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