When Eurosceptics become Europhiles: far-right opposition to Turkish involvement in the European Union

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Abstract

Turkey’s involvement in the European Union has long provoked controversy among Europe’s elites. Recently, in the context of the so-called ‘migrant crisis’, coupled with the mainstreaming of Islamophobia and rising Euroscepticism, the issue of Turkey has acquired renewed significance. While many scholars have linked hostility towards Turkey with the desired construction of a supra-national European identity, few have noted the role it plays in the discourse of parties that explicitly reject the EU. Adopting a mixed-methods approach to Critical Discourse Studies, this paper investigates the contemporary construction of Turkey as a dangerous ‘other’ by far-right parties in the United Kingdom (UKIP) and France (FN/RN). Drawing on theories of Orientalism, Islamophobia and civilisationism, it exposes the apparent contradiction in the strongly Eurosceptic positions adopted by these parties, while simultaneously rejecting Turkish involvement based on its supposed ‘non-Europeanness’. They thus become defenders of Europe while simultaneously undermining the supra-national EU project.

Original languageEnglish
JournalIdentities
Early online date20 May 2019
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 20 May 2019

Keywords

  • discourse
  • Europe
  • far right
  • Islamophobia
  • Orientalism
  • Turkey

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Anthropology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)

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