Turkey's cultural integration with the European Union (Religion as a factor)
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Turkey’s integration with the European Union has been investigated through different lenses. When Turkey gained candidacy status in 1999 Helsinki Summit, the discussion about Turkey’s cultural/religious dissimilarity with the Union became more noticeable. In this context, Turkey’s compatibility with the European norms, with specific reference to different religion, needed an attentive investigation. Turkey’s fidelity to laicism in the existence of a majority Muslim population is of great significance in Turkey’s cultural integration with the EU. The fundamentality of religion factor for the European identity and potential contribution of laic Turkey to this identity with its different religion/culture are the major issues that are tried to be analyzed. This thesis also tries to display what laic Turkey will bring into the EU in cultural terms in the case of its full membership. It is concluded that Turkey’s integration with the EU is at a bottle neck because of its different cultural/religious tradition. Nevertheless, it is not a deadlock. This impediment can be overcome with proper understanding of each other and with willingness for integration that embraces both European and Turkish cultures.