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The role of religious identity in Turco-European relations

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2004
Genç, Ezgi
This thesis analyzes the role of the religious identity in Turco-European relations in terms of historical and perceptional levels. Within this context, ways in which an enriched understanding of the concept of religion, as a principal element of culture and identity and as one of the main and oldest concepts in European identity which may contribute to a better comprehension of contemporary Turco- European relations, especially within the framework of Turkish candidacy to the European Union will be explored. For this aim, the notion of identity, the bases and components of identity, the role of the other in identity formation, the historical evolution of European identity, European religious identity, the role of religion in European identity, the historical development of Christianity and its impact on Europe, the Turkish identity from the European perspective and the impact of Muslim Turks on the formation and strengthening of the European identity, Christian Europe and Muslim Turkey relations, the role and the importance of their religious identity and the reciprocal effects of it to the current relations will be studied. Lastly, the current perceptions of the Europeans towards Turkey, especially contemporary image of Turkey from European perspective in terms of religion and culture will be examined. Within this framework, the conclusion will be the analysis of the effects of cultural and religious elements in foreign policy and taking political decisions, such as the accession of Turkey into the European Union.