“Turkey and Spain: bilateral relations and the road ahead for Customs Union modernisation”, Ilke Toygür (Elcano, Spain)

Spain has always been one of the supporters of Turkey’s accession to the EU. Since there is no historical baggage or public opinion to please, the relationship is based on fruitful cooperation in various spheres. As two former empires at each end of the Mediterranean Sea, they also share historical analogies. Today their relations are mostly based on economic links, trade and security cooperation through NATO. Lately, Spanish investments in Turkey have intensified and reached out to important sectors of the Turkish economy, like the banking sector. For this reason, modernisation of the Customs Union (CU) with Turkey could also be seen as a contribution to the Spanish economy. To assess the Spanish attitudes towards modernisation, this paper analyses bilateral relations with a special focus on the current state of economic relations while presenting relevant data. It also introduces the Spanish political elites’ attitudes towards Turkey’s EU accession and the position on the modernisation of the CU agreement. It ends by presenting some conclusions.

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