Turkey's EU accession process: do member states matter?
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The Turkish accession process has proved to be a sui generis case of EU enlargement as it has so far been dominated by a vicious cycle of ebbs and flows. This paper explores the impact of the EU's member states on the construction of Turkey's crooked EU path by focusing on both the pre-negotiation phase and the official negotiation phase. It traces interstate interaction among member states, and their interaction with relevant EU institutions and Turkish authorities, prior to and during the processes of decision-making regarding Turkey's EU membership during 1999-March 2016 within two EU institutions of particular importance to EU enlargement: the European Council and the Council. A close look is taken at the preferences and actions of the largest member states in the EU, the so-called 'Big Three' (Germany, France and the UK), and at those of Greece and Cyprus, two small states that have paid particular attention to the progression of the Turkish accession process in the light of distinct bilateral disputes. The paper concludes that member states matter in the formation of EU enlargement politics vis-a-vis Turkey, while the scope and particulars of member states' influence significantly evolved during 1999-March 2016.