Affiliation: College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Political Science
Turkey's accession to the European Union has been a key topic of debate in the past few years.
This paper aims to explain how current policies under the Erdoğan administration are causing a
retrenchment in Atatürk s efforts of westernizing the Turkish state and further hindering Turkey
from joining the European Union. Research on this topic tends to discuss contemporary Turkish
and European politics but fails to include its roots going back to the establishment of the nation
itself. To tackle why Turkey has faced difficulty joining the EU, I address how both Atatürk and
Erdoğan dealt with the same struggles from differing perspectives, leading to opposite results. I tie
together discourse on Turkish history as well as contemporary politics using analysis by authors
like Darden and Skocpol. This approach explains current trends and sheds light on how Turkey s
history affects contemporary outcomes.