REPORT & SURVEY : Good news, Bad News or No News: Management of Irregular Migration in Turkey

Diğdem Soyaltın  May 15, 2013 – Foreign PolicyThe EU accession process has created pressure on Turkish authorities to converge with the EU practice and policy priorities in irregular migration. Yet, the EU rules are not simply downloaded into the national structure; rather they are accommodated at the domestic level at different speeds and to varying extents.

While Turkish authorities has recently agreed on a common text with the European Commission with regard to a readmission agreement which obliges Turkey to take back large numbers of irregular immigrants and have adopted a comprehensive law on the migration related issues; they delay establishing a civilian border agency with respect to border management and act reluctant to lift the geographical limitation in asylum procedure.  Turkey, even takes a step back in compliance with the EU regulations by removing visa requirements for the countries on the EU’s Schengen negative list in recent years. Mostly filtered by domestic priorities and national interests, the compliance with the EU priorities with regard to management of irregular migration varies across different sectors of the policy.


Geographically located on a major migration route between immigrant-producing areas and developed countries of the West and North, Turkey receives considerable number of irregular migrants every year (Kaya 2008, Kirişçi 2008). Also historical events and forces such as the Iranian revolution, political turmoil in the Middle East, end of the Cold War and the Gulf War turned Turkey into a de facto country of first asylum, a country of destination for illegal migrants and a transit migrant country (IOM 2008, İçduygu 2008, Elitok/ Straubhaar 2010).With the recent influx of in Syrian refuges in Turkey and regular media coverage of transit migrant caught in tragedies put irregular migration high on the political agenda (Bürgin 2011, Kirişçi 2008).

Managing irregular migration has also become one of the critical headlines shaping trajectory of Turkey’s accession process to the EU (Özçürümez /Şenses 2011, İçduygu 2010, Vukašinović 2011). With the acceleration of the EU accession process after 1999, the role of the EU has become more visible and credible with regard to the setting of a formal agenda and a timetable for eventual rule adoption in migration related issues (Kirişci 2003, İçduygu 2007, Kaya 2009, Lagrand 2010).Since then Turkey has made substantial effort to reconstruct of the asylum and migration policies and border control systems in line with the priorities of the Union on irregular migration. Yet, the convergence to EU’s practice and policy priorities varies across different aspects of the policy leading to different compliance levels. While Turkish authorities has recently agreed on a common text with the European Commission with regard to a readmission agreement [1]which obliges Turkey to take back large numbers of irregular immigrants and have introduced a comprehensive law on migration related issues; they delay establishing a civilian border agency with respect to border management and act reluctant to lift the geographical limitation in asylum procedure.  Turkey, even takes a step back in compliance with the EU regulations by removing visa requirements for the countries on the EU’s Schengen negative list [2] in recent years. Before exploring the factors counting for this puzzling outcome with regard to management of the irregular migration, the paper assesses the scope of irregular migration in Turkey.

Irregular migration in Turkey

The existing studies on “irregular migration” in Turkey have analyzed irregular migrants under three groups (a) transit migration (illegal entries) (b) circular migration (overstays) and (c) asylum seeker and refugee movements (İçduygu 2008, Kirişçi 2008a, Kaya 2008a).[3]

The largest group of irregular migrants were apprehended in Turkey are transit migrants. Most of these transit migrants enter Turkey illegally and attempt to leave with the help of human smugglers.  In the Turkish legal context an “illegal migrant” is anyone who enters or leaves Turkey or is present in Turkey while breaching migration law (passport, visa, residence and work-permit legislation). In the beginning of 1990s the total number of ‘illegal migrants’ apprehended by Turkish security forces was below 20.000 (İçduygu 2008, Kirişçi 2008). Since then the number of illegal immigrants gradually increased and reached a peak of 94.600 in 2000 and started slightly dipping after 2001. Although the number of illegal transit migrants arrested fluctuates since then, there is a considerable decrease in recent years. In 2010, the number of arrested illegal migrants has dropped to 34.000, but has increased to 44.000 in 2011 (Figure1). In the first half of 2000s the highest numbers of illegal migrants were coming from Iraq (114.000), Pakistan (51.000), Afghanistan (38.000), Iran (25.000) and Bangladesh (20.000). But after 2007, the numbers of illegal migrant coming from Palestine (35.000), Burma (25.000) and Somalia (25.000) have considerably increased (Directorate of General Security of Ministry of Interior 2012; UNCHR 2011).


Figure 1: Illegal Transit Immigrants arrested by Turkish security forces
Source: Directorate of General Security of Ministry of Interior, UTSAM Report, May 2012

The circular migration is formulated as being mobility back and forth between sending and receiving counters in the European Commission Communication (EC 2005).Thus, it refers to persons who enter into Turkey legally but overstay or make multiple trips to get involved small-scale trade and work illegally. This group involves suitcase traders, illegal labour migrants especially on construction sites and in the tourist sector and trafficked persons – especially women- who work illegally as household helps and sex workers or laborers. Suitcase trade to Turkey started in the late 1980s after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Yet, the volume of this suitcase trade from the ex-Soviet world has dropped significantly, while equivalent trade involving North African countries has increased. On the other hand, irregular circular labour migrantsare those from Romania, Bulgaria Russia, Moldova, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Georgia, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan (Kirişçi 2008, İçduygu 2005, Kaya 2008a).

The asylum seeker and refugee movements are also analyzed under irregular migration in Turkey. Turkey has long borders with the Middle East where most of the states are associated with violence, terrorism, political irregularities, and economic instabilities. This makes Turkey more vulnerable to entries for asylum purposes. As a country of asylum, Turkey is among the original signatories of the 1951 Geneva Convention. Yet, the country ratified the 1951 United Nations Refugee Convention and its Protocol in 1967 with a limitation related to their geographical application which makes country one of the last remaining countries maintaining this limitation with Monaco, Congo and Madagascar (Kirişçi 1996). The geographical limitation allows Turkey not to grant refugee status to asylum seekers coming from outside Europe. More specifically, non-Europeans are not recognized as refugees[4] (mülteci), instead, they are called asylum seekers[5] (sığınmacı) or conditional refugees (şartli mülteci). Turkey grants tem­porary stay to non-European refugees with a view to enable them to resettle in a third state, mostly in Untied States and Canada but also in a number of EU countries. The task of finding resettlement places falls to UN High Commission for Refugees (UNCHR) (Zieck 2010).

The number of asylum seekers has drastically increased in 2000s and has reached a peak of 11.929 by 2009 due to the political and economic upheavals situations in bordering countries, mostly in Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Palestine and Somalia which makes the resettlement process more difficult and longer. This has also paved the way to the illegal entries of asylum seekers into Turkey especially those coming from Somalia and Afghanistan (Akbaş 2011). It should be also added that after Syrian uprising, tens of thousands of Syrian refugees were registered to Turkey. The number of Syrian refugees in Turkey reached 150.000 by December 2012 who were settled in tent cities, near Hatay province of Turkey with the status of temporary protection (Reuters 2012).

Yet, there are also applicants who wait for resettlement or for their status to be determined by the Ministry of Interior. Within all the applications half of them were granted refugee status and re-settled in other countries. However, since the time for a decision takes longer due to higher number of applications, asylum seekers either become illegal migrants in Turkey, go underground or they try to join the ranks of illegal transit migrants (asylum seekers especially coming from Ruanda, Sri Lanka and Mauritania). This is also occurring with rejected asylum seekers who either choose to stay on in Turkey illegally or try to smuggle themselves into the EU (Kirişçi 2008, Akbaş 2011). In sum, irregular migration has recently become a salient problem in Turkey.

The management of the irregular migration has also one of the priorities that the EU has set for Turkey in its Accession Partnership Documents for eventual rule adoption. After Turkey obtained an accession perspective in December 1999 successive governments have made substantial effort to reconstruct of the asylum and migration policies and border control systems in line with the priorities of the Union on irregular migration. These measures fall under the Chapter 24 on Justice, Security and Freedom and include regularizing illegal immigrants; establishing a penal framework for the supporters of irregular migration; tackling illegal employment; cooperating with third countries on issues such as joint patrols and surveillance; strengthening of external borders and concluding international agreements on readmission and human trafficking. Yet, the convergence to EU’s practice and policy priorities varies across different aspects of the policy leading to different compliance levels.

Management of irregular migration

The EU accession process has created pressure on Turkish authorities to converge with the EU practice and policy priorities in irregular migration. Yet, compliance with the EU rules and practices varies across different sectors of the irregular migration policy: human trafficking and smuggling, asylum and refuge movements, border control, readmission agreement and visa regulation.

Human tracking and asylum movements

In case of human trafficking and smuggling, the efforts of ruling elites to converge with EU priorities date back to early 2000s. After the signature of the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime (Palermo Convention), its Protocol to Prevent, Suppress, and Punish Trafficking in Persons Persons Especially Women and Children. More importantly, a National Action Plan on Combating Human Trafficking prepared by the National Task Force was approved in 2003. The plan laid out a roadmap for the adoption of necessary legal changes in line with the EU acquis. Accordingly, authorities adopted new measures in a number of legislations that regulate this policy field such as the Passport Law, the Law on Residence and the Travel of Foreign Nationals, the Law on Work Permits of Foreign Nationals, the Law Concerning the Fight against Global Criminal Organizations, Law on Citizenship, Road Transport regulation, the 1994 Asylum regulation[6] and Witness Protection Law. While these measures have enhanced the rights for victims of trafficking with regard to free medical treatment, residence and work permits, they have also improved of the capacity of the administrative agencies to prevent trafficking and smuggling activities. Moreover, the new Penal Code that came into force in 2005 increased penalties for these criminal activities. In line with the legal changes regarding issues in human trafficking, hundreds of judges and prosecutors and officials of the Ministry of Interior have been trained since 2001.[7] Besides legal changes, Turkey has become part of international organization dealing with migration related issues such as International Organization for Migration (IOM). In cooperation with the IOM, Turkey has been involved in several projects to combat human trafficking, which were mostly financed by the EU (IOM 2008).

Turkey’s efforts to align with the EU policies with regard to prevention of illegal migration and work, and improvement of the capacity to control illegal migration have continued with introduction of an Action plan on Migration and asylum and establishment of a new Bureau for Asylum and Migration under the Ministry of Interior in 2008. The Bureau has prepared Turkey’s first draft law on migration in 2011 as a result of a highly transparent and participative law making process (Kirişçi 2011, Tolay 2012). The Draft “Law on Foreigners and International Protection” was submitted to the Turkish Grand National Assembly in January 2012. Finally, in April 2013, the law was adopted and came into force.[8]

The new law on Foreigners and International Protection also regulates the asylum and refugee movements more properly. The 1994 regulation was the first piece of legislation at the national level dealing with the asylum issues, which was primarily drafted with national security concerns and hence introduced strict regulations governing access to asylum (Kirişçi 1996:304). The regulation identified the Ministry of Interior as the body responsible for status determination. Yet, UNHCR came to perform de facto refugee status determination on behalf of Turkey. Since then and UNHCR has become a decisive actor for the asylum and migration issues in the country (Kirişçi 2001). This Regulation attracted serious criticism from western governments, as well as from major international human rights advocacy groups. The regulation was amended in 1999 mostly as a result of the ideational conflicts and debates between Turkish authorities and the UNHCR on the asylum procedure (Kirişçi 2001:96). This was also accompanied by the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) ruling for Jabari v. Turkey (2000)[9]. The regulation was amended once more in 2006 by a Circular prepared by the Ministry of Interior (MoI) as a result of the judicial developments, mostly inspired by, the ECtHR rulings (Zieck 2010:601). In recent years, Ministry of Interior has issued three circulars with the aim of ensuring better access to and information on the asylum procedures (Baklacıoğlu 2009).

The new law, which has become public in January 2011 through the Ministry of Interior webpage, introduces standards regarding implementation of the asylum regime and provides significant improvement in the lives of refugees and asylum seekers. The law is Turkey’s first law on the issue and is regarded as a landmark development (UNCHR 2011). More importantly, it has come at a time when the credibility of the EU accession perspective has dropped dramatically and even the chapter 24 (on Justice and Home Affairs, where issues of asylum and migration are mostly contained) is yet not open to negotiations.

It is mostly argued that the ongoing efforts of the Turkish government in field of migration and asylum is mostly inspired by the transnational exchanges between Turkish officials, and the EU, UNHCR, IOM and non-governmental organizations at domestic level (Kirişçi 2011). The governmental actors have highly benefited from the scientific advice and consensual interpretations of the academicians and policy experts on the field during the preparation phase of the law. This has eased the progress and reduced potential conflict on policy specific issues and thereby no clear resistance can be identified in this policy sector (Özçürümez/Şensens 2011:245). Moreover, the ECtHR rulings sentencing Turkish governments to pay compensations to the complainants and the critics of the Council of Europe ‘shaming and naming’ Turkey induced massive pressures on the government for further reforms.

In the new law, Turkey maintains persistent resistance to lifting the geographical limitation to the 1951 Convention. Having been introduced due to the massive influx of Kurdish refugees from Iraq between 1988 and 1991, the geographical application limits Turkey’s obligations in international refugee law (Kaya 2009:5). In the 2005 National Action Plan, the Turkish government proposed to lift the limitation by 2012, on the condition that the legal and institutional arrangements for asylum and the understanding on “burden sharing” with the EU were in place (NPAA 2005, IOM 2008, UNCHR 2011). Thus, Turkish officials delay lifting geographical limitation before getting the EU membership status due to concern about possible influx of massive asylum seekers and refugees (Kirişçi 2008:20, İçduygu 2011:18) and the huge financial burden on the country they would create (cf.Thielemann 2003, Thielemann 2005). Although the level of compliance with the EU priorities is high in these policy sectors, there are still reservations on some pertinent policy items such as lifting geographical limitation.

There is a similar kind of resistance to the establishment of an integrated civilian professional border unit that would replace the current military-based institutional set-up with respect to border management, and signing of a readmission agreement with the EU (Kirişçi 2007, Özçürümez/ Şenses 2011, İçduygu 2011). Yet, policy-specific external incentives such as visa liberalization may seriously affect the likelihood and direction of the compliance, as we observe in signing a readmission agreement with the EU.

Border management and visa regulation

The EU membership requires adopting a string of measures to enhance the border management. There are different structures to manage border control within the EU member states. Yet, it has become common to be dependent on a civilian authority with regard to the Integrated Border Management (Özler 2010:2-3). Although the border control is under responsibility of Ministry of Interior in general, the east and southeastern land borders of Turkey is controlled by the land forces of the Turkish military[10] and the coastal guard under Ministry of Interior is responsible for patrolling the sea coast (Kirişçi 2007:20). While Ministry of Interior, the General Directorate of Security carries out passport control and entry-exit checks, the movement of goods at the border gates is controlled by Undersecretary of Customs.

In order to comply with the EU legislation and practice in the area of border control, Turkey has set up a Directorate for Integrated Border Management under the Ministry of Interior and adopted a national strategy on the Protection of External Borders in Turkey. Accordingly, Turkish authorities have adopted significant legal changes and administrative arrangements to improve institutional infrastructure and technical capacity at borders. Further, Turkey participated in the CIREFI (Centre for Information, Discussion and Exchange on the Crossing of Frontiers and Immigration) Early Warning System and started sending of statistical data on a regular basis, actively took part in various EU-driven Illegal Migration and Violation of Borders programmes, and took substantial steps to conclude working arrangements with FRONTEX (EU Border Management Agency).

In line with the National Strategy on border management, which was adopted in 2006, Turkey was expected to establish a new civilian, non-military, border law enforcement body under the Ministry of the Interior replacing current military-based institutional set-up to perform border control tasks in 2010-2011. Yet, Turkey remains reluctant to establish the civilian border control body due to security concerns and counter terrorism plans in relation to the defense and protection of its eastern and southern borders (Apap et al. 2004, Kirişçi 2007, Özçürümez/Şenses 2011, Vukašinović 2011, İçduygu 2011).  Although Turkey has taken substantial steps to align with EU’s practice in border control the compliance has stayed limited in this aspect of the policy area largely due to failure of the government to establish the civilian border control body.

A similar domestic resistance and lack of change, or in better words, institutional inertia[11] was also observable in concluding a readmission agreement with the EU. As one of the oldest tools of the EU in combating illegal migration, concluding readmission agreements with third countries of origin and with the EU itself, (Bouteillet-Paquet 2003), is part of the conditionality applied to any state as part of the pre-accession procedure. In 2001 Turkey began to sign and negotiate readmission agreements with the source countries of irregular immigrants who transit through Turkey. By 2009, Turkey had signed readmission agreements with Syria (2001), Greece (2003), Kyrgyzstan (2003), Romania (2004) and Ukraine (2005). The negotiations for further agreements with Iran, Pakistan, Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka, China, and Bulgaria still continue while agreements with Egypt, the Russian Federation, Belarus, Georgia, Israel, Sudan, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Morocco, Tunisia, Libya, Algeria, Jordan, Lebanon, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Mongolia have been drafted and submitted (Özçürümez/Şenses 2011). However, the persistent resistance remained in the area of signing a readmission agreement with the EU itself until today.

The official negotiations with the EU on a readmission agreement began in 2005 since the EU created a link between the start of readmission talks and the start of the EU accession talks. Yet, the negotiations forestalled in 2006 mostly due to the EU’s decision in December freezing negotiations on eight chapters with Turkey[12], including the Chapter 24. The forestalled negotiations restarted during Swedish EU presidency in 2009 when the EU and Turkey agreed on an extensive package of co-operation. Three years after the talks restarted, in 2012, the European Commission declared that an agreement with the Turkish government on a readmission agreement was reached. This agreement that obliges Turkey to take back illegal immigrants, who have used Turkey as a transit country on their way to the EU, will create substantial adoption costs for Turkey especially at a time when the membership incentives offered by the EU are weak to pay them off (Bürgin 2012).

The emerging compliance in case of readmission agreement is explained by the cost-benet calculations of the Turkish government (Bürgin 2012:884). The European Commissions’ green light to start visa liberalization dialogue and mobility[13] in exchange for a readmission agreement as in the case of the Balkan states has considerably changed political preferences of the ruling elites and direction of the negotiations (İçduygu 2011, Bürgin 2012, Tolay 2012). The European Commission has also taken a critical decision since some member states (especially France and Germany) tend to oppose to such an approach in the case of Turkey because of the potential influx of Turkish immigrants into the EU (Özler 2012, Bürgin 2012). The Commission is expected to present a visa exemption action plan in this autumn. Turkish authorities demand simultaneous implementation of visa-exemption and the readmission agreement, so that, the readmission agreement will be signed only when the EU presents the action plan.

While in the readmission agreement there is a move from inertia to the compliance with the EU priorities, the visa regulation envisages a reversed compliance; moving from compliance to retrenchment[14] (see Radaelli 2003, Tolay 2012). Turkish visa regulation considerably changed throughout the time due to various domestic and international factors such as Özal’s liberalization approach in foreign policy in 1980s, the regime change in Iran 1980s and 1990s and collapse of communism (Hale 2000, Oran 2001). Yet, the main factor shaping Turkish practice has been the EU accession process which accelerated after 1999 (Apap et al. 2004). Turkey started to align its practice with the EU in 2002. The Turkish visa system is based on three categories of entry into Turkey. The first one is the group of countries whose nationals can enter and remain in the country for a predetermined length of time, usually three months, without visas. A second group is a category of countries whose nationals must obtain visas prior to arriving in Turkey. There are no problems in the first two categories. In the third category, however, Turkish practice is criticized by the EU. For the third category of countries (including 30 countries) Turkey issues sticker visas at the frontier in return for a fee that varies from country to country. This category also includes countries that are on the Schengen negative list and subject to strict visa regulations. For an effective border control the EU requires Turkey to abolish visa-free travel for those countries that are on the EU’s negative list and the usage of “sticker visas” at border control points (Apap et al. 2004:26)

Turkey was also committed to match the EU’s negative list by the end of 2004, except Bosnia-Herzegovina and Macedonia due to close historical and cultural ties with these countries. Turkey started to implement that policy, and by 2005, only five countries remained on the list to be fully aligned to the Schengen negative list (down from 13 countries in 2002). Yet, after this initial period of compliance and commitment Turkey started abolishing visas with the countries that are on the EU’s blacklist, such as Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, Russia, and Serbia. The process of visa opening is underway with Qatar, Malaysia, Bahrain and Kyrgyzstan (Tolay 2012:45-6).

It is commonly argued that the visa openings have become an integral part of Minster of Foreign Affairs Ahmet Davutoğlu’s new foreign policy approach which aims to create zero problems with the neighbor (Kirişçi 2011a:43-4).  Several scholars claim that AKP government has started to shift the axis of Turkish foreign policy away from the EU (Öniş 2009, Terzi 2010, Kirişçi 2011a), moving towards a multi-dimensional and cooperative approach aimed at improving especially trade relations with the non-EU neighbors, and strengthening its role as a regional power in the Middle East (Baç 2011, Öniş /Yılmaz 2009). The visa liberalization has become a tool of soft power for this new foreign policy strategy (Kirişçi 2005). It is argued that Turkey is, in a way, emulating (see Börzel/Risse 2009) what the European integration project has achieved in Europe [15] and trying to encourage greater economic integration and interdependence in Turkey’s neighbourhood (Nykänen 2011, Kirişçi 2011a).


EU accession created pressure on the Turkish authorities to converge with the EU practice and policy priorities in irregular migration. Yet, the empirical evidence suggests that the convergence with EU’s priorities and policy practices varies across different aspects of the policy. This paper argues that domestic impact of the EU has been shaped by domestic priorities, national interest and preferences of the political actors. When the EU demands do not fit to strategic calculations of ruling elites and national interests (Yılmaz 2012, Börzel/Soyaltin 2012), the likelihood of compliance with the EU requirements decreases, as in the case of setting up a civilian agency with respect to border management, abolishing visa-free travel for the countries on the Schengen negative list, and lifting geographical limitation in asylum procedure. Yet, policy-specific external incentives, such as visa liberalization, may compensate adaptational costs and change cost benefit calculations of the ruling elites, so that the likelihood of compliance increases as in the case of singing a readmission agreement with the EU.

Diğdem Soyaltın

Please cite this publication as follows:

Soyaltın, Diğdem (May, 2013), “Good news, Bad News or No News: Management of Irregular Migration in Turkey”, Vol. II, Issue 3, pp.33-45, Centre for Policy Analysis and Research on Turkey (ResearchTurkey), London, ResearchTurkey. (


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[1] Readmission agreements (RAs) set out clear obligations and procedures for the authorities of the non-EU country and of EU States as to when and how to take back people who are irregularly residing in the EU.

[2] The EU has approved a list of countries whose citizens must have a visa (negative list) and a list of countries whose citizens are exempt from requirement to have a visa (positive list)

[3] This discussion does not include regular (document) migration which comprises persons who arrive in Turkey for employment or academic purposes and their family members, who have the necessary permits for residence and work.

[4] “Refugee” is defined by Turkish law as “an alien who as a result of events occurring in Europe and owing to well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality and is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country; or who, not having a nationality and being outside the country of his former habitual residence as a result of such events, is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to return to it” (The 1994 Regulation).

[5] Asylum seeker” is defined as “an alien who owing to well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality and is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country; or who, not having a nationality and being outside the country of his former habitual residence as a result of such events, is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to return to it” (The 1994 Regulation).

[6] The Regulation on the Procedures and the Principles related to Population Movements and Aliens Arriving in Turkey either as Individuals or in Groups Wishing to Seek Asylum either from Turkey or Requesting Residence Permission in order to Seek Asylum from another country

[7] Report on Fighting Human Trafficking in Turkey 2007 (

[8] Official Gazzette, No:2815, 11.04.2013

[9] European Human Rights Court (Fourth Section) Case of Jabari v. Turkey (Application no. 40035/98), Judgment, Strasbourg, (11 July 2000)

[10] Some part of the borders with Iran and borders with Iraq are controlled Ministry of Interior, the Gendermarie.

[11]Radaelli defines inertia as a situation of lack of change (2003:37). Inertia may take the forms of lags, delays in the transposition of EU legislation, implementation as transformation, and sheer resistance to EU-induced change.

[12]Following Turkey’s noncompliance with the provisions of the Additional Protocol (2005)to the Ankara Treaty which made it mandatory for Turkey to extend its Customs Union to all new member states and thus open its ports and airports to the vessels and aircrafts of the Republic of Cyprus, the European Council decided in 2006 to provisionally suspended eight chapters in Turkey’s negotiating framework.

[13] This strategy has become an influential foreign policy and integration tool for the EU to increase its soft power and to externalize the issue of migration to the immediate neighbors to the Union (Lavenex 2007).

[14] Radaelli defines retrenchment as negative form of Europeanization, which implies that the domestic structure becomes less Europeanized than it was before (2003:38).

[15] This has been noted by İbrahim Kalın, the chief advisor of the prime minister as well as by some EU officials, see International Crisis Group, “Turkey and the Middle East: Ambitions and Constraints,” Europe Report No.23, 2010, p. 11.