Home Institution

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Publication Date

Fall 2008

Program Name

Switzerland: International Studies, Organizations, and Social Justice


Turkey’s goal of being accepted by the West began with the “westernization” of its culture in the 1830’s under the Ottoman Empire’s sultanates. Turkey’s application to the EU is the newest aspect of Turkey’s westernization project, and its potential membership represents a complete acceptance of its modern, secular identity, both as a people and as a state. The decision of membership is not only important for Turkey’s evolution, but also the European Union’s. The identities of both are at stake; the evolution of each will depend greatly on the course taken by the other. This paper argues that it is best for both the EU and Turkey that Turkey’s accession process continues in a more open and translucent manner; that the EU treats Turkey’s case as it did the other candidate countries, with the same restrictions, goals and demands; that Turkey fully comply with the EU’s demands regarding reform of social and political aspects; and that Turkey becomes a member in the next ten years. This is possible if Turkey feels that membership is truly a possibility. The consequences of isolating or frustrating Turkey to the point of a withdrawal of their membership process would be great, for both parties involved. Turkey wants to be a member of the West. To reject this desire is to accept detrimental consequences for the EU’s relationship with Turkey, the Middle East and the Muslim world.


International Relations | Political Science


Article Location