Scholars largely agree that political conditionality has been key in transforming Turkey during the ‘golden years of Europeanization’ (1999-2006). European Council giving the country candidacy status at the Helsinki Summit in 1999, triggered an unprecedented democratization and reform process in the country. However, in recent years the reform process has been first stagnated (2006-2011) and then reversed (since 2011). While the existing literature on political conditionality has explained this reversal either by highlighting EU-level factors (lack of credible and consistent EU conditionality) or by focusing on domestic-level factors (democratic backlash, cultural mismatch or instrumentalization of the EU process by domestic elite), the impact of the crisis context on EU’s conditionality policy has remained an unstudied topic. In an attempt to fill this gap, the purpose of the paper is twofold. First, it traces how the crisis context in and around the EU (Syrian refugee crisis and Turkey’s rapid deterioration in democratic credentials since 2015) has given rise to a new form of political conditionality in the form of policy linkage in EU-Turkey relations. Second, the paper seeks to understand how the EU’s evolving response to Turkey’s rapid de-Europeanization affects elite behavior vis-à-vis the EU in the country. The paper relies on original data gathered from primary EU documents.