Conditions of European Integration: The Salience of Religious Identity in the Case of Turkey’s EU Candidacy
International cooperation and governance have become increasingly valuable to generating solutions to the most pressing global problems of the last three decades including forced migration disasters and global financial meltdowns. That is why it is important to understand the conditions that determine integration into regional governance organizations. This thesis specifically asks, “What are the determinants of the membership outcomes of countries that are candidates for EU membership?” Research on European Integration suggests that EU membership outcomes are determined by a combination of political, economic, social, and institutional factors, which are officially represented by the Copenhagen Criteria. Moving beyond the perception that these criteria are the only determinants of EU membership outcomes, this thesis extends previous theories by arguing that factors such as religious identity can play an important role in the process of accession and membership. This thesis shows that religious identity is an important determinant of EU membership outcomes by looking at the case of Turkey and using a mixed-methods approach consisting of historical representation, quantitative comparison, and textual analysis. If religious identity affects the EU membership outcome of Turkey, then factors other than those officially stated should be considered when looking at what determines integration.
Key words: integration, European Union, Turkey, religious identity, membership