Religion as an Argument in the Debate on Turkish EU Membership

  • Kemal Kirişci
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Governance, Security, and Development book series (GSD)


European Union (EU)-Turkish relations have come along way since 1959, when Turkey first expressed its interest in developing relations with the then European Economic Community (EEC). Since October 2005 Turkey has actually started its accession negotiations even if eight chapters have been suspended over the problem of Cyprus and considerable resistance is frequently encountered in the opening of other chapters. The more Turkey’s membership prospects become real the higher the tone of resistance to Turkish membership in the EU seems to become. This resistance is often framed on the argument that Turkey is simply “too big, too poor and culturally too different” (Kirişci 2008). As the Turkish economy grows, it is interesting to note that one hears less and less about Turkey being “poor.” The “culturally too different” criticism bantered about in many circles in Europe has become a polite code word for opposing Turkish membership on the grounds that Turkey is not Christian and hence is not European and cannot actually become European. It has come to constitute the major axis of resistance against Turkish membership.


Muslim Country Muslim World Islamic State European Identity Turkish Economy 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© Dietrich Jung and Catharina Raudvere 2008

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  • Kemal Kirişci

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