Understanding Kokorec through Gastro-Nationalism and Securitization during EU-Turkey Membership Negotiations
Keywords:food safety, securitization, gastro-nationalism, Turkey-EU negotiations, kokorec
Turkey's European Union (EU) membership process began in 1963 with the partnership agreement sign with the European Economic Community. Turkey's application for full membership in 1987 speed the process to achieve EU standards. The negotiations include comprehensive policy changes in many areas, from financial standardization to intellectual property rights. These policies are collected under 35 chapters in which each of these chapters has many significant conditions. Chapter 12 is about food safety, veterinary, and phytosanitary policies. This article examines one of the subjects that is an issue of the first part of the chapter, food safety. Kokorec, a Turkish street food made of animal intestines, has been popularized in EU-Turkey negotiations as it is one of the most critical issues among 35 chapters. Kokorec was presented as it is an essential obstacle for Turkish membership, and if Turkey abandoned this century-old food, it would join the Union. This popularization has been made via media and other platforms such as TV series, articles, songs, and news and debate programs. This article studies this phenomenon under two concepts, securitization and gastro-nationalism. This article suggests that the kokorec has been popularized as one of the most critical issues and subjected to successful securitization. The debate regarding hygiene, authentic cuisine, the national food industry, and other debates are only tools of the securitization for the public view. This study used the social and traditional means of media and suggested that Turkey's public opinion (especially until 2010) regards to EU membership was manipulated through these means. The securitization of kokorec prevents a real discussion about Chapter 12 (and even the 35 chapters) and its content related to food safety, veterinary, and phytosanitary policies. The kokorec also played a significant role in national Turkish cuisine which is an ideal case for gastro-nationalism.