Minority Rights in Turkey: Analysis of the Impact of Europeanization
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This research tries to identify how, and to what extent, engagement with the European Union (EU) changes the political behavior of civil society actors and minority groups in Turkey. It is argued that the EU assistance changes the availability of political and financial resources for minority civil society organizations in Turkey, which is a critical component of Europeanization and constitutes a significant test for the EU’s enlargement strategy. The key objective is to identify how, and to what extent, engagement with the EU changes the political behavior of civil society actors and minority groups in Turkey. It examines the fluctuations in the level of civil society activism in Turkey among minority organizations and consider the extent to which the interaction with the EU explains the variation in their political efficacy through the availability of different financial, political and human resources. In a broader context, this thesis will contribute to the general research on Europeanization by elaborating on the transformative impact of the EU on civil society activism. To achieve this, this research employed a mixed methodology. Surveys were conducted with civil society organizations representing twenty-three different ethnic, linguistic and religious minority groups. In addition, semi-structured interviews were conducted with different actors representing the minority groups in question. In conclusion the results showed that the Europeanization process allowed EU actors to promote EU ideas, norms and standards in their interactions with civil society organizations causing a differential empowerment of these organizations. It also demonstrated that empowering civil society organizations through capacity-building mechanisms and political dialogue triggered the mobilization of civil society organizations in Turkey, however their empowerment is still contingent upon a number of other factors. While situating itself within the existing literature that tries to explain the effects of international institutions and norms on civil society organizations, this thesis shows that unlike other external actors, the EU strengthened the civil society activism in Turkey particularly in a contentious area such as minority rights and in the presence of resistant political elites. In return, these actors were able to represent themselves in other national and international platforms, which yielded increased political efficacy.
AuthorsAk, Ceren Zeynep
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