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EU and Turkey's History

Turkey was one of the first countries, in 1959, to seek close cooperation with the young European Economic Community (EEC).

This cooperation was realised in the framework of an "association agreement", known as the Ankara Agreement, which was signed on 12 September 1963. An important element in this plan was establishing a "Customs Union" so that Turkey could trade goods and agricultural products with EEC countries without restrictions.

The main aim of the Ankara agreement was to achieve "continuous improvement in living conditions in Turkey and in the European Economic Community through accelerated economic progress and the harmonious expansion of trade, and to reduce the disparity between the Turkish economy and … the Community".

Key Milestones in EU - Turkey Relations Include

1987 Turkey submits application for full membership on 14 April.

1993 The EU and Turkey Customs Union negotiations start.

1996 The Customs Union between Turkey and the EU takes effect on 1 January.

1999 At the Helsinki Summit in December, the European Council gives Turkey the status of candidate country for EU membership, following the Commission's recommendation in its second Regular Report on Turkey.

2001 The European Council adopts the EU-Turkey Accession Partnership on 8 March, providing a road map for Turkey's EU accession process. On 19 March, the Turkish Government adopts the NPAA, the National Programme for the Adoption of the Acquis (acquis means EU law), reflecting the Accession Partnership.

2001 At the Copenhagen Summit, in September, the European Council decides to increase significantly EU financial support through what is now called "pre-accession instrument" (IPA).

2004 On 17 December, the European Council decides to open membership talks with Turkey.

2005 Accession Negotiations open on 3 October.

In October 2005, the “Screening Process” which is the analytical examination of compliance with acquis has begun under 35 titles.

In December 2005, the Council has accepted the new accession partnership document for Turkey.

Factsheet on Turkish European Relationships