Rise of Extreme Right in Europe: New ‘Other’s of Europe and The Question of Turkey’s Membership to the EU

  • Abstract:

    The rise of extreme-right parties started after the end of the Cold War, they accelerated their influence in post-September 11. Extreme right parties have been influential in Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany and Italy. Some of them were partners in coalition governments. Even in Eastern Europe extreme right parties have been increasing their influence. Economic crisis in Europe since 2008 and increasing unemployment rates in European countries increased anti-immigrant sentiments. Extreme right parties claim that there is a negative influence of immigrants on decreasing salaries of workers, increasing unemployment rates and on welfare benefits. Extreme right parties claim that there has been a decline of Europe through emphasizing high intensity of non-European immigrants in European countries especially Muslim immigrants, meanwhile they stress on aging populations in their countries. They see these contradictory trends as a threat for national identities and European identity. They argue that these Muslim immigrants have blurred and challenged national identities and European identity. European and non-European Immigrants started to be differentiated. Extreme-right parties were emphasizing racism, anti-Semitism, however, in the last decade they have been increasingly making references to Judeo-Christian roots of Europe and they claim that Jews can be integrated but it is hard to integrate Muslim immigrants. Xenophobia on the basis of cultural differences has replaced xenophobia on the basis of racial differences. The ‘other’ of Western Europe was communism during the Cold War, especially after September 11 it was replaced by Islamaphobia, Turcophobia and particularly Muslim immigrants. The extreme-right parties are mostly EU-sceptic or even anti-EU. They endanger several principles and values of the EU such as plurality and tolerance; they challenge even the motto of the EU “unity in diversity”. They oppose multiculturalism, because for them it leads to disintegration of the country. They are in favor of a “Fortress Europe”. In this article firstly how extreme right parties perceive European identity, what they construct as the ‘other’ for their countries and for Europe will be analysed. The extreme-right parties have increased their influence in politics which manifested in their national election results. Extreme right parties have had an increasing tendency to use discourses which may appeal electorates from the centre such as the position of women in Muslim society, honoured killings and forced marriages. Meanwhile Christian Democrat parties which see that extreme-right parties are on the rise, have been influenced by the discourses of the extreme-right parties. Thus, extreme-right and centre-right parties have been coming closer to each other. These tendencies in European politics have influenced Turkey’s accession process to the EU. Especially in countries such as Germany, Austria and France, who have large number of Turkish immigrants public opinion in these countries is usually against Turkey’s membership to the EU. According to Eurobarometer surveys the least wanted immigrants are Muslim immigrants and Turkey is the least wanted country as a full member. Turkish membership to the EU has been usually reflected as an instrument of Islamization of Europe. In this article Germany who is a founder member of the EU, one of the most influential countries in the enlargement policy of the EU and who has the largest number of Turkish immigrants will be focused on. How National Democratic Party (NPD) perceives EU, enlargement of the EU, European identity, German identity and how Turkey’s membership to the EU is constructed by discourses of NPD and how has it influenced discourse of Christian Democratic Union (CDU) will be discussed.