But why would then many lobbying efforts still being made upon economic arguments in favor of deepening and widening economic relations with the EU member states, when in fact since the mids the country has been moving more and more to a market-economy, and economic integration with the EU is under full sway; when, an OECD official in Paris prompted by my question on the topic confirmed that there is nothing more to be done in terms of economic integration between Turkey and the EU, because it has already reached its optimum; when in fact confirmed by Commission officials, their numbers, and their charts, all of which indicate that economically Turkey is compatible with European Union econom ies?
Because economy is the only language Turks can speak of so far in communicating with Europe, or so they appear to believe. But it is also because so far a legitimate, formal democratic political channel is closed to the Turks. In fact it is quite the opposite, they actively participate in ways which are only accessible to them and their colleagues, and to an ethnographic eye that just happens to be observing the European political scene: Politicking on and of the stage: Organizing receptions to mark the end of the European legislative year is a common activity for Turkish Eurocrats in Brussels.
These receptions usually have a front event where guest speakers would engage in an interactive debate on various topics of Turkey-EU agenda, followed by more informal networking activity where friendly chatting occurs among journalists, Turkish and European officials and private interest representatives, and renowned figures of Turkish-Belgian society in Brussels over drinks.
I was also invited to one such event that took place in one of the offices of Turkish private interest representation —not far from where the Turkish Delegation to the EU was located. The guest of honor also happened to be a senior figure in Turkey-EU relations from the official circles. As the gathering was more informal and of a civil society nature, the speaker went on talking about how civil society could engage in a more sustaining dialogue between the EU and Turkey. First, there are the indirect activities that are subtle and of everyday type that can be carried out by anyone who could, for instance, wear a watch with an image of the Turkish flag on it.
There are also those direct activities such as the hosting of folklore shows and traditional dancing, and of exhibitions of Turkish art and crafts works by Turkish official offices and cultural centers. The third type of lobbying is of subterranean nature. It includes all the work done in the EP and other EU institutions, as well as efforts by Turkish Eurocracts in establishing friendships with their European colleagues. Despite the fact that Turkey is not a member state of the Union, life-long professional and academic careers are built, and a certain Turkish-Eurocratic manner is adopted in due course.
Many people I talked to whose position was more governmental-bureaucratic were extremely disenchanted with the European integration project and shared many questions and concerns related to the future of the Union. Some were also unspeakably frustrated and uneasy with the uncompromising attitudes of Turks and their European colleagues due to the ways in which politics, politicking, and business are carried out. The opposite seems to be true for their Turkish counterparts.
Despite prevalent cynicism from both sides, the business still continues. For instance, one of the Commission officials once related me a conversation he had had with his Turkish colleagues when he visited the country. He had then remarked that there were more women with headscarves in Brussels than in Ankara.
For doing so, they might or might not collaborate with Turkish public and private interest representatives. Recently, some of the organizations run by groups whose existence in Europe has long been a social fact have established their own contacts with the EU. But since lobbying is an extremely costly enterprise, how far they could carry their influence is yet to be seen. As political anthropologists, anthropologists of the European integration and Europeanization, and social scientists in general we cannot afford to remain simple witnesses to the ongoing developments in Europe when we are qualified to engage such transformations, especially in terms of the convergence of culture, politics and policy Hoffman et.
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- Sir Thomas More.
Cultural change and the new Europe: Borders, Nations and States: Frontiers of Sovereignty in the new Europe , Aldershot, Avebury, pp. Europe from a cultural perspective: I am mostly indebted to Tom Wilson and Doug Holmes for their mentoring and support at every level of the larger project of which this paper presents only minutiae. Diez, Agnantopoulos and Kaliber This number is expected to rise in the near future first and foremost with the accession of Croatia, a country that began accession negotiations at the same time as Turkey did, and Iceland, whose application generated by the recent financial crisis and is yet to be submitted to the European Council.
A contested term by EU officials, it maintains its widespread use in academia and in other European public domains. These figures are not published; therefore I refrained from using them as my primary source. Contents - Previous document - Next document. We can tell the military to get out of politics and to do its job, and yes, we might be tried for it, but still we are doing it.
And self-censorship on these issues is less and less powerful. The role and position of the armed forces is only one of the many taboo issues which have been tackled over the past few years. The fate of Turkey's Armenian minority, past and present, is another. In November a group of intellectuals launched a signature campaign apologizing for the mass killing of Armenians during the "Great Catastrophe" of More than 30, Turks signed the online petition.
It is a sign of the times that several liberal journalists and academics have begun to defy state doctrine by referring to the events of as genocide. See ESI's report: Armenia, Turkey and the Debate on Genocide. The government lifted private radio and television restrictions on broadcasting in languages other than Turkish, allowing hour programming in Kurdish, Arabic, Georgian or Circassian. This academic year, the University of Mardin inaugurated a faculty of "living languages" , under which Kurdish courses are given.
The government also launched an institutional dialogue with representatives of the Alevi community, highlighted by President Abdullah Gul's visit to an Alevi prayer house cemevi , the first by a Turkish president since Ataturk. In August Turkey allowed an Orthodox religious service to be held at the Sumela Monastery in Trabzon, the first in nearly a century. A month later, it cleared the way for Armenian Christians to hold a service at the historic Akhtamar Church near Van, in Eastern Turkey.
The government also organised periodic high level meetings with non-Muslim communities to address the problems facing them. As the press officer of the Greek patriarchate, Father Dositeos, told ESI during a meeting in March , no Turkish government had ever before solicited the advice of minority groups as regularly on their various concerns. In parliamentary debates there was open discussion about crimes committed by the Turkish state in the past, from the massacres against Alevi Kurds in Tunceli in the s to the pressures against Istanbul Greeks in the s.
This was a result of a fascistic mentality. Last but not least, on 12 September — the thirtieth anniversary of the military coup — an impressive 77 percent of Turks turned out to vote in a referendum on a government-sponsored package of constitutional amendments.
With 58 percent of the vote, the "yes" side prevailed.
In doing so, it has embraced changes that will allow civilian courts to try military personnel and prevent military courts from trying civilians , give parliament a greater say in appointing judges, remove the immunity enjoyed by the leaders of the coup, establish the institution of ombudsman to deal with problems between state institutions and citizens, and allow civil servants to go on strike. According to an EU official, the Turkish side is said to have consulted Brussels "systematically" during the drafting of the latest batch of judicial reforms.
As far as the EU perspective is concerned, the significance of the referendum is manifest. Not only are the new changes among those that the EU has demanded from Turkey for years; not only do they pave the way for an entirely new democratic constitution to replace the one bequeathed to Turks by the military leadership in ; not only do they show that the pro-reform constituency in Turkey still reaches across party lines: Much remains to be done; much could have happened earlier; and in some areas particularly in the field of freedom of expression, as measured by the number of journalists in court there are setbacks compared to Yet the sequence of events does not suggest a reform process that has stalled.
Turkey's transformation did not stop in ; the process of political change, rather than slowing down, has shifted from a phase of legislating to a phase of intense struggle over the very meaning of earlier reforms. A very special relationship. St George's church in Istanbul, home to the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate The second phase, however, has been deeply political and everything but smooth.
Yasemin Congar, editor in chief of the daily Taraf , told ESI in how the EU process empowered Turkey's reformers, both in government and in society: Do Turks still care?