A critical analysis of political conditionality: political transformation in Turkey from 1999 to 2016
Sarı, Özge (2017) A critical analysis of political conditionality: political transformation in Turkey from 1999 to 2016. [Thesis]
The thesis applies the external incentives model to the Turkish transformation, by analysing the effectiveness and credibility of political conditionality. The main empirical data used is drawn from the Regular Progress Reports that the European Commission prepared for the period of 1999 when Turkey was granted the status of candidate at the Helsinki Summit until 2016 when the most recent Progress Report was released. The thesis examines that to which extent and under which conditions political conditionality is highly effective in the case of Turkey and how the incumbent Turkish governmentsthe coalition and the AKP governments- stayed on course to fulfil some of these conditions irrespective of the external and domestic obstacles put on the way to Turkey’s membership after 2005. The findings demonstrate despite the existence of main four variables of the model, it was the high domestic costs of compliance combined with the domestic veto players that notably determine the degree of reforms made by the government. This might also partly explain why the Turkish government gradually stopped complying with conditions after 2007 when the priorities of the AKP and the European Union began to diverge. The thesis further argues that domestic veto players, discussions on enlargement fatigue/ absorption capacity, alternative opportunities to EU membership- high privileged partnership-, lack of clear membership incentive and concern over the Cyprus dispute decreased the credibility of conditions in Turkey. These factors combined together to lessen the effectiveness of the EIM on Turkey.
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