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A long relationship, no membership: Turkey and the European Union. An investigation of cultures and identities standing in the way of accession.


  • Maria Højer Romme

Summary, in English

The aim of this study is to investigate and establish culture and identity issues potentially standing in the way of Turkey becoming a member of the European Union.
It has been more than 50 years since Turkey first showed intents to become member of the collaboration, which today is called the European Union. In 1999, Turkey was officially recognized as a candidate for full membership. Since then the accession process has moved in slow motion or reached a complete stalemate. The research, analysis and discussions in this thesis try to provide answers to why this is.
Through theories of ethno-symbolism and constructivism, identities and social discourse are examined in Turkey and in the European Union.
Whether or not a common European identity exists is, as this thesis will explain, not a question easily answered. This thesis is written on the basis that identities are founded in common history, culture and political understanding.
The analysis and discussion in the paper outline arguments that indicate specific differences between European and Turkish identity such as ethnic traditions and cultures. Furthermore, different views on democracy in Turkey and in the EU are also discussed. It is the conclusion of this thesis that these differences arguably create obstacles for a future Turkish membership and possibly will continue to do so for a long time.


Publishing year




Document type

Student publication for Master's degree (two years)


  • Social Sciences


  • The European Union
  • Turkey
  • Culture
  • Identity
  • Ethno-symbolism
  • Constructivism


  • Vassilis Petsinis