Turkey's bid for European Union membership: between "thick" and "thin" conceptions of Europe

A team of Central Europe-based political geographers examines Turkey's bid for European Union (EU) membership, one of the most controversial issues confronting that country's and EU politics. The authors analyze Eurobarometer public opinion survey data on EU enlargement (and particularly Turkey's EU membership) across the 27 polities of the enlarged EU as well as in Turkey itself. The analysis of the data points to clear regional differences in support for Turkey's EU membership. Moreover, the authors' statistical analysis indicates two major components around which public perceptions of Turkey's EU membership coalesce. The first, identified as a "thick" component, based on the idea that EUrope embodies a specific cultural identity, opposes Turkish membership, whereas a second "thin" component, comprised of institutional-procedural norms, leaves the door open to Turkey. They argue that it is at the complex intersection of these two opposing views that Turkey's bid for EU membership should be located and eventually decided.