Turkey and the Identity of Europe

Constantine Arvanitopoulos is the Professor of International Relations at Panteion University, Athens, Greece. His research interests lie with International Relations theory, specifically the study of regime change, European Politics and US Foreign Policy Analysis. He has taught courses on theory and methodology of International Relations, European Politics, and Comparative Politics. 

Dimitris Keridis is the Associate Professor in International Politics at the University of Macedonia, and has also been the director of the Kokkalis Program at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University. He has published extensively on issues of European, Balkan and Middle Eastern security, nationalism and democratization.


The Debate: Turkey’s Questioned “European-ness”


According to the 1957 Treaty of Rome, the founding document of the EU (European Union), a state must be European in order to join the Union: Article 237 of the treaty states that “Any European State may apply to become a member of the Community.” However, the treaty and subsequent EU treaties have avoided defining the term “European”. Thus, while it is generally accepted that enlargement is a finite process, the exact limits of Europe, especially the eastern limits, have remained ambiguous. Practically, the question arises in the case of Turkey and Russia. While Russia has for the time being shown no interest in joining the EU, and its case might be discussed only in the distant future, Turkey has been an associate EU member since 1963, and becoming a full member is a foreign policy priority. As the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Turkey states, “The first goal is to make Turkey an integral part of the European Union.”

The question of Turkey’s “European-ness” as a precondition for entering the European Union is constantly under debate. In principle, the matter was settled at the EU Summit in Helsinki in December 1999, when Turkey was accepted as a legitimate candidate country. Kalypso Nicolaidis, a professor of International Relations and the Director of the European Studies Centre at Oxford University

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Constantine Arvanitopoulos

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