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EU Socialization and Minority Issue: Comparing Turkey and Croatia

Melek Saral
School of Oriental and African Studies
Melek Saral
School of Oriental and African Studies
Open Panel

Abstract

Literature on socialization affirms that interactions of states with international institutions change the normative characteristics and identities of states that in turn shape the actor’s interests and behavior. Croatia and Turkey started the accession talks on 3 October 2005. These two candidate states are not only at different stages of accession negotiations but also show different degrees of socialization. Five years after the start of official negotiations, Croatia concluded two thirds of the negotiations. However, Turkey lags far behind Croatia and opened the negotiations only on thirteen chapters one of which was provisionally closed. Protection of minorities is a highly significant dimension of the EU socialization process. All potential candidate states are expected to effectively recognize minority rights before joining the EU. The impact of the socialization process on two candidate state’s approach to their minority issues differ greatly too as their progress in the negotiations. The EU progress report 2010 describes Turkey''s approach to minority rights as restrictive whereas the position of minorities in Croatia is portrayed as “continuing to improve”. This paper aims to answer the question how these different approaches to minority rights are in course of the socialization process to explain. It assumes that the different approaches of Turkey and Croatia in regard to the minority issues is not merely caused by the differences in their preferences, capabilities and willingness for socialization but more by the EU’s different behavior as a socializer toward two candidate states throughout the socialization process. The research question and hypotheses are investigated on the basis of case studies: Turkey and Croatia from 2005 till to date. The methods of process tracing are applied to these cases.