Institutionalization of human rights in Turkey : experiences and perceptions of women’s human rights activists and state officials

Arıner, Hakkı Onur
This thesis contends that human rights advocates’ dismissal of attempts by the state in Turkey to institutionalize human rights since the 1990s as insincere or as efforts to delimit and control human rights advocacy is informed by the dominant historical narrative that posits a center-periphery dichotomy as key to explaining Turkey’s democratization process, as well as the actual experiences of the state’s failure to tolerate autonomous human rights institutions. This dismissal is contested on theoretical and practical grounds. A case is made in support of seeing actors as manifestation of past and present relations acted out in specific contexts and thus eschewing characterizations across space and time that reify social actors. In-depth interviews with representatives of the state and civil society organizations in 17 provinces, on the other hand, reveals that despite state selectivity, women’s human rights advocates in the East have managed to turn Provincial and Human Rights Boards into local platforms for deliberation and networking, positively contributing to the protection of women’s human rights. The thesis argues that human rights advocates should support the continued operation of the Boards and its contribution to the functioning of the Human Rights Institution of Turkey due to its long experience of bringing a diverse set of actors together in dealing with individual applications at the local level.


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Citation Formats
H. O. Arıner, “Institutionalization of human rights in Turkey : experiences and perceptions of women’s human rights activists and state officials,” Ph.D. - Doctoral Program, Middle East Technical University, 2013.