An Historical Institutionalist Account of the Turkish National Security Council's role in Turkey's relationship with the European Union

Gulay Icoz

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

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Scholars have drawn heavily on new institutionalist approaches in the study of comparative European politics and European integration. These approaches however have been neglected in the study of Turkey-European Union (EU) relations. And although Turkey-EU relations have been widely researched, there has been little scholarly engagement with the role of Tur-key‘s National Security Council (MGK) in shaping the country‘s European policy, result-ing in a significant gap in the academic literature on Turkey and the EU. To fill this gap this thesis provides an historical institutionalist account of the role the MGK has played in Tur-key-EU relations. There are two central and interlinked hypothesises: (1) The origins of both the MGK and Turkey‘s relations with Europe can be found in the years between 1923 and 1957, and the MGK‘s evolution, its decisions/preferences and the changes it embarked upon shaped the development, the nature and the pace of Turkey–EU relations; (2) the historical institutionalist conceptualisations of how institutions originate, in what ways they determine political actions, and the types of changes they go through can best explain the interaction between the MGK‘s institutional processes and Turkey–EU relations. This thesis draws upon both primary sources such as the MGK‘s press releases (1983–2004) and secondary sources. It shows that historical institutionalism and its associated concepts of critical junctures, path dependence and unintended consequences, and punctuated equilibrium may help to explain not only the origins of the MGK and Turkey‘s interest in Europe between 1923 and 1957, but also the three significant phases of Turkey‘s subsequent European policy: the evolution of the MGK and the development of Turkey–European Economic Community (EEC)/ European Community (EC) relations amid the Critical Junctures of I–III (1957–1983); the MGK‘s ten-dency to rule through states of emergency and its incompatibility with EC/EU membership criteria (1983–1997); and the curtailment of the MGK‘s powers and the EU‘s decision to begin accession negotiations with Turkey (1997–2004).
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Royal Holloway, University of London
  • Rumford, Christopher, Supervisor
Award date1 Sept 2013
Publication statusUnpublished - 24 Aug 2013


  • The New Instutionalism
  • Historical Institutionalism
  • Turkish National Security Council
  • Turkey/EEC/EC/EU relations

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