The Puzzles of Turkey’s EU Accession Negotiations: Discursive Constructions of the EU in ‘Loosely-Coupled’ Two-Level Games

  • Abstract:

    The paper will argue that neither the conditionality approach nor the clash-of-civilization thesis can explain major puzzles in Turkey’s EU accession negotiations, in particular the changing positions of the German and Turkish government. The paper will suggest the model of ‘loosely coupled two-level games’, in which government parties on both sides mainly act with a view to the domestic political arena. Second, the shift in (ethical-political, pragmatic and normative) arguments also reveals that the adoption and shifts in different conceptions of European integration follows the rational-choice perspective of parties in government. The most important heads of governments have also been the leaders of parties with a confessional background (albeit at different stages of secularization): the Turkish AKP and the German CDU. The oscillating positions and discourses of both parties can better be explained by changes in the respective domestic party strategies than by the interaction at the international level.