Esat Bzyigit is a research fellow at the University of Galatasaray (Istanbul) and a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Sociology and History at the University of Konstanz, Germany. He is currently conducting research on European integration and cultural patterns of thought and perception and on the cultural aspects of the EU-Enlargement process with emphasis on the relations between EU and Turkey. The working title of his dissertation is “Democratization Discourses in the Turkish Parliament in reference to Turkey’s Bid for EU-Accession (1996-2003).” He holds an M.A. in History (1991) and in Political Science (1999).
During their stay at Yale University, Professor Giannakopoulos and Mr. Bozyigit conducted research on the relationship between Turkey, the European Union and the United States. Being for more than fifty years the battlefield on which the East-West conflict had been staged, in the post-Cold War era, Turkey found herself located at the center of an emerging conflict that reached its climax with the crisis between the EU and the USA over Iraq. This conflict, in turn, was paralleled and compounded by the rift between civil and military/administrative forces in Turkey related to its EU-stimulated democratization process. Besides the consolidation of economic and political reforms, Turkey’s quest for EU-accession seems also to rest critically upon Turkish foreign policy. Regarding the intensified transatlantic rift and the severe setback in Turkish-US relations within the context of the continuing US-operation in Iraq, Professor Giannakopoulos’ and Mr. Bozyigit’s research aims to assess the impact of the ongoing strain within the EU-Turkey-US triangle on Turkey’s quest for EU-accession by comparing the different perceptions of “Turkey” by the European and American policy-makers. The title of their research topic is “US-American and European Perceptions of Turkey’s EU-Membership in Comparative Perspective: Real-political Priorities vs. Politico-cultural Premises.”