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Impact of EU Political Conditionality Towards Democratic Consolidation in Turkey [1]

On Sui Generis


Turkey’s application to be registered to the European Union (EU) was made on April 14th 1987. Turkey has been an associate member of the EU since 1963. After the ten founding fathers of EU, Turkey was one of the first countries to become a member of the Council of Europe in 1949, and was also a founding member of the Organisastion for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) in 1961 and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) in 1973. The country has also been an associate member of the Western European Union since 1992, and currently a part of the “Western Europe” division of the Western European and Others Group (WEOG) at the United Nations. But it was only until they signed a Customs Union Agreement with the EU in 1995, Turkey was officially recognised as a candidate for full membership on December 1999, at the Helsinki summit of the European Council.

As Turkey was recognized as a candidate member of the European Union by the Helsinki European Council of 1999, a significant reform process began in the country, with the purpose of democratizing itself so as to fulfill all the necessary criteria to gain access into the alliance. Turkey has proved so far that it can be a country that combines both secular democracy and Islamic religion, despite the doubts of the European leaders on the Turkish candidacy. Europe has always considered Turkey as an ally that can satisfy all of its’ strategic goals in the Middle East region and a very important player in the region. Therefore, the need for the democratization in Turkey from the European was indespensable. On the other hand, it was of great necessity for Europe to demonstrate to its’ own people and to the rest of the world that it does not simply consist a “Christian Club”, but a society that is multicultural and positive to religious interactions within its premises.

It is important to further analyze the impact of EU conditionalities toward the democratization process in Turkey. Therefore, this article plans to analyze the democratization process in Turkey after the Helsinki European Council of 1999, the role that EU conditionality has played in it, and the current situation of democracy as a result of a shift of interests from both side.

Consequences of the Rise of Design

On Tynan

I was walking through the mall a couple days ago. My path took me past a bunch of stores and kiosks, including the Nike Store. I walked past it and looked at their window display. They had a really nicely photographed poster and some cool looking shoes in a bunch of different colors. The store was beautiful and looked like a fun place to be. At the same time, their shoes aren't particularly great, they aren't actually innovative, and they're made of cheap materials. There are many shoe companies that are way lower quality than Nike, but I don't know if there are any with such a disparity between their presentation and the actual product.

The more I thought about it, the more I realized that this isn't just nike or most of the clothes in the mall-- it's how our culture works now. Back in the day, if you wanted a pair of shoes you'd go to a cobbler. He would design a pair for you, or use one of his existing designs, pick out some nice leather, and make you a pair of shoes. His design work, his execution, and his materials could all be leveraged about equally, so I'd guess that you'd tend to have either poorly designed shoes that are poorly executed and made of poor materials, or well designed shoes that were well executed and used good materials.

These days, things have changed. Design can be leveraged almost infinitely, which has changed the whole equation. Mass manufacturing ensures decent execution, but supplying top quality materials is difficult. A cobbler who makes a hundred pairs of shoes a year can take the time to pick out the best hides to get the best leather. That doesn't scale to making thousands of shoes a day, so material quality drops. Execution has become more consistent, but the benefits of cutting corners is magnified. Saving a penny on making a pair of shoes didn't matter to the cobblers, but it matters to Nike.

So these days, most of what people buy is well designed, decently and consistently executed, and uses relatively poor quality materials. In the mall I walked past a kiosk of phone cases. There were some that were blinged out. Pretty good design in that they fit perfectly on the phone the're meant for, the rows of fake diamonds are all uniform, etc.. Each one looks the same and is okay quality. But the materials are crap-- cheap plastic painted to look like metal covered in lackluster plastic "gems".

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