to update the project’s research agenda and make it fit to meet the challenges of analyzing EU-Turkey relations which constitute a ‘moving target’ par excellence.

At the first panel, chaired by Funda Tekin (FEUTURE Project Director), Nathalie Tocci (FEUTURE Scientific Coordinator) presented three ideal-type scenarios (Convergence, Cooperation, Conflict) that will be tested through FEUTURE’s research in the upcoming three years. Overall, Tocci identified coexisting trends and concluded that for the project this will also mean that research will most probably not identify only one most likely scenario but rather delineate a mix of their features. Andrew Duff (former MEP), Nilgün Arisan Eralp (TEPAV) and Ronald Linden (University of Pittburgh) agreed and particularly stressed the need for flexibility in these three scenarios. Furthermore they encouraged to think “out of the box” and to scrutinize the EU’s relationship with other (new) external countries.

The second panel, chaired by Senem Aydin-Düzgit (Bilgi University), elaborated on the project’s ‘backward perspective’ of EU-Turkey relations in form of the historical analysis of narratives. Wolfgang Wessels (FEUTURE Project Director) and Atila Eralp (METU) presented this part of FEUTURE research that starts from the assumption that a critical assessment of the history of EU-Turkey relations is a key element for delineating scenarios for the future. Therefore, the research aims to 1) map the milestones and periods of EU-Turkey relations and 2) identify the most salient narratives, which have shaped the political debate both in the EU and in Turkey during different historical phases. The representatives from the FEUTURE Scientific and Policy Advisory Board, Albert Rohan (Independent Commission on Turkey), Ofra Bengio (Tel Aviv University) and Meltem Müftüler-Bac (Sabanci University) further contextualized the narrative analysis of EU-Turkey relations by elaborating on four key-terms that have been used in the past and present in order to structure the interrelatedness of the EU and Turkey: 1) Bridge, 2) Model, 3) Orientation and 4) Asset. Additionally, the debate critically assessed the question of how relevant history really is for the present and what the added value of a historical analysis is in light of EU-Turkey relations. Finally, the importance of understanding the EU integration process itself for analyzing EU-Turkey relations was underlined.

Getting Started with the Research: Workshops on the Second Day

The second day provided the researchers from the consortium the possibility to familiarize themselves with the details of the FEUTURE research. The Work Package (WP) Leaders organized parallel workshops on the six thematic dimensions that FEUTURE will analyse: politics, economics, security, energy/climate, migration, identity/culture. It will be the aim of their research to identify the drivers that determine the relations from these different perspectives. At these workshops in the morning of 27 May 2016, the WP leaders together with their research teams prepared the first steps and updated their research designs with regard to the latest developments.

In a ‘synthesis and outreach’ session led by Nathalie Tocci and Sinan Ülgen the consortium discussed the third phase of the project, which will synthesize and test these results within one or more scenario(s) with the aim of producing policy recommendations. The Kick-Off Conference concluded within the first meeting of the FEUTURE General Assembly, in which the partners’ representatives discussed matters concerning the consortium as a whole.

A detailed Conference Report will follow shortly and will be available at

FEUTURE Newsletter No.1 | May 2016

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FEUTURE – The Future of EU-Turkey Relations. Mapping Dynamics and Testing Scenarios


The new TEPSA project “FEUTURE – The Future of EU-Turkey Relations. Mapping Dynamics and Testing Scenarios” was officially launched on 1 April 2016.

Visit the FEUTURE Website

FEUTURE is a TEPSA project on EU-Turkey relations that last for three years (from 1 April 2016 till 30 March 2019).

Thanks to its broad consortium made up of renowned research institutes across Europe and beyond, FEUTURE sets out to explore fully different options for further EU-Turkey cooperation in the next decade, including analysis of the challenges and opportunities connected with further integration of Turkey with the EU. To do so, FEUTURE applies a comprehensive research approach with the following three main objectives:

  1. Mapping the dynamics of the EU-Turkey relationship in terms of their underlying historical narratives and thematic key drivers.
  2. Testing and substantiating the most likely scenario(s) for the future and assessing the implications (challenges and opportunities) these may have on the EU and Turkey, as well as the neighbourhood and the global scene.
  3. Drawing policy recommendations for the EU and Turkey on the basis of a strong evidence-based foundation in the future trajectory of EU-Turkey relations.

The consortium will be lead by TEPSA Chairperson Prof. W. Wessels (University of Cologne) as coordinator and Dr. Nathalie Tocci (IAI), as scientific coordinator, with Dr. Funda Tekin as project director. It is formed by the following institutes:

 This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme under Grant Agreement No 692976.

To stay up to date with the activities of the FEUTURE project, you can subscribe to the FEUTURE Newsletter by sending an email to feuture©tepsa•eu with your name and affiliation or by filling up the registration form on the FEUTURE website.

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