The port of Casablanca.

A New Formula for Collaboration: Turkey, the EU & North Africa


Sabancı Business School (ARAMA Chair), Clingendael Institute

Project Members:

Pınar Akpınar,Sabancı Business School
Oğuz Babüroğlu, Sabancı Business School
Nienke van Heukelingen, Clingendael Institute

Project Duration: Feb 21 - Nov 21


Pınar Akpınar, email:
Nienke van Heukelingen, email:

Turkey-European Union relations have been fluctuating in recent years, leading to a relationship which seems to be driven more by crisis management than representing an equal partnership. Nonetheless, both blocs remain key partners on various dimensions such as trade, migration cooperation and security. As such, it would be a timely endeavour to investigate possible areas of economic, political and social cooperation between Turkey and the European Union. In that light, Africa offers an underexplored area of research to examine the possibilities of such cooperation as well as identify the points of contention.

Once considered a distant continent by both Turkish and European policy makers, Africa now constitutes one of the prime orientations of their respective foreign policies. The continent has an abundance of human and natural resources, the youngest and fastest growing population in the world, and rich oil and gas resources. On the downside, states also witness the proliferation of Muslim extremist groups, and possible threats such as illegal migration and health issues. Moreover, emerging powers such as China, India and Brazil have become increasingly present in Africa, fuelling competition in the continent. These developments have brought Turkey and the European Union into a process of revising their existing policies towards the continent.

This research project examined the ‘Africa strategies’ of Turkey and the EU in order to understand to what extent North Africa – more specifically, Morocco, Egypt and Algeria – could provide a venue for cooperation between the two actors.

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