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Is there any Adaptation Pressure? The Approach of the EU Institutions to Minority Protection in Turkey

Zelal Kizilkan-Kisacik

The EU has played an important role in the Europeanization of minority rights in the candidate countries. Minority protection has become one of the core elements of enlargement. Yet, attributing particular importance to minority protection in the course of the enlargement process has not culminated amplification of clear and coherent internal and external standards. The lack of precise catalogue of minority rights that candidate countries can download has resulted in the imposition of distinct benchmarks for different countries. Accordingly, the impact of the EU's adaptation pressure could not be measured with respect to compliance level of candidate countries with a single catalogue of minority rights uniformly applied to all candidate countries, but the standards particularly applied for different candidate countries. This article analyses the pressure and standards imposed by the EU on Turkey with respect to minority protection. The focus is only on demand side of minority protection, leaving the degree of domestic change due to EU's involvement in Turkey outside the scope of analysis. The paper has three main objectives. Firstly, it attempts to determine the degree and content of material and normative pressure of the EU on the policy area of minority protection in Turkey. Secondly, it endeavors to identify the framework of minority standards required by the EU for Turkey. The objective is to outline a catalogue of minority rights particularly claimed by the EU from Turkey. Thirdly, by using Turkey as a case study, this article aims to determine main factors through which the EU itself has weakened its impact in this policy area. In order to so, regular reports of the Commission and parliamentary resolutions pertaining to minority protection are analyzed with respect to several criteria. These criteria are content, naming, frequency-strength, categories, overlapping and compatibility. Basic argument of this paper is that the EU's impact on minority protection in Turkey has not only been shaped by the domestic parameters but also shortcomings of the EU's approach in minority rights protection in Turkey. Hence, the requirements of the EU are not only produce discontents on the part of Turkish state but also for minority groups as they fall short for fulfilling their claims.

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