The Myths about Turkey: Part IIApr 3rd, 2011 | By Serkan Bulut | Tags: Enlargement, Foreign Policy, myths, Turkey
There could be many reasons to voice such a claim but the two most striking are as such; you are either completely uninformed about the Turkish-European social-economic-political history or you know this claim is not true but you think the Europeans are so naïve that they would buy it and even see this as a reason why Turkey should not be a part of the EU.
Proponents of such arguments are acting as if the Turks appeared on earth in the last decade. They seem to think that never in the history the Turks and the nations of Mediterranean and “continental” Europe mingled, traded, lived together and fought each other. Through war, commerce, inter-marriage, architectural design, the intermingling of cuisine, and myriad other ways, this ‘zone of civilization’ has shared a common destiny with Turks for over a thousand years. Just by looking at the history and international relations literature produced on Turkish/Ottoman and European political, economic and social relations you can tell that these two entities are far from being disconnected. On the contrary they have been shaping and re-shaping each other’s identity for centuries.
Let’s jump to the last century especially after World War II. It has been 60 years since the French Foreign Minister Robert Schuman presented a plan for deeper cooperation in Europe on May 1950. On this day, which later on started to be celebrated as Europe Day, the foundation was laid for the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) and, a few years later, the European Economic Community (EEC).Turkey made its first move towards the European family in 1959 with its application to the EEC. Since then formal and informal, political, social, cultural and economic relations continued unabated and evolved from basic inter-state interaction to deep multi-level cooperation consisting of governmental as well as non-governmental and societal actors. In the past 60 years the magnitude of economic relations has increased tremendously, and the mobility of goods has been ensured with customs union arrangements which have had an immense positive impact on commerce for both sides of the deal. The cooperation among the Turkish and European governments are multi-faceted and take place on multiple platforms; UN, NATO, OSCE, OECD just being a few of them. In addition to these, more importantly, social, cultural and educational interaction has been bringing the sides ever closer. So when someone claims that the socio-economic history of Turkey and Europe are disconnected from each other, one needs to come up with historical and contemporary evidence to back this claim. Otherwise it’s much ado about nothing.
 Selim Deringil, “The Turks and Europe: The Argument from History‟, Middle Eastern Studies,Vol. 43 No. 5, 2007, pp. 709-23.
- The Myths about Turkey: Part I
April 1st, 2011
- The Myths about Turkey: Part IV
April 9th, 2011
- The Myths about Turkey: Part III
April 5th, 2011
- Rethinking the EU’s future: Two players of a game, Turkey and the EU
March 14th, 2012
- Turkey-EU Relations at Critical Crossroad
October 17th, 2012