A Comparative Analysis of the European Union’s Accession Negotiations for Bulgaria and Turkey: Who Gets in, When and How?

Çiçek A. E.

Technical Report, pp.1-34, 2015

  • Publication Type: Other Publication / Technical Report
  • Publication Date: 2015
  • Page Numbers: pp.1-34
  • Istanbul University Affiliated: Yes


In this paper, we analyze the Bulgarian and Turkish accession negotiations to the European Union based on propositions derived from different theoretical frameworks. In order to do so, we first analyze the Turkish and the Bulgarian ability to fulfill the EU’s political criteria, and compare their respective positions with regards to EU political conditionality as key to unlock their different paths of accession. Secondly, we consider the unfolding of the accession negotiations and the role of individual member states as veto players. We limit our focus to a comparative analysis of the EU’s political evaluation, and to the lack of consensus and commitment among the EU member states towards Turkey as a complicating factor during EU negotiations. We are able to ascertain that a key difference between Bulgaria and Turkey with regards to their EU accession was the Bulgarian ability to conform to the EU political criteria comparatively better than Turkey. Yet, beyond the candidates’ specific factors, we are able to determine that the role of the individual member states as veto players has become more visible in the Turkish case. As a result, we can show that who gets in, how and when to the EU depends on the interplay of these multilateral and bilateral aspects of the negotiations process.