RECON Online Working Paper 2011/21

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Human rights in the European Union's foreign policy

Universal in discourse, flexible in practice



Merzuka Selin Türkeş (Sabanci University, Istanbul)




Establishing a cornerstone, a fundamental reference point in the new world order, human rights have been a very much cherished but very loosely adopted concept. Thus, in international relations, human rights emerged as a critical issue while the European Union appeared as a remarkable player. Correspondingly, within the European context, human rights stand not only as a defining principle of the EU but also as a tool of its foreign policy. However, parallel to the difficulties experienced in establishing a common foreign policy, the implication of human rights in the EU's relations with third countries remained problematic. In this regard, this paper aims to bring about a closer look at the function of human rights in EU's foreign policy by analyzing the Union's relations with Turkey in terms of human rights. Accordingly, the focus will be on major problematic areas in the EU's human rights policy towards Turkey, with a special emphasis on the discrepancies between the rhetoric and practice.





Common Foreign and Security Policy ― Human Rights ― Political Science ― Turkey

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