Can “the other” become “us”? European Identity and Turkey
Abstract: The fast progress of economic integration in the late 1980s and early 1990s spurred a debate on what constituted Europeanness and whether it was important for the success of the economic integration project. The debate further intensifi ed with the opening of accession negotiations with fi rst the former socialist countries and then also Turkey where the latter spurred particularly intensive discourse in the EU’s member states and institutions. The effect of the images evoked and arguments presented have a signifi cant impact on the structure and the outcome of the debate
on Europe’s identity. As negative statements received more attention, they became more infl uential in shaping the outcome of the debate and contributed to the slow-down of the accession process. Th e last year’s eff orts on both sides to revive the process held the promise that the debate could become more realistic and objective but recent events in Turkey undermine these hopes.
Keywords: Turkey, European Identity, Enlargement, Discourse, Orientalism