Politics of Redistributive Policy Reform in Pre-Accession States: The Case of Regional Policy and Governance in Turkey

Wednesday, June 26, 2013
C1.23 (Oudemanhuispoort)
Ebru Ertugal , International Relations and the EU, Bilkent University
Following decades of deterioration in regional disparities Turkey’s regional policy and governance witnessed a change in the 2000s from centralized planning to regionally based endogenous development. The existing literature on Turkey generally attributes this shift to the impact of the globally all-pervasive neo-liberal policy agenda played out through the EU during when Turkey’s relations with the latter deepened. This paper takes issue with this structuralist-functionalist explanation and instead aims to uncover the causal mechanisms that have resulted in policy and governance reform by adopting a bottom-up research design of Europeanization studies. In doing so, the paper first reviews the potential global, EU-level and domestic factors responsible for regional policy and governance reform in pre-accession countries. Second, the paper accounts for the extent and direction of policy and governance change (and continuity) by disaggregating it into principles, objectives, procedures and instruments. Third, by relying on the process-tracing technique the paper analyses the interplay among domestic ideas, interests and institutions with a view to uncovering the causal mechanisms at work. This analysis is based on a review of official documents, primary and secondary legislation, and parliamentary minutes as well as qualitative interviews with key policymakers and stakeholders. The paper concludes by identifying a set of factors and causal mechanisms involved in the politics of regional policy and governance reform in Turkey.