The breakdown of traditional nationalist taboos in Turkey’s democratization debates has been a result of Europeanization.
other reedoms that have been granted. Meanwhile, Alevi, Kurdish, and Greek Orthodox communities had concrete expectations or rights that were lef unaddressed by the September 30 democratization package. Furthermore, lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender citizens have basic rights problems that could have been alleviated with simple wording adaptations to anti-discrimination clauses. More generally, the eatures o the political culture and system that lead to selective justice, unchecked power, censorship in the press, and politization o personal liestyle choices are ever more prevalent.Implying the resistance in society to some o the expected reorms, the prime minister explained that steps could not be taken
the nation. Tis raises the question, does the ballot box not necessarily bring about European values and rights in this country? Or can it not yet, without leader-ship reﬂecting a strategic choice in this direction, or without a viable prospect o membership? When the country aces local, presidential, and parliamentary elections in the next year and a hal, this is a critical question. Te breakdown o traditional nationalist taboos in urkey’s democratization debates has been a result o Europeaniza-tion. However it has come at a time o excessive domestic power consolidation, political showdown, loss o a viable EU membership goal, and alternative visions involving urkey’s leadership in the Middle East. Tus it has brought about some very un-European tendencies. Te parameters that have ramed the thinking o urkish opinion leaders until recently assumed that democratization was linked to Europeanization. oday, this cannot be taken or granted. Debates on any given night on urkish V can include questioning o urkey’s undamental choices rom the 1920s onwards — ranging rom the wisdom o choosing the Latin alphabet, adopting a nation state model, using the Gregorian calendar, or abolishing the Caliphate. Questions abound about whether these decisions were part o a grand Western conspiracy to prevent urkey rom leading a united Islamic bloc.
Integration without Accession — A Gamble?
How can the EU inﬂuence urkey’s uture choices? I the EU criticizes Ankara more harshly and the urkish leader-ship responds with even more negative rhetoric about the EU, this could supposedly increase bitterness in hal o the country, and deadlock the relations urther. On the other hand, the EU’s appeasement o the government in ace o violations is also a blow to the EU’s transormative power in urkey, and reinorces the ear and atalism that is barring critics rom actively joining the political arena. I the EU accession process is derailed, it will certainly not be democ-racy that strengthens in urkey. But without a stick at hand, such as the threat o suspension o the accession process on the basis o democratic criteria, the EU is unable to aﬀect the personal and political expediency calculations o urkey’s political elite, which understands the importance o the EU anchor or maintaining the relatively stable status quo o the political and economic order in urkey. Chugging along in urkey’s EU accession, opening one more chapter or negotiations, and meanwhile investing in more and deeper people-to-people exchanges between urks and Europeans or a long-term convergence o visions and capabilities, appears to be the least risky and most likely course. Much o the debate in the EU among riends o urkey is now ocused on how urkey can be
absent a viable accession process, through, or example visa liberalization — or at least using the available leeway in the Schengen visa code to oster increased mobility — increasing educational exchanges, and supporting urkish civil society through more ﬂexible instruments. o be eﬀective, in addition to enabling the young genera-tion to have “European experiences” through exponentially increasing travel and education opportunities, tailor-made initiatives or civil society and media are needed. o make the EU relevant or young urks involved in shaping the uture o their country, engaging community leaders that have emerged across the country afer urkey’s Spring season protests, strengthening the watchdog capabilities o