Accepted Paper:

Turkish Europeanization and the cultures of EU lobbying in Brussels  


Bilge Firat (University of Texas at El Paso)

Paper short abstract:

Turkey is touted as a prospective member of the EU whose application is sure to fail, yet there are many forces at work to see the country through accession. This paper presents preliminary findings on negotiations of Turkish private and public interest representatives and their target audience at the European supranational level of techno-bureaucracy.

Paper long abstract:

Turkey is often touted as a prospective member of the European Union (EU) whose application is sure to fail, due to its perceived differences in socio-economic structure/"too poor," demographic profile/"too large," and cultural values/"too Muslim". Yet, there are many forces at work in Turkey and across the EU-27 countries to see Turkey through to accession or to bar it from membership. Anthropological studies of the EU and Europeanization have shown that European integration reconfigures forms of belonging and governance practices as a result of negotiations between actors and agents from supranational, national, and sub-state levels. Turkey's European integration is increasingly facilitated by groups who lobby European publics and governments, and EU institutions in Brussels for public and private interests of various Turkish and European constituencies. This paper presents preliminary findings of an ongoing ethnographic study of how Turkish lobbying and governmental groups and their target audience negotiate issues of identity and sovereignty within the techno-bureaucratic environment of policy-making at the European supranational level in Brussels. It seeks to attain an account of Turkish Europeanization, a contested field of power within which 'a common European interest' is articulated from a historically-contingent and culturally-informed perspective. It provides a partial assessment of lobbyists' expertise in convincing European/Turkish publics that Turkey's European integration will bring economic prosperity and cultural enrichment without threatening existing lifeworlds. This paper also investigates ways in which Turkish Europeanization is moulded by the transnational communities of Turks and Europeans of Turkish background who are resident in Brussels.

Panel W052
World(s) of bureaucrats