Europeanisation and Turkey-EU Relations: Three Domains, Four Periods

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Alpan B. Z.

in: EU-Turkey Relations: Theories, Institutions and Policies, Wulf Reiners,Ebru Turhan, Editor, Palgrave Macmillan, London , London, pp.107-139, 2021

  • Publication Type: Book Chapter / Chapter Research Book
  • Publication Date: 2021
  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan, London 
  • City: London
  • Page Numbers: pp.107-139
  • Editors: Wulf Reiners,Ebru Turhan, Editor
  • Middle East Technical University Affiliated: Yes


‘Europeanization’ is deservedly the most popular yet most volatile buzzword for Turkish politics. By taking stock of the conceptual framework of the Europeanisation literature and by referring to particular mechanisms and variants of Europeanization through an analysis of the domains of policy, polity, and politics, this chapter explores the Turkey-EU relations in four different phases between 1963 and early 2020. In this respect, in the first period (‘Europeanisation as Rapprochement’), Turkey’s age-old Westernization project was consolidated through Europeanization and the EEC was seen as a natural extension of European institutions and identity whereas in the second period (‘Europeanisation as Conditionality’), there has been considerable interest in the impact of Europeanization on particular aspects of domestic policies and politics through EU conditionality and EU’s ‘democratization anchor’ role. In the third (‘Europeanization as Retrenchment’) and fourth (‘Europeanization as Denial’) periods categorized in this chapter, “Europe” was no longer the lingua franca in the Turkish political landscape, a trend that is sometimes associated with the ‘de-Europeanisation’ trend in the literature. The main argument of this chapter is that Europeanization is a versatile and complex process covering vast areas of policy, politics, and polity, intertwined with larger domestic, regional, and global processes and is not only limited to Turkey’s EU accession.