Imagining "Europe': Constituting Turkey's Identity on the Path to Eu Membership


TIJDSCHRIFT VOOR ECONOMISCHE EN SOCIALE GEOGRAFIE, vol.107, no.2, pp.134-146, 2016 (SSCI) identifier identifier


In the aftermath of the Cold War, Turkey, once the southern bastion of NATO', had to redefine its identity and geopolitical location in relation to not only the West and Europe, but also its neighbours to the East. In this period, the country's aspiration to join the European Union and its position vis-a-vis Europe proved to be determining factors in its identity transformation process, taking into consideration its traditional Western orientation. By specifically focusing on the last decade, this study analyses how Turkey's decision-makers constituted the identity of the state in relation to a specific conception of Europe. It argues that these decision-makers, through references to the distinctive history and geography of Turkey, reconceptualised the identity of the state in order to transform Turkey into an effective actor in the world and, in doing so, challenged the dominant inclusive, multi-cultural and normative characterisations of the European Union's identity.