Turkish Identity

The Specific Cultural Background of Turkey's Identity: An Opportunity for Europe?
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Nilay Baycar
195 g
221x151x9 mm

Master's Thesis from the year 2009 in the subject History Europe - Other Countries - Newer History, European Unification, grade: 1,3, University of Hannover (Faculty of History, Philosophy and Social Sciences/ European Studies), language: English, abstract: Is Turkey a European country? To answer this question, we must first understand what is meant by 'Europeanness': Is it a sense of belonging to jewish-greek-roman antiquity, to Christianity, to the Renaissance and the Enlightement; which is the way the substantialists define Europeanness, or rather a commitment to the universal values (liberty, democracy, respect for human rights, fundamental freedoms and the rule of law) upon which the European Union was founded?The constructivists regard Europeanness as a commitment to European principles,defining the term in a syncretic way. So far, the identity of the European Union has prevalently been defined politically. In answering the question of whether Turkey belongs to the common European cultural heritage or not, it must first be pointed out that there would not have been a European history without Turkey since Turkey is the successor to the Byzantine and Ottoman empires that have shaped Europe. Moreover, it is important to note that the origin of Turkey itself lies within the cradle of European civilisation.
As a contribution to the continuing debate on the place of Turkey within Europe the aim of this master's thesis is to examine in detail the historical background and context of Turkey's cultural identity. The paper is structured as follows:
In Chapter 2 discussion will be presented on how 'Europe' and 'Europeanness' are popularly defined, also European identity and its relevance to the European culture will be discussed in the light of the constructivist approach, bearing in mind that the European Union is a unity in diversity. Having considered the main elements of European culture, the problem areas of European identity will be reviewed in detail. Subsequently, the dynamic dichotomizing concepts of 'inclusion' and 'exclusion' will be addressed, together with the negative impact of 'multiple identities', in order to explain the theoretical background behind Turkey's characteristic 'Europeannness'.
In Chapter 3, the issue of the 'Europeanness of Turkey' will be examined and accession negotiations between Turkey and the EU will be discussed.
Chapter 4 will clarify the specific character of Turkey describing it as being between the Orient and the Occident.
Chapter 5 surveys political culture in Turkey, from the foundation of Turkish Republic in 1923 up to the present day.
In Chapter 6 the intercultural dialogue between Turkey and Europe will be evaluated.

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