There has been a growing amount of literature
on how the EU is constructing the European identity and why. The most
tangible results of these efforts are the symbols of European unity
such as the flag, the anthem, the common currency, the .eu domain or
the European passport. Most of the research done on the topic is qualitative
given the nature of the topic and the problematic operationalisation
of European identity. The section proposed shall examine the example
of the debate on Turkish membership in the EU and how the EU seeks to
utilize the debate for strengthening the notion of European identity.
The choice of Turkey is deliberate as it appeared as one of the issues
that some would argue for or against the inclusion of Christian values
in the European Constitution (given their attitude to Turkish membership).
Furthermore, it is a controversial topic in many Member States and among
them. Some consider Turkish membership as a test to European identity
and/or an issue that can help to define/foster the content of European
identity. As such, the question is problematic and consensus cannot
be expected to appear easily, which in turns makes it into a topic where
the EU has to show a sophisticated level of communication abilities.
The section shall consists of four Czech students and four Turkish undergraduate
and graduate students, who would present papers on the various aspects
of European identity and how it relates to the recently opened negotiations
of possible future membership of Turkey in the EU. But also other speakers
are invited. In turn, Turkey itself is undergoing significant changes
in perceiving its new and changing identity in the post-Cold war era,
where the relations with the European Union play a crucial role.