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AKP's neo-conservatism and politics of otherness in Europe-Turkey relations

This study uncovers the neo-conservative "style of thought" informing the ideology of the Adalet ve Kalkinma Partisi (Justice and Development Party, AKP). The AKP's politico-cultural strategy in pursuing Turkey's goal of full membership to the EU is constituted on this ideological ground. Based on critical constructivism, this article argues that the AKP constitutes a domestic-foreign policy nexus of change characterized by a neo-conservative "style of thought" that aims to redefine the identity of Turkey. Along this line of politics, Europe appears as a politico-cultural space, as an ideational structure, enabling and limiting the AKP to act as a political and cultural agent. While the AKP adopts and sublimates the position of the "other" in the ideational structure of Europe, it reconstitutes the identity and interests of Turkey through neo-conservative ideas. Both are mutually reinforcing.