October 21, 2009
Dr. Alper Kaliber
REASSESSING EUROPEANISATION AS A QUEST FOR A NEW PARADIGM OF MODERNITY:
THE ARDUOUS CASE OF TURKEY
This paper aims to problematise the mainstream usage of the term Europeanisation and the notions of change and modernisation it has embraced. It is argued that to comprehend better socio-political transformations that Europeanisation triggers, two theoretical moves are needed. First, a clear distinction should be made between EU-isation as a formal alignment with the EU’s institutions, policies and legal structure, and Europeanisation as a wider context embracing other institutions of European integration and inter-civilisational, trans-societal exchanges in Europe. Second, EU-isation/Europeanisation should be relocated into modernisation as a project of political modernity.
To substantiate these arguments, it is referred to the arduous case of Turkey; a case where the EU-isation/Europeanisation distinction matters and both have triggered large-scale public debates about the nature of domestic regime and its modernisation. Mainly two discourses of modernisation (Republicanist and Integrationist) have come to the fore. While Republicanists has come to defend a state-led, militantly secular and ethno-nationalist modernisation, the Integrationists are in favour of a more inclusive, pluralist and society-centric paradigm. The opponents of this debate are evoking different conceptions of Europe and Europeanness to justify their visions of modernisation and development. Therefore, Europeanisation impacts upon Turkish society as a historical socio-political context where the norms, values, and institutions presumed as European are integral part of public debates and modernity discourses in the country.