Turkey and the Concept of Europe
|Institution:||University of Oslo|
|Full text PDF:||https://www.duo.uio.no/handle/10852/15118
Turkey has changed from an Islamic Empire involved antagonistic to Christian states to a secular nation state, a member of NATO and a candidate for EU membership. This involves not only a significant shift in foreign policy towards Europe, but also a reshaping of Ottoman and Turkish identity. This thesis traces how the concept Europe has been shaped in this process over a period of about 200 years. It employs a conceptual history (Begriffsbeschichte) approach; through a broad empirical investigation of Turkish texts that concern the Ottoman Empire’s and Turkey’s relationship with Europe, it lays out how the concept of Europe was shaped and takes its meaning from a semantic field. The aim of this investigation is to build a model of the structures of meaning and how these meanings are constructed in the Turkish political arena. The over-arching goal is to provide an interpretative optic for the Turkish debate about the EU and about its place in the world. The main conclusion is that from having a small number of people discussing these matters in text and using relatively few concepts to give meaning to the concept of Europe, not only has the quantity of text increased, but there has been an increasing number of ways of representing Europe in text. Europe is differentiated by reference to more concepts, and there is more struggle over what Europe means. While Turkish identity is linked to concepts such as ‘modernisation’, ‘Westernisation’ and sometimes even ‘Europeanisation’, it is never directly linked with the concept of Europe.