25 Jul 2016

EU Aid to Turkey – Money well spent?

Following the failed coup attempt in Turkey last week, Recep Tayyip Erdogan put increasing pressure on the country’s democratic institutions. The crackdown was not limited to rebelling soliders, but was quickly extended to the judiciary and academia. In total, around 50,000 state employees were rounded up, sacked or suspended.

While this crackdown is unprecented, it is a continuation of many years of Mr Erdogan’s efforts to undermine the democratic order in Turkey and extend his grip on power, as Alina Mungiu-Pippidi pointed out in a recent comment. She questioned whether the EU was right in continuing to send billions of euros in aid to Turkey each year. But how much aid does Turkey really receive from the EU institutions?


Table 1: EU Aid to Turkey 2005 – 2014, in Million US Dollars*

In the ten-year period between 2005 and 2014 alone, EU institutions sent the equivalent of 13.7 billion dollars in aid payments to Turkey. 1.5 billion dollars were directy aimed at improving government and civil society institutions. In the light of the continuing campaign to undermine democratic institutions we have to ask the question if this is money well spent or if it is time for a rethink in EU-Turkey relations.

Turkey aid

Figure 1: EU Aid to Turkey 2005 – 2014, in million US Dollars*

*All data taken from the OECD Query Wizard for International Development Statistics