A critical analysis of social inclusion in Turkey : the case study of sodes (Social Support Programme)

Kurtipek, Rıdvan
Fighting against the regional development disparities has been considered as one of the most important public policies recently. In this regard, Social Support Program, endorsed in 2008 under GAP Action Plan, is regarded as an important example of public intervention with increasing budget and geographical expansion. Objective of SODES is improving social inclusion of disadvantaged groups and enhancing regional social development. Accordingly, projects prepared by local actors to provide social inclusion, to increase employability and to support cultural, artistic and sports events are financed. “Social inclusion” is defined as policies and implementations targeting to increase access of disadvantaged groups to services like education, health, employment and social assistance. Debates on social inclusion literature include: lack of clear definition, dichotomy as “them and us”, focus on state rather than process and limited scope. Objective of this study is critically analyzing SODES, on the basis of social inclusion. In-depth interviews are conducted with beneficiaries, their families, project coordinators, local officials and policy makers to understand the impacts of the projects and SODES. It is observed that, there are important positive outcomes like the increase in schooling rate of girls. However, taking into consideration debates on social inclusion and evaluating SODES projects as a whole, it is argued that SODES has deficiencies regarding its project based structure, sustainability, accessibility of all target groups, evaluation, monitoring and institutionalization. The argument of the thesis is that such deficiencies of SODES are also arising from the concept of social inclusion which has its limitations in confronting structural inequalities in the society.