An empirical study of lobbying success in the context of Turkey's accession negotiations with the European Union
Kuşku Sönmez, Eda (2013) An empirical study of lobbying success in the context of Turkey's accession negotiations with the European Union. [Thesis]
Historical analysis of the relationship between the State and civil society in Turkey demonstrate the problematic nature of interactions between these domains. All through the Turkish political history, the actors within civil society had been subject to inherent legal and structural limits in terms of access to the political level and thus had been relegated to a weak-standing. This historical legacy of civil society’s portrayal as inept and devoid of any real role in politics had eventuated in academic lack of interest concerning possible transformations in the civil society’s potential. Over the last decade, the European Union (EU) negotiation framework has provided a new opportunity context enhancing the chances of decision making participation of groups that operate within the Turkish civil society. One should consider the positive impact of the EU pressures for regular and structural participation of these previously excluded stakeholders. Lobbying groups’ increasing access to the political level should have implications for policy outputs; still this access alone is not enough to determine lobbying success. Taking into account Turkey’s domestic political setting in flux, what could be some other factors easing or hindering lobbying success? This dissertation aims to answer this question. To this end, it provides comparative analysis of lobbying activities under three alternative issue areas -gender mainstreaming, Alevi rights and press freedoms- which heavily occupied the reform agenda of Turkey in the last decade. With a specific focus on the degree of conflict on these issues; the dissertation demonstrates that conflicts had arisen primarily due to ideology and identity based polarizations in Turkey such as the controversy between secularism versus religious conservatism. The dissertation deliberates on how such polarizations impact lobbying success and moderate the impact of other potential explanatory factors. In the case of an EU negotiating country, one should also take into account how the EU’s adaptational pressures determine the direction of reforms and thus lobbying success. Incorporating the impact of this special context, our analytical model is additionally expected to shed light on the literature on Europeanization that concentrate on transposition processes in the Turkish case.
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