Reflections on the European Legacy (from the Plains of Anatolia)

The European Legacy 16 (1):1-11 (2011)
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Turkey's insistence on its European credentials, and its endeavours to join the European Union, provide an opportunity to reflect on what the European legacy means. While acknowledging the diverse contributors to Europe, and the extensive interactions with the rest of the world that have shaped European history and identity, this essay locates Europe's most important legacy—and measure—in the realm of ideas, especially the ideas we use to organise our experience and approach the challenges of the world. These ideas came to fruition in the Enlightenment, and they provide an approach that is potentially liberating for peoples but uncomfortable for those with power, and those that aspire to power, including within Europe itself. The challenge for Turkey is to recognise that the EU is not necessarily the last word on ‘Europe,’ while continuing to engage creatively with the European legacy.



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