Bilkent Students Discuss the EU With Their Counterparts in Norway

12 November 2018 Comments Off on Bilkent Students Discuss the EU With Their Counterparts in Norway

On October 30, Asst. Prof. Tolga Bölükbaşı of the Department of Political Science and Public Administration conducted a video conference where Bilkent students had an informal, candid exchange of opinion with students from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) in Trondheim. The exchange focused on the nuts and bolts of current European Union–Turkey and EU–Norway relations. Below are some reflections from conference participants:

“The controversial question for me was whether Turkey, as a Muslim-majority country, can be a full member of the EU even if it meets all the Copenhagen Criteria. Conservatives in both Europe and Turkey like to answer this question negatively, as they both perceive the EU, whether openly or secretly, as a ‘Christian Club.’ For me, the most interesting part of the video conference was to hear that every person on the Norwegian side actually believed that Turkey can be a full member of the EU and that this would be something desirable for both Turkey and the EU.”

Eray Şimşek, POLS


“You may not believe this, but Norwegians rejected joining the EU. Norwegians generally believe that EU membership would constrain their political autonomy and that their economy would be adversely affected. But some of the students we spoke with dissented from this view.”

İbrahim Cem Tuna, IR


“Before the conference, I assumed that Norwegian people would not want to be a part of the EU and that no diversity of opinion regarding this would exist among Norwegians. I also assumed that Norwegian students wouldn’t know much about Turkey–EU relations. Much to my surprise, however, I learned that young Norwegians saw Turkey and the EU in a much different light than I had assumed.”

Ahsen Gezinti, POLS


“We talked about what Turkey and Norway would gain if they were to become part of the EU and also had a long discussion about the extent to which Turkey has fulfilled the Copenhagen criteria. We feel we were very fortunate to have an opportunity to talk about an important issue like the EU with young people in Norway.”

Dilara Ergül, POLS


“Taking a part in the video conference on EU–Turkey relations and the Ankara Agreement was like an application of the knowledge I had gained from my classes and the news. It was really beneficial for me to test myself and listen to alternative opinions.”

Selen Eşençay, POLS