Using “the other” in foreign-policy-making: an analysis of Turkey-EU relations between 2002 and 2014 /

Akcalı, Öznur
The objective of this thesis is to examine the impact of the changing political discourses of Turkey’s identity vis a vis the EU during the AKP (Justice and Development Party / Adalet ve Kalkınma Partisi) term on relations with the European Union. To this end, the study focuses mainly on the discursive formulation of Turkey’s role in a context of “otherness” as a Muslim and Middle Eastern country under the rule of the AKP governments, Turkey’s major pro-Islamic party which first came to power in 2002. It is argued that “The ‘otherness’ of Turkey could be an advantage rather than an impediment in Turkey-EU relations if Turkey would be able to combine it with the European norms and values.” In order to substantiate this argument, the present thesis tries to understand the perceptions of Turkey’s “otherness” of both parties, i.e., Turkey and the EU, and its transformation during the AKP rule from 2002 to 2014. On the basis of the discourse analysis of the AKP’s political leadership and the regular progress report on Turkey released by the European Commission, this study distinguishes two contradictory periods: first, a compromise on “the otherness” of Turkey between 2002 and 2005 and second, its dissolution between 2010 and 2014. Between these two diverse periods which contain opposite discourses, from 2005 and 2010, it is found that the compromise was neither ruptured nor progressed.