Since Turkey’s reformation and creation of a Republic in 1923 the nation/state has embraced, fought against, and grappled with concepts of modernity. Turkey applied for full European Union membership in 1983, being an associate member of the European Community since 1964, but the EU postponed Turkey’s application until 1993. The Turkish nation/state viewed this application as a natural and inevitable stop on the road to westernization and modernization. The application was postponed because the EC was in the process of transforming itself into the politically and economically stronger EU. The fall of the Soviet Union and German re-unification also added to Turkey’s deferred application. Moreover, the EU has continually denied Turkey full membership on grounds of its economy, its financial system, and the Cyprus question. In reaction to the EU and in accordance with its desire to compete in the world market, Turkey reformed its currency.
Changes made to the currency only illustrate some of the recent reforms that have impacted Turkey. Many of these changes are controversial, as they often prioritize western influence. Some scholars like Gülriz Büken claim that the influence of western and American goods devalue Turkish culture. This debate serves as the core issue for this project. Since the end of the Cold War, Turkey saw the rise of conservative Islamic movements, inflation reach 120 percent in 1994 (in 2008 it hovers at twelve percent), and approval ratings for the United States dropped to single digits during the George W Bush years. Yet, the presence of American goods continued to increase, and Turkey continually seeks to receive EU recognition and American diplomatic support.
College of Arts and Sciences