Turkey entered the 21st century with a great project: getting reformed to be accepted by EU.
Turkey first approached EU (then EEC) in 1964, and continues to get closer to adhesion. In 1999, the possibility for the Turkish adhesion was recognized. Since 2001, the Turkish system has been broadly restructured and EU accepted to start negotiations with Ankara on October 3, 2005. Such a result has only been possible due to Turkey’s westernization, which radically started in the 1920’s. That was called Kemalism. Today, Turkey is going through a new stage of Kemalism; that is, a total transformation of the Turkish society aiming at building a new and westernized man on the basis of an Asian and Muslim society. Kemalism is evidently inspired in France’s the Age of Enlightenment, Positivism, Rationalism and secularism.
The driving forces for the change in Turkish society were religion, law and education. Caliphate was abolished in 1924 and Islam preeminence was finished. The legal system was secularized and unified with the education system. That revolution was built under the aegis of a single party; many mistakes were made but millions of Turks came out of the school system with the values of the Age of Enlightenment on which present Turkey is founded.

Daily Star (Lebanon)

Thanks to Kemalism, Turkey has advanced on EU reform”, by Duygu Bazoglu Sezer, Daily Star, September 9, 2005.