The 2012 Danish presidency term of the Council of the European Union (EU) launched the ‘Positive Agenda’ policy with regards to Turkey’s EU accession process, intending to bring new momentum to the stalled negotiation talks. While the practical outcomes of this policy is to be determined, as no new chapters have yet been opened, the Danish presidency contributed to changing attitudes vis-à-vis Turkey’s EU accession by – at least symbolically – advancing the negotiation talks between the EU and Turkey. Further, at a bilateral level, the initiative coming during the Danish presidency showed the desire and determination of Denmark to bring bilateral relations with Turkey back on track.
This paper will touch upon developments in bilateral relations between Denmark and Turkey and the conditions for Turkey’s accession process to the EU in light of the 2012 Danish presidency. While Danish-Turkish relations have been hurt by recent events, such as the political disputes over freedom of speech and the press surrounding the Cartoon Controversy and the Roj TV Affair, at the same time Turkey’s stalled negotiation talks with the EU amid freedom of expression issues, human rights concerns, and the unsolved Cyprus dispute have not effectively moved forward since 2010. As a result, the six-months Denmark presidency, preceding the Republic of Cyprus during the second half of 2012, has both demonstrated willingness for closer dialogue and continued EU integration of Turkey and given a genuine gesture towards improved bilateral ties.