Yordanka Bibina

The Turkish Sight on the West
or the Emancipation of the East?



The problem of Turkish perception of the West has its deep roots; however we can say that since the Tanzimat the thinly fibers and sporadic touching between these two worlds turn into a lasting interest that finely, accelerated the processes of Turkish Europeisation and modernization. The aftermath of the first reform movement continued and radicalized by Ataturk is the establishment of a secular state modernizing after the achievements of European and Western models. The processes of democratization continued after Ataturks’ death even though often interrupted by the military takeovers of the politics. Formally, Turkey is a Muslim state but functioning on a Western fundament and principles. However the dispute whether Turkey is a European country in means of civilization mappings or still is in an outsider position either stops or calm down. On the contrary, it is gaining momentum in last December when European Commission had to decide on the future European destiny of Turkey defining the date for starting talks on accepting the country into the New Europe. From the other hand, the problematization of Turkish identity and where she belongs continued in Turkey herself. In particular, we clearly may see the Turkish outlook on the West perceived this time as a delicate issue of Turkish EU membership. In couple of academic and non-academic text the different perspectives – sociological, cultural, historical, anti globalistic or purely pro-Islamistic and restorational, will be analyzed. Thus, the attempt to illustrate the fact that it is hard to speak of a single Turkish vision of the West will be made. It is rather non-monolithic and one-sided, but more pluralistic “sight” to Europe as a West. It becomes more and more emancipated towards the traditional subordination to what is considered to be an European superiority. Not talking about the serious question to what extend contemporary Turkey is an “Eastern” after more than century and a half of Westernization and more and more reforms for overcoming the deficiencies in managing the democratic governance. Through the Turkish view on West we can see the strive of the most modernized and Europeanized part of the East for imposing its own more sovereign image and straight.


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