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A cosmopolitan Europe?

On "unity in diversity" and the politics of Turkey's EU accession

Katharina Bodirsky

Keywords: cosmopolitanism; state formation; Turkey; EU accession; European Union

Cosmopolitan visions hold EU-Europe capable of recognizing diversity within limits set by universal principles. This view has gained currency in EU self-representations and among the liberal left as a counter to founding EU-Europe on civilizational unity. Proponents of a cosmopolitan Europe nevertheless partake in a culturalization of politics that enables and obscures processes of state transformation visible in Turkey's EU accession process. Debates on Turkey's EU membership construct a normative representation of EU-Europe that justifies EU accession measures as "normalization." Supporters of a cosmopolitan EU contribute to this political effect by adhering to a liberal distinction between "mere difference" to be tolerated and "disruptive difference" to be contained, which legitimizes an interventionist stance vis-à-vis Turkey. However, changes in state interventions and institutions supported by this normalizing project go beyond installing "unity in diversity" in cultural-political terms. They involve economic de- and reregulation that might entrench social and territorial inequalities.

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