Arun Sudhaman 21 Oct 2013 // 8:16AM GMT
ANKARA—The European Union is to spend as much as €2m on a PR assignment that aims to breathe new life into Turkey's stalled membership bid.
The tender, which seeks PR agency proposals, is being led by the EuropeAid Directorate-General, on behalf of the EU's delegation to Turkey.
The Turkish assignment comes as the European Commission urges EU governments to reopen stalled membership talks with the country. The Commission wants to open talks on a new chapter of membership negotiations, which would mark the first new initiative in three years.
Turkey began negotiations to join the EU in 2005, 18 years after applying. However, progress has been slow because of numerous political issues, including the Cyprus situtation, opposition from key EU governments, and the Turkish government's human rights record — including a major crackdown on protests earlier this year.
The one-year PR assignment, which will begin early next year, seeks to increase the "public knowledge and understanding of the EU during the accession negotiation process", while also "explaining implications of EU accession in Turkey."
Accordingly, bidding PR agencies must bring a track record of handling communications campaigns in Turkey. In this case, they will be expected to develop and implement the specific PR strategy, which will include media relations; strategic counsel; event management; social media; press trips; and, monitoring and measurement.
EuropeAid has pitched several big-budget PR projects in recent months, as part of its remit to boost EU development and cooperation around the world, including contracts in Cyprus and Asia.
Last year, the EU hired a consortium of communications firms to make the case for enlargement, amid growing 'Euroscepticism.'