FEUTURE Online Paper No. 15: “Turkish and European Identity Constructions in the 1946-1999 Period”, Senem Aydın-Düzgit, Johanna Chovanec, Seçkin Barış Gülmez, Bahar Rumelili, Alp Eren Topal

This FEUTURE paper focuses on Turkey’s and Europe’s perceptions of each other in identity and cultural terms between 1946 and 1999. It identifies the identity representations developed by both sides in response to key selected political and cultural drivers of this period by subjecting selected newspaper articles and editorials as well as popular journals in Europe and Turkey to Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA). Identity representations are then discussed in relation to the pre-identified focal issues in the relationship; namely nationalism, status in international society, civilisation and state-citizen relations. The study finds that mutual identity representations in Turkey and Europe continue to be contested in this period. Yet, a growing convergence of English, French, and German representations of Turkey is observed on the European side whereas divergence of representations of Europe grows on the Turkish front. While the establishment of the conception of multiple civilizations in both Europe and Turkey as well as the rise of nationalism in both contexts make it harder to justify policies aiming at convergence throughout this period, it is observed that the rise of identity representations that focus on state-citizen relations have consistently supported convergence and that European identity representations that focus on Europe’s status in international society have generally supported cooperation with Turkey in this period. Conversely, Turkish identity representations focusing on Turkey’s status in international society have become polarized and were employed in ways that justified both conflict and cooperation/convergence with Europe.

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