The EU's membership conditionality and ITS legal implications on minority rights in Turkey
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Minority rights is frequently perceived as a barrier to Turkey’s EU accession. The relationship between Turkey and its minorities is complex and often controversial. One of the primary obstacles for the establishment of a legal framework to recognize and protect minority rights in Turkey emerges from a narrow interpretation of the constitutional citizenship. It has been strictly confined to the principles of nation-state. The problematic nature of the concept of citizenship in this constitutional model stems from the relationship between the nation and minorities. In a nation-state model, citizenship contemplates the submerging of differences into an all-inclusive constitutional identity, where the legal notion of nationality neither elaborates nor functions as a neutral ground under which ethnic differences gain a legal status. In this project, the dominant identity cannot escape from being institutionalised, where its particular traits emerge as the only identity characteristics promoted at the state level. As a consequence, the national-identity, and by extension the constitutional citizenship, is overwhelmed by the dominant identity. Ergo, the constitutional citizenship gains an exclusionary character since access by minorities into the national community is conditioned upon their unreserved acceptance of the national identity. This thesis will, therefore, examine the impact of EU membership conditionality on the largest minority group in Turkey from a legal point of view. While the study will demonstrate a degree of contribution it will also reveal that the crucial features of the constitutional principles of Turkishness and nationalism has narrowed the legal space for the enjoyment of minority rights set forth by the EU minority acquis.