Values, identities and social constructions of the European Union among Turkish university youth
The present study aimed to investigate Turkish university youth’s constructions concerning the European Union (EU) and their reactions to the EU’s December 2002 Copenhagen summit decision to delay discussion of Turkey’s entry to the EU. Specifically it aimed to show that socio-political identities among Turkish youth were related to historical developments in Turkey’s past and that these identities had associations with values of ethnocentricism, patriotism, and secularism. Furthermore it was predicted that constructions of the EU reactions to the decision would be related. Students (400) from five universities at the three largest cities of Turkey participated in the study. Three identities, Nationalist-Islam, Kemalist, and Western; three constructions of the EU, Europe as Different, Impermeable Boundaries, and Different but Advantageous, and two perceived causes for the decision, Differences-Conflict and Justification emerged from factor analyses. Second order factor analysis revealed that Nationalist-Islam identity and authoritarian, ethnocentric and antisecular values formed a cluster whereas Kemalist and Western identities were grouped with low levels of patriotism. Positive and negative constructions of the EU and reactions to the Copenhagen decision were also grouped under two separate factors. Further analyses revealed that an index of urbanization composed of parental education and rural-urban origin predicted the Authoritarian-Nationalistic cluster and that this value-identity cluster predicted positive and negative views of the EU.
|Keywords||European Union, Turkey, entry, social perception, students, values|