The never-ending story: Turkey and the European Union
Baç, Meltem M.
Frank Cass Publishers
240 - 258
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Turkey before and after Atatürk: internal and external affairs
Middle Eastern Studies
The European Union must make some tough decisions in finding an answer to the ever-present question of 'What to do with Turkey?'. The matter was more or less settled by the Luxembourg summit of the European Council held on 12 December 1997, at which the European Council decided to open accession negotiations with all the applicant countries except Turkey. Turkey's relationship with the European Union is more complicated than that of any other European country seeking EU membership. The complications arise from doubts over Turkey's European identity, whether Turkey is European. Since that question can never be directly raised, the EU explains its rejection on political grounds, i.e. Turkey's shortcomings in upholding the principles of democracy, law and human rights. A serious obstacle to Turkey's incorporation into the EU is, of course, its political system, which provides the EU with a valid reason for rejecting Turkey. The EU position is that since Turkey does not satisfy the democratic requirements of membership, its incorporation is not possible. This essay proposes that Turkey's failure to uphold democracy justifies the EU's rejection but at the same time conceals an aspect of the EU's reservations about Turkey: Its perception of Turkey as the Other of Europe.