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From the Myth of European Union Accession to Disillusion: Implications for Religious and Ethnic Politicization in Turkey

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At the present time, there are no clear outcomes in Turkey's European Union (EU) accession process. By the end of the two years following the rise of the pro-Islamist Justice and Development Party (AKP) to the government in 2002, Turkey's accession process entered into a stalemate. Potent political opposition to the Turkish candidacy in Europe has escalated, despite a staunch Turkish political commitment since 1999 to meet the Copenhagen Criteria for admission. In this article, we argue that Turkey's EU accession process has contributed to opening political spaces for Islamism and ethno-nationalism in the country, ironically producing societal and political forces undermining Turkish membership. We inquire first into the practical reasons obstructing Turkey's membership to the Union and second into the societal and political implications of the continuation of the bleak possibility of EU membership for Turkey. As far as the latter is considered, our focus is limited to an analysis of the politicization and institutionalization of the ethnic and Islamist conservative politics in Turkey within the process of "liberal democracy."

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: December 1, 2008

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