Turkey’s Europeanization: Conspiracy or Democracy?
The EU is confused about how to influence Turkey’s democratization course. When Turkey had a viable EU membership prospect, EU conditionality steered democratization efforts. But Turkey’s EU accession process was stifled due to the Cyprus problem and civilizational compatibility questions, rather than on the basis of democratization deficits. The setbacks Ankara incurred in its regional strategic positioning and challenges in re-engineering society would presumably lead Ankara to re-embrace the EU anchor. However, the grounds for establishing a new Turkey-EU solidarity around an EU vision for Turkey are weak. Without a fundamental change in how the Turkish leadership talks about the EU and treats its critics, a turnaround in the mood is unlikely. Without clear-cut carrots and sticks, can the EU’s soft power in this country be salvaged? Under these circumstances, is the EU impotent in terms of Turkey’s democratization?