Perceptions and Images in Turkish (Ottoman)-European Relations
All the issues in Turco-European relations from the disputes between Turkey and Greece, through the Turkish guest workers and migrants mainly scattered in Germany, France, Netherlands, Belgium and Austria to disagreements on European security and defense policies, the identity question is perhaps the most perplexing and deep-rooted one. This was so for the Muslim Ottoman Empire and Christian Europe, and it is the case between a secular Turkey and post-Christian Europe. Thomas Naff’s observation with regard to the Ottoman Empire was shared in the debates at the British Parliament in the 1790s. A collective social identity begins to appear when the members of the said collectivity internalize the objective elements. The existence of the other/difference in the collective identity formation is not just a logical necessity, but also it appears to be a historical fact. The role of the Turk in the formation of the modern European identity has largely been a means of affirmation through negative representations.