An Association Agreement is an agreement between the EU and a country from outside the European Union (third country), in this case Turkey. These agreements are made for a far-reaching cooperation between the EU and the country concerned. The agreements focus mainly on economic cooperation and trade, but often touch on many other topics, such as strengthening the rule of law and protecting human rights.
The European Union (EU) concluded an Association Agreement with Turkey in 1963. The reason of this agreement was to prepare Turkey for accession to the EU. Turkish economic regulations would be aligned with European regulations and a free trade zone had to be created.
Turkey has still not joined the EU and it does not look like it will do so in the near future. The provisions of the agreement and the protocols and decisions still apply and so more flexible conditions for a residence permit apply than for nationals of other countries from outside the EU.
In the agreement, The EU countries may no longer tighten the conditions for a residence permit for Turkish nationals from that moment on, but they may be reduced. As a result of the ban on tightening rules for Turkish nationals, some old provisions of Dutch immigration law for Turkish nationals are still in effect.