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An examination of two Turkish NGOs from a pluralist perspective : Human Rights Association (İHD) and Women for Women's Human Rights-New Ways (KİH-YÇV)

Çoban, Aslıhan
The major aim of this study is to evaluate the role of Turkish non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in the consolidation of democracy in Turkey regarding the characteristics defined by the classical pluralist theories, starting with the ideas of Alexis de Tocqueville, and by contemporary pluralist approaches to civil society. To that end, characteristics of two examples, İHD and KİH-YÇV will be examined using three dimensions: effectiveness, enhancing solidarity and responsibility, and the dimension of inner democracy. As the methodology of the case study, in-depth interview techniques were adapted for capturing the qualities of the organizations in a detailed way. At that level, in-depth interviews from each organization were conducted with members having different positions. In addition to this, all written documents obtained from the organizations were scanned and the relevant ones have been examined for the sake of the study. Since the aim of the study is to understand what part Turkish NGOs play in the consolidation of democracy in Turkey considering the assumptions of classical and contemporary pluralist school in their analysis of voluntary associations and interest groups, this study espoused an associational concept of democracy as the method of work, which is a contemporary concept that underlines the democratic role of free and voluntary associations. In this context, this study tries to discuss the following questions: To what extent are Turkish NGOs independent from the state? To what extent can they have leverage on governmental policies? Do they mitigate conflict through overlapping interests? Do they enhance social trust, tolerance, compromise and a sense of solidarity in society and within their organization? To what extent are they democratic, pluralist and horizontally structured inside their organization and to what extent they are democratic regarding their decision making process? Are they open and inclusive enough in their membership recruitment techniques?.