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(CALL FOR PAPERS) Workshop: "Faraway, So Close? Reaching beyond the Pro/Contra Controversy on Turkey ’s EU Accession"

News from Oct 20, 2010


"Faraway, So Close? Reaching beyond the Pro/Contra Controversy on Turkey ’s EU Accession"

February 3-5, 2011 in Berlin; June 2-4, 2011 in Istanbul

Convenors: Bilgin Ayata, FU Berlin and Banu Karaca, Sabanci University

Deadline for Abstracts: December 1st, 2010



Five years ago, the EU opened accession negotiations with Turkey projecting 2014 as the earliest possible date for membership. Beyond the question of setting an accession date, the very candidacy of Turkey continues to stir heated debates both within EU member states and Turkey itself. This workshop aims to turn the by now conventional EU-Turkey controversy into a conversation by bringing scholars from various fields together to critically revisit core themes of Turkey’s accession in search for innovative approaches.

While recent polls indicate only weak support for Turkey’s accession both within Turkey as well as in the EU, scholarly interest in the topic is flourishing: questions of what really constitutes or should constitute the EU’s identity; how to position Turkey within this framework; how to evaluate Turkey’s reform process; what changes Turkey’s membership would engender for the EU and for Turkey and how to assess the limits of cultural, political and economic capacities of both contexts have animated public and scholarly discussions. Yet, despite the breadth of knowledge production on these themes, many of the above questions are still discussed in separation from each other. Aiming for an interdisciplinary engagement, we also seek to shift the current focus on ‘European’ perceptions of Turkey’s candidacy by equally considering scholarly debates from Turkey through a two-tier structure of the workshop, organized in cooperation between Free University (Berlin) and Sabanci University (Istanbul). In doing so the workshops are intended to expand the boundaries of a European public sphere as it is currently conceived and to explore discursive linkages between intellectual debates from within the EU and Turkey.

While the conference is open to paper proposals on a wide range of topics that seek to contribute to an interdisciplinary conversation, we are especially interested in the following three main themes to broaden the analytical framework for examining the main discontents in the present debates on Turkey’s accession:


1. Historical and comparative analyses of EU-Turkey debates: While Turkey’s EU accession has engendered a myriad of debates and scholarship suggesting Turkey to be a particular and special case, this is by far not the first time that the EU and its institutional predecessors have encountered fundamental questions regarding its regional make-up, socio-economic and cultural cohesion and modes of governance. In fact these political formations have undergone a series of periodic legitimation crises. We invite papers that offer historically comparative approaches and open a window to other moments of controversy, be it with regard to EEC/EC/EU accession debates (e.g. the cases of Greece, Spain, Portugal or Eastern European enlargement) or other moments that illuminate the ambiguous or contradictory projects comprised in the making of the European Union. We also welcome discursive explorations into particular aspects of the EU-Turkey accession debates.


2. The role of Im/Migration:  The presence of immigrants (and their descendants) from ‘Muslim’ countries,and particularly from Turkey, in EU member states has frequently played into the debates on Turkey’s EU candidacy. Notably the countries with the highest percentage of Muslim immigrants have also exhibited the most resistance to Turkey’s accession. We seek contributions that further explore how immigration from Turkey and beyond impacts not only debates on Turkey’s EU accession but the discourses and practices of EU expansion and integration. We are especially interested in contributions that investigate how questions of immigration and immigrants’ status in ‘receiving’ countries reflect on the debates regarding the process of Europeanization and questions of national sovereignty.


3. Norm diffusion and Minority Rights: Minority rights have become a point of contention in Turkey’s EU candidacy as well as subject to recent reforms, albeit much criticized. At the same time, the question of minority rights has also informed debates and discourses of multiculturalism and cultural pluralism in the European arena overall. We invite papers that critically explore the idea of norm diffusion within the EU and its candidate states, especially with regard to the circulation of the normative discourses on minority rights in a comparative framework. A key question in this regard is how these normative discourses translate into different national contexts and intellectual debates.


Structure of the workshops: The format of the workshops is designed to reflect its conceptual endeavor stated above, and consists of two tiers taking place in Berlin and Istanbul. The first workshop meeting is hosted by the KFG “Transformative Power of Europe” (FU Berlin), February 3-5, 2011. The follow-up workshop is hosted by Sabanci University’s Faculty of Arts and Science in Istanbul, June 2-4, 2011, where a select number of participants from the first workshop will have an opportunity for more in-depth discussion. Please send an abstract of your proposed paper (250 words) by December 1, 2010 to TR.EU.Workshop@googlemail.com. The participants will be notified early December. Full papers are due on January 20th,2011. For further inquiries, please do not hesitate to contact the workshop organizers at the emailaddresses below.


Bilgin Ayata                                                                         
Postdoctoral Fellow 2010-2011                                           
KFG The Transformative Power of Europe                        
FU Berlin                                                                             


Banu Karaca
Visiting Scholar
Faculty of Arts & Sciences
Sabanci University, Istanbul