Ankara is seeking to renegotiate its 1995 customs union with the bloc, in accordance with which Turkey must open its markets to third countries that are part of a free trade agreement with Brussels. In contrast, Turkish goods cannot be exported to third countries without duties, as Turkey is not an EU member.
However, taking into account the existing differences between Ankara and Brussels, the agreement is unlikely to be updated on the terms proposed by Turkey, said Oktay Aksoy, a senior expert at the Ankara-based Foreign Policy Institute and former Turkish ambassador to Finland, Sweden and Jordan.
On the other hand, the diplomat suggested, the changes planned to the agreement may have negative consequences for the Turkish accession talks with the EU.
"However, the negotiations have faced many difficulties and it’s still unclear when it will be completed. There are politicians in Brussels using those difficulties against Ankara. So, Turkey will not be able to become part of the bloc. This is why the Customs Union Agreement needs to be modernized," Aksoy said.
Brussels' relationship with Ankara took a hit in the aftermath of July's foiled coup in Turkey, when the European Union objected to the Turkish government's clampdown on those suspected of ties to the coup organizers.