La trappola della diversità. L'Unione europea e la questione dell'allargamento alla Turchia

Translated title of the contribution: [Autom. eng. transl.] The trap of diversity. The European Union and the issue of enlargement to Turkey

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


The issue of Turkey’s admission to the European institutions is a key turning point for both the EU, still looking for a difficult ‘shared identity’, and Ankara, involved, on one hand, in the re-definition of its post-cold war international position, on the other in the problematic “closing” of the experience of the Kemalist statehood. The length of the path of convergence (whose roots date back to the cultural and political humus of the mid-Fifties) and its fluctuations, clearly speak about the differences existing between the parties, differences that have been overcame only to a minor extent by the legislative and economic measures that Ankara adopted, especially between 2002 and 2004. Many dossiers are still open, on almost all the areas covered by the Copenhagen criteria. At political, economic and institutional level, Turkey has to move further on, to reach at least acceptable “European” standards. The role of Islam in the definition of Turkish identity and the weight that religion as taken anew in Turkish national life and political discourse make things more complex. On the historical level, the “essentialist argument” has played a key role in shaping Euro-Turkish relations, both in negative and positive sense, fuelling the opposition between “Christian” West and the caliphal ambitions of the Ottoman sultan as well as tightening the bonds between Cold War Europe and the Republic of Mustapha Kemal and his successors. The success of the AKP in the political elections of 2002 (confirmed in 2007 and strengthened by the contested election of the former Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs Abdullah Gül to the Presidency of the Republic) has raised the fears of whose who see in the party’s references to the Muslim identity of Turkey and in the new “Islamic” legislation that it has introduced (especially in some sectors of public morality) a regression from a self-proclaimed (although ambiguous) secularism. For this reasons too, the future of Euro-Turkish relation seems still very uncertain. The final result of Turkey’s approaching process to the EU does not depend only from the process of economic consolidation and political-institutional liberalization, but also from the trends prevailing within the cabinet and the society as a whole, now split between the pragmatism of the new technocratic and business elite and the conservative attitudes of the rural world and the small bourgeoisie (the AKP’s main constituency), increasingly at odd with the challenges of a modernization and westernization that are no more only a façade. Of course, in this framework, the attitude of the EU and its institutions plays a key role in promoting the emergence of one position or the other. The survival of ambiguities such as the ones surrounding the so-called ‘privileged partnership’ risks to delay a process which in hard enough in itself.
Translated title of the contribution[Autom. eng. transl.] The trap of diversity. The European Union and the issue of enlargement to Turkey
Original languageItalian
Title of host publicationL'Unione europea in cerca di identità. Problemi e prospettive dopo il fallimento della "Costituzione"
Number of pages34
Publication statusPublished - 2008


  • Collocazione internazionale della Turchia
  • Dinamiche sociali e politiche della Turchia
  • Historical and political indentity of Europe
  • Identità storico-politica dell'Europa
  • International position of Turkey
  • Political perspectives of the European integration
  • Prospettive politiche dell'Integrazione europea
  • Relazioni Turchia-Unione Europea
  • Social and political dynamics of Turkey
  • Turkey-EU Relations


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