As part of RUSI's European Futures project and in conjunction with Open Europe, Mr Egemen Bağış, Turkish Minister for EU affairs and Chief Negotiator, will provide an insight into some of the key questions regarding Turkey's bid to accede to the EU.
2013 marks the 50th anniversary of the Ankara Agreement; an agreement that initiated Turkey's integration with the European Union. Throughout these fifty years, both Turkey and the European project have undergone substantial changes, continually reforming and adapting to new challenges and opportunities. As the Republic of Ireland assumes the rotating presidency of the European Union, there is an opportunity to review the possibility of re-opening a dialogue over Turkish accession. However, Turkey's growing economic and diplomatic strengths - combined with concerns over the euro's future and the Union's regional and global political influence - are changing the dynamics of this conversation. Amidst weakening support for EU membership among the Turkish public and division of opinions within the EU of Turkeys' accession, there is a risk that the talks may be called off. Meanwhile, British Prime Minister David Cameron has clearly spoken of the need for reform, and of his intentions to allow the British public to choose whether to stay in or leave.
As British and Turkish relations deepen and the UK remains committed to Turkish accession to EU, the time may have come for both countries to be a new force for reform within the European project.
Mr Egemen Bağış was first elected to Parliament in 2002 as a deputy of Istanbul and is presently the Turkish Minister for EU Affairs and Chief Negotiator and also the Head of the Turkish Delegation for EU Negotiations and Member of the Parliament, representing Istanbul.