Monday, January 08, 2007

Seeking Kant in the EU's Relations with Turkey

Author: Senem Aydın Düzgit, Center for European Studies-Free University of Brussels
Endorsed By:
Hakan Altınay, Open Society Institute
Seyla Benhabib, Yale University
Cem Özdemir, European Parliament
Jean-Francois Leguil-Bayart, Ceri-Sciences Po

TESEV Publications (Turkey), Foreign Policy Program

We believe European Union membership is in the interests of Turkey, the EU, and the global community. We are deeply concerned at the way the European Union is failing to respect the principles of equal treatment in its relations with Turkey. We do not argue that Turkey is ready for EU membership; and we recognise that Turkey has a lot to do, primarily regarding democratic governance, to make itself ready for membership. However, we also believe that increasingly discriminatory practices towards Turkey violate the Enlightenment principles upon which Europe itself is founded and endanger the formation of a Europe governed by Kantian ideals. This perspective necessitates identifying key events that gave rise to this concern during the period after the 1997 Luxembourg Summit. The main aim of this report is to examine the extent to which the EU has adhered to its official statements on fairness and equal treatment and whether or not the assertion that the EU has breached Kantian ideals is valid. The focus of this report will be two-fold. The first focus will be on the ‘double standards’ evident in the EU’s1 policies towards Turkey, which we will point out by comparing the EU’s treatment of Turkey with its treatment of other candidate countries. It is now widely accepted that there is a clear double standard in the way in which the EU deals with candidate-nations and member states, especially in areas such as human rights and the protection of minorities; the report will discuss blatant cases of such discrimination.2 The second focus of the report will be on instances in which the EU has not kept key promises with Turkey or ‘systematically distorted’ communication has been abound in discussions over the issue. We believe that such an endeavour is imperative to see the way in which the EU today is deviating from the Kantian ideal of achieving a Europe without dividing lines, where ‘you do as you would be done by’.
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