Turkey’s proactive contestation of EU sanctions against Russia: European normative order vs. geopolitical realities

Renda K. K., Özçelik A. O., Tabak H.

Journal of Southeast European and Black Sea, vol.23, no.4, pp.757-780, 2023 (SSCI) identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 23 Issue: 4
  • Publication Date: 2023
  • Doi Number: 10.1080/14683857.2023.2273021
  • Journal Name: Journal of Southeast European and Black Sea
  • Journal Indexes: Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI), Scopus, Academic Search Premier, IBZ Online, International Bibliography of Social Sciences, Historical Abstracts, Humanities Abstracts, Index Islamicus, Political Science Complete, Public Affairs Index, Sociological abstracts, Worldwide Political Science Abstracts
  • Page Numbers: pp.757-780
  • Keywords: contestation, European Union, Russia-Ukraine war, sanctions, Turkey
  • Hacettepe University Affiliated: Yes


This article offers a critical discussion of third-country access to normative contestation within the European normative order. It empirically examines the external contestation of the EU’s recent sanctions policy directed towards Russia by Turkey, a candidate state, and elaborates on the context in which Turkey contested and renegotiated the normative validity of the EU’s sanction policy. The study empirically suggests that Turkey, while behaviourally practising non-compliance, accessed the European normative order and negotiated the normativity of its non-alignment. In the making of this proactive contestation, the normativity of the country’s positions and the invalidity of the sanctions policy have been widely negotiated in domestic politics by the political elites. Eventually, Turkey, against the EU’s expectations from a candidate state, turned the normative monologue on the sanctions into a multilogue of legitimate normative differences on the validity claims of a united action.