How to Operationalize the Foreign Policy Dialogue Between Ankara and Brussels?
The EU and Turkey need a new, more effective way of talking about strategy that is not beholden to the current problems in the accession process. The format for the strategic dialogue would be “27+1,” with all the EU member states participating. The agenda should not be EU-Turkey relations, as these issues should continue to be discussed in the context of the accession process. Rather, the 27+1 should talk about strategic issues of mutual concern. This dialogue would constitute of four meetings a year, at the summit and ministerial levels. It would be complemented by a regular interaction at the working level. In the midst of the debate of whether Turkey can be a model for the emerging democracies of the Southern Mediterranean, a Turkey-EU collaboration to facilitate the democratic transition of these countries appears increasingly indispensable. The establishment of a strong and effective foreign policy dialogue between Ankara and Brussels and the incorporation of Turkey as an influential partner in the European Neighborhood Policy will also provide the ultimate test for Turkey’s EU accession. It will determine whether there is the political resolve to jointly address issues of common concern.