Cultural Challenges Facing Turkey’s Membership in the European Union

  •  Ahmad Jansiz    
  •  Saeed Sadeghi    
  •  Jalal Mirzaei    
  •  Mustafa Tarin    


Turkey is one of the first countries asking for membership in the European Union but has not been able to achieve this goal. Even today the prospect of its membership is vague. Turkey hopes to join the EU in its 100th anniversary of independence in 2023 and has set its strategies and policies in line with this goal. It is an Islamic country which might challenge the relatively homogeneous culture of the EU. Some European countries consider the EU a community with a homogeneous cultural, social and political principles and values and regard the orientalist policy of Turkey as an evidence for its heterogeneity with the values existing in the European societies. The present article attempts to investigate the cultural and social barriers as the main obstacle to Turkey’s membership in the EU. Erdogan also believes that cultural problems are the most important obstacle to his country’s presence in the EU. Turkey has only three alternatives if it cannot become an EU member: active involvement, becoming a bridge between East and West, and being an ordinary neighbor to Europe. If Turkey becomes a member of the EU, it can play an important and influential role in the union as the only Islamic member. The present article uses constructivism as its theoretical background and takes it for granted that Turkey faces serious challenges in its path to membership in the EU due to cultural and identity problems.

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