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The role of faith-based non-governmental organizations in Turkey’s humanitarian aid policy and practice

Turhan, Yunu
As the presence of Turkish NGOs in humanitarian aid hits its two-decade mark, their overseas activities have become the subject of more global scrutiny than ever before. The state-NGO aid relationship, however, has not received adequate scholarly attention. The main purpose of this thesis is to address this gap by asking what roles NGOs play in Turkey’s humanitarian aid policy and practice. Contrary to strong state tradition of Turkey’s administration structure, this dissertation uncovers selected NGOs attempt to play political role in Turkish foreign policy, particularly when the decision of the government is related to the humanitarian aid. By doing this, it pursues a descriptive and interpretive approach, based on qualitative findings and taking Turkey a single case. In examining political role of selected NGOs in Turkey’s nascent development community, it focuses on techniques derived from constructivism such as agenda-setting, lobbying, normbuilding, framing and information providing. Based on this literature and considering the period between 2004-2016, this thesis argues that Turkish NGOs seek to play political roles in Turkey's humanitarian aid policy and practice by functioning as knowledge-providers, powerful catalysts for humanitarian aid activities, and voice-articulators in bringing humanitarian issues to light through raising awareness in Turkey.