Istanbul Kultur University International Relations Department Head Prof. Dr. İbrahim Mensur Akgün: “If Nationalist Attitudes Continue, European Integration Will Face Serious Problems.”

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On the 6th of October 2022, I interviewed Prof. Dr Ibrahim Mensur Akgun as per the request of ANKASAM for the sake of an analysis that would be conducted on the 8th of October 2022. The interview lasted 30 minutes in his office and it consisted of his point of view about the changes that are now occurring in continental Europe and how he sees the rise of nationalism in the last ten years and what are its prospects and impact on European integration.

  • What rationalist reasons can explain the rise of nationalism in Europe?

If you are associating nationalism with the national interest, this means that you will be assuming that nationalists are rationalists. This perception is wrong. If they were rationalist, they would never try to leave the EU like Britain with Brexit in 2018. Nationalism appears to be most of the time to be instrumentilized by the populist movements around the world. Realism may not be the correct instrument to interpret nationalism without seeing the overall framework.

  • What are the factors, in your perspective, that contribute to the rise of nationalism in the last two years in Europe?

I think that it is pretty much associated with the migration problem and the terrorist threat with State of Iraq and Damascus (DAESH) that enhanced the sense of anti-islamism in Europe the war in Syria and Libya also provided another opportunity for nationalists in Europe.

  • Do you think that the rise of nationalism, as identified earlier as it was fortified by the abscence of alternatives, is in fact a rise of populism?

I think that most of the populist are also nationalists. Populism is a methodology of winning elections and the appeal to the mind of citizens without the providing solutions for problems. Instead, you blame the powerholders for being inefficient. For example populists in Europe blame Brussels and the bureaucracy of the European Union.

  • How do you think the rise of the radical right in Europe will affect the EU?

First of all, I think that if these attempts continue, European Integration will be face with serious problems. Most probable outcome is that the process of creating a supernational europe or creating a more institutional integration instruments could be interrupted. The Franco-German plan of creating a strategic autonomous Europe and also no only be able to decide on the foreign policy issues but at the same on economic and diplomatic senctions as well as creating a real european army is likely to be parted away.

Prof. Dr. İbrahim Mensur Akgün

Mensür Akgün graduated from Middle East Technical University, Department of International Relations in 1981. Akgün, who received his master’s degree from the Social Anthropology Department of Oslo University in Norway in 1987, completed his doctoral studies at Boğaziçi University in 1992 and was entitled to receive the title of “doctor”. He is currently the Head of the International Relations Department of the Faculty of Economics and Administrative Sciences at Istanbul Kultur University as a professor.

Marwen Ben JANNENA
Ben Jannena Marouene completed his undergraduate studies at the university of Sousse in the Faculty of Humanities and social sciences in Tunisia in 2021. Currently, he continues his first phase of graduate studies at the level of master's degree at T.C. İstanbul Kültür University Institute of Graduate Studies, Department of international relations and political sciences. In addition to being a nearly-native English language speaker, he speaks 5 languages among which French and Arabic are his mother tongues.