On the un­pre­dictable char­ac­ter of Euro­peaniza­tion in Turkey


The fifth pub­li­ca­tion of the New Per­spec­tives on Southeast Europe Se­ries fo­cuses on non-gov­ern­men­tal or­ga­ni­za­tions (NGOs) in Turkey as in­stru­ments of change. In a larger con­text, the se­ries ex­plores the ways in which South-East Europe is evolv­ing in terms of Euro­pean ideals of de­moc­ra­ti­za­tion and eco­nomic re­form. Markus Ke­tola, a Turk­ish scholar at the Lon­don School of Eco­nomics and Po­lit­i­cal Science, as­serts that “to gain a bet­ter un­der­stand­ing of the true im­pact of EU pre-ac­ces­sion pol­icy it is nec­es­sary to look more holis­ti­cally at how NGOs en­gage with and re­act to EU pol­icy and how they em­brace, adapt, or re­sist this pol­icy depend­ing on their in­ter­ests” (156). His the­sis is that within Turkey, Euro­peaniza­tion and the roles of NGOs as agents of de­moc­ra­ti­za­tion need to be rethought. In the end, he ad­vo­cates for lo­cal­ized pro­cesses where prac­tices are in­ter­nal­ized in a way mean­ing­ful to Turk­ish ac­tors.

Based on his re­search, he ar­gues that there is an un­pre­dictable char­ac­ter of Euro­peaniza­tion in Turkey, and dis­sects two main fac­tors: his­tor­i­cal and con­tem­po­rary ide­olo­gies af­fect­ing civil so­ci­ety in Turkey, and the dis­con­nect be­tween the EU pol­icy frame­work and NGO be­hav­ior. It should be noted that the time for dis­sect­ing this phe­nom­ena is ripe. He presents an op­por­tu­nity to con­sider if “NGOs [are] merely fol­low­ing in the slip­stream of an ac­ces­sion process […] or is the role of NGOs in­te­gral to see­ing through the demo­cratic re­form process suc­cess­fully” (70). Had Ke­tola re­searched this prior to 2005, when EU ne­go­ti­a­tions started, or prior to 2008, when changes in laws al­lowed for eas­ier NGO

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