Civil society and democratization in Turkey: a critical evaluation of civil society-democracy relationship in the context of Turkey EU relations

Yeşiltaş, Özüm
This thesis tries to analyze the role of civil society within the process of democratization in Turkey with special reference to the impact of civil society policies of the EU on the internal operating styles of civil society organizations in Turkey. In this respect, a critical evaluation of the said issue was tried to be put forward in the sense that the extensive discussions on the concept of civil society were examined and gathered with the observations and empirical evidence gained on the subject in order to reach an answer on the very nature of civil society-democracy relationship. In doing this, the purpose was to uncover the reasons behind the recent popularization of the concept as an indispensable precondition of democracy and to question whether certain circumstances exist under which the term may rather harm than enable the process of democratization. Within this framework, the consideration of the civil society policies of the EU implemented in Turkey was seen as all the more necessary because of the fact that the process of Turkey’s EU membership has major implications for not only the process of democratization in Turkey, but also on the development of civil society as a significant part of this process. In accordance with the purpose of the study, in order to understand the extent of democratic capacity of civil society organizations in Turkey and the impact of the EU in that sense, a field research was conducted in Ankara, Turkey with the participation of 46 CSOs active mostly in the fields of women, children, disabled, human rights and environment. Through the field research, the main purpose was to understand the dynamics of the internal operating styles of those organizations, their views concerning the relations between CSOs as well as between the CSOs and the state on the one hand, to measure the extent to which their participation to civil society programs of the EU influence their intra-organizational structures on the other. According to the results of the field research, over the experience of 46 participant organizations, an analysis of the extent to which the EU-implemented civil society programs serve for the building of democratic capacity of civil society organizations in Turkey was tried to be made.


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Citation Formats
Ö. Yeşiltaş, “Civil society and democratization in Turkey: a critical evaluation of civil society-democracy relationship in the context of Turkey EU relations,” M.S. - Master of Science, Middle East Technical University, 2006.