Solidarity Clashes with Geopolitics in EU-Turkey Relations

Düzgit S., Şenyuva Ö.

in: European Solidarity in Action and the Future of Europe. The Future of Europe., Kaeding M.,Pollak J.,Schmidt P., Editor, Springer, London/Berlin , Berlin, pp.165-168, 2022

  • Publication Type: Book Chapter / Chapter Vocational Book
  • Publication Date: 2022
  • Publisher: Springer, London/Berlin 
  • City: Berlin
  • Page Numbers: pp.165-168
  • Editors: Kaeding M.,Pollak J.,Schmidt P., Editor
  • Middle East Technical University Affiliated: Yes


COVID-19 hit Turkey and the EU (European Union) at a time when bilateral relations were already strained. Early in March, the two sides were engaged in a bitter conflict regarding migration, among other issues. The dominant perception in the country was that the EU was showing little solidarity with Turkey in managing irregular migration. As the COVID-19 crisis deepened, with both the humanitarian and the economic repercussions taking their toll, bilateral conflicts briefly gave way to acts of solidarity between the two sides. This was facilitated by Turkish medical assistance to various EU, Western Balkan and Eastern neighbourhood countries. Nonetheless, this period of solidarity and goodwill was short lived, as the EU quickly took steps in consolidating internal solidarity. Geopolitical conflicts in the Eastern Mediterranean soon defined the relationship’s agenda. The crisis of Turkish-EU relations seemed slowly to translate into a crisis of solidarity, almost leading to a form of schadenfreude in which Turkish authorities utilised the ongoing pandemic as evidence of poor governance and an exclusionary approach by the European states.