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This essay firstly provides a brief overview of the history of Turkey-EU relations and then the most important consequences of an eventual Turkish accession to the EU. Within this framework, 5 pillars are discussed with regard to which the impact of an eventual Turkish membership might be most influential. The economic aspect which could be decisive for Turkey’s EU membership will also be covered, in light of the economic impact of the recent enlargement of the EU. As a secular and democratic state in a less than secure geopolitical region, Turkey has no alternative other than to anchor itself to Europe. Relations between Europe and Turkey as well as mutual cultural exchanges have been present at the highest level for hundreds of years. For Europe, the Ottoman Empire used to be a bridge to the Orient. Now it is the Turkish Republic that plays this role. Whereas European culture received endless impulses from Ottoman culture, especially after the fall of Constantinople in 1453, the Turkish mind has always regarded progress as moving towards Europe. This move was legitimized by Turkish regimes as Western individual and social styles were defined as the most modern forms of state and economy. The orientalist approach of Europe, however, stressed mostly the contrasts between Turkey and Europe, especially after the siege of Vienna.

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Faruk Şen
Faruk Şen
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