Political conditionality, a complicated strategy of democracy promotion and protection, evokes the normative feature of the European Union's external affairs. Having institutionalized a set of political criteria in its relations with the membership-seeking countries, the EU has been seen as the main driving force for the recent reform process in Turkey. However, previous works assume the positive role played by the EU in consolidation of Turkey's democracy but didn’t provide empirical evidence.
This book offers an insight into the EU's role in bringing changes in a candidate country's democracy, with a comparative analysis of various domestic actors during the period of 1991-2004. By analyzing the elite attitudes towards Turkey's membership and democratization, this book intends to find evidence for the EU's positive impact. As a result of the comparison of twelve actors in terms of their stances vis-à-vis various reform items over time, the book argues that there is a correlation between an actor's attitude towards the EU membership and its position on democratization reforms. Yet, it also argues that the direction of this relationship needs more clarification, as the EU has varying impacts, conducive or obstructive for the consolidation of democracy in Turkey.
Isik Gürleyen is assistant professor at Izmir University of Economics, Department of International Relations and EU since 2006. She received her PhD at the University of Siena/Italy, in Comparative and European Politics in 2005. Her research interests include theory of regime change, democratization, European Integration and EU-Turkey relations.