EU-TR Relations and the Future of the U.S. Influence

European Union - Turkey Relations and the Future of the U.S. Influence

29 Apr 21

On April 29th, THO hosted panelists Dr. Daniel Hamilton, former Executive Director of the Transatlantic Professor at the Austrian Marshall Plan Foundation, Dr. Hande Bozatli, Chair of the House of Democracy, Ms. Laura Batalla, Secretary General of the European Parliament’s Turkey Forum, and Dr. Michael Reynolds, Professor of Near Eastern Studies at Princeton University to discuss EU-TR Relations and the Future of the U.S. Influence.

Throughout this dialogue, the geostrategic importance of Turkey and how that fits into the EU-TR and US-TR relations is discussed. Emphasis was placed on the various regional issues that were fundamental for disputes among the EU, NATO, US, Turkey and Russia on policy and other aspects of their relations. The theme of strong economic ties for both the U.S. and Turkey remained a constant as the panelists expanded on various opportunities for engagement outside of military, security dimensions. In addition, part of the dialogue was centered on the need for new approaches to on-going conflicts despite the problems that occur in a constantly changing political environment. Prospects for priority focuses and cooperation on how the U.S. fits into the EU-TR relations and other regional issues were encouraged and discussed in-depth. 

Daniel Hamilton begins the dialogue by expanding on the increasing importance Turkey has for the EU especially on human rights and housing refugees. Touching on the overview of US-TR relations, he identified how powerful the relationship is but many of the strains on the relations due to a series of bilateral disputes. He spoke about the need for new dimensions of engagement between the two countries outside of military and security aspects, including in the realm of economic relations. 

In her contribution to this dialogue, Laura Batalla expresses that in a world that is constantly adjusting to different changes, EU-TR relations are at a very low point due to different approaches to regional issues. Additionally, she emphasizes the importance of mutual trust in EU-Turkey relations and the trends of a possible amelioration in EU-Turkey-US relations in the future.

Professor Michael Reynolds’ discourse centred on a variety of issues concerning EU, US and NATO concerns about Russian aggression and the current policy around it. He also reiterates Turkey's geographical significance and how economic ties can be an area of opportunity both useful for the U.S. and Turkey.

In her expertise, Dr. Hande Bozatli shed light on the refugee crisis and Turkey-EU relations as a whole, emphasizing the importance of constructive cooperation and collaboration on EU-Turkey relations. Furthermore, Dr. Bozatli outlines the political tensions that undermine relations between multiple actors, including the EU, Turkey, US, and Russia.

In the speed round of final questions, the challenge of Iran and China, democratic ideals and principles in key international organizations, and rebuilding the transatlantic alliance were all discussed by the esteemed panelists.