Sceptical Images Of The European Union. Euroscepticism Of Turkish University Students

  • Abstract:
    This study explores how Euroscepticism is [re]produced among a group of university students in the context of historical interpretations of European history and the image of EU. The data for this study was collected during a fieldwork conducted between 20 September 2006 and 1 June 2007 with a group of graduate students from Ankara University and Middle East Technical University in Ankara, Turkey. The research included mostly informal, structured and semi-structured interviews. For the students Europe as a space and EU as a union are not separate from each other or from Europeanness. In their “mental maps”, “continental Europe” and “real Europe” are different. England, Germany and France are considered “real Europe”; some other countries are being included in Europe stage by stage. Students relate the current economic relations of EU with the colonial past of major European countries; and thus EU is associated with colonialism, imperialism and also socialism. These associations form the basis for distrust of EU and doubts about truthfulness about EU. Historical roots of Euroscepticism are derived not only from Europe’s own history but also from the relations between Europe and Ottoman Empire, as well as Turkey. Students mostly point to the last century of Ottoman Empire, the Independence War of Turkey, the Cold War Era and the last two decades of relations with EU.