Volume 51
Issue 4
Spring '21

Turkey as a WTO Litigant: A Case of Waived Leverage and Mismatched Policy Ends and Means

Written By: Juscelino F. Colares and Mustafa T. Durmus

Abstract

This Article analyzes Turkey’s involvement in the World Trade Organization’s (“WTO”) dispute settlement system to determine whether litigation has helped or could help Turkey attain its trade policy objectives. After identifying these objectives and conducting an empirical analysis of Turkey’s participation in 113 disputes—as Complainant, Respondent and interested Third Party—we conclude that litigation has not played a significant role in advancing Turkey’s trade objectives. Next, we ascertain the extent to which litigation’s de minimis impact stems from: (i) limitations inherent to WTO litigation (e.g., prospective-only remedies, bilateral focus, etc.); and/or from (ii) Turkey’s diminished ability to sue its biggest trade partners and competitors, some of which remain non-WTO Members or are in the European Union, Turkey’s senior customs union partner. The Article concludes with a call for Turkey to embark on a renewed push for further trade liberalization, which will require reforming the current EU-Turkey trade framework. (JEL: F13, F53, K41).

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