RECON Online Working Paper 2008/17

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The European Union’s Enlargement Process and the Collective Identity Formation in Turkey

The Interplay of Multiple Identities


Yaprak Gürsoy and Meltem Müftüler-Baç (Sabanci University, Istanbul)



This paper analyzes the impact of the EU enlargement process on Turkish collective identity formation. EU conditionality influences Turkish collective identity by bringing to the forefront issues on democracy, civilian control of the military, impartiality and independence of the judiciary, and minority rights. The paper investigates how different social and political groups in Turkey react to the reform process and argues that there is an ongoing adaptation process in Turkish politics to the EU political criteria and norms parallel to the accession negotiations with the EU. The latter is important at two different levels: First, Turkey increasingly accepts the EU norms in civil-military relations, human rights and recognition of minority rights. Second, these changes and diffusion of norms from the EU into Turkey generate a transformation of the Turkish collective identity.



Acquis Communautaire – Copenhagen Criteria – Democracy – Enlargement – Identity – International Relations


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