January 24, 2013 - Workshop

Transformation in public policy and governance in times of crisis: questioning 'europeanization' in Turkey

Public policies in Turkey had been undergoing massive transformation – or so the existing literature on Turkey suggests. Moreover, The literature generally attributes these transformations to the transformative power of the EU by pointing to the correlation between a series of policy reversals since the early 2000s and deepening relations with the EU without investigating further the causal mechanisms operating therein. This workshop, however, problematizes such alleged impact of the EU in three key public policy domains (monetary policy, employment policy, and immigration policy) by investigating the relative impact of the EU in driving changes in policy and governance, and to the extent that it does, the mechanisms through which Europeanization takes place across these policy domains. The panel presents the findings of a medium-scale multi-annual collaborative research project funded by TUBITAK (The Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey) as well as a doctoral research project that is close to completion. With respect to overall research design, although each paper presents empirical findings based on a single policy area, they are designed as comparative case studies of reform. Based on case study methods including process tracing techniques capable of revealing within-case causal mechanisms, the papers heavily rely on qualitative in-depth interviews with key policymakers and other stakeholders as well as other primary sources including programming documents, parliamentary minutes, and legislative acts. The papers categorically share a ‘bottom-up’ research design characteristic of the most recent wave of Europeanization studies. Collectively, they point to differential mechanisms of Europeanization across key policy domains in a single country case study.

Workshop organized in collaboration with the Canada Research Chair in Citizenship and Governance.


1) Political Economy of Public Policy Reform in Turkey: The Case of Monetary Policy and Governance

With H. Tolga Bolukbasi, Department of Political Science, Bilkent University

Discussant: George Ross, Jean Monnet Chair ad personam, associate professor at the EUCE (University of Montreal)

After experiencing the worst economic setback in history, Turkey’s macroeconomic fundamentals witnessed a dramatic turnaround in the 2000s. The existing literature on Turkey generally attributes these changes to the transformative power of the EU by pointing to the correlation between economic recovery following the 2001 crisis and deepening relations with the EU without investigating further the causal mechanisms resulting in policy reversal. This paper, however, problematizes the alleged impact of the EU relying on a ‘bottom-up’ research design characteristic of the recent wave of Europeanization studies. After providing an overview of the changing macroeconomic policy and governance in Turkey during the past decade, the paper, first, reviews the literature on potential drivers of monetary policy reform in pre-accession countries drawing on global, EU-level and domestic factors. Second, it traces changes in monetary policy and governance through a ‘policy structure’ approach focusing on changes in the principles, objectives, procedures and instruments characterizing monetary policy and governance. Third, the paper unpacks change through analyzing the interplay of domestic institutions, powerful ideas and dominant actors. In doing so it relies on the ‘process tracing’ technique involving a review of programming and legislative documents, qualitative interviews with key policymakers and representatives of big business, and a survey of print media. By identifying a set of conditions for policy reform and social mechanisms in the political economy of policy reform, the paper concludes by critically re-evaluating the relative causal powers of globalization, Europeanization, and domestic factors in accounting for continuity and change in monetary policy and governance.


2)  Europeanization is what domestic actors make of it: Immigration and Asylum Policy in Turkey

With Saime Ozcurumez, Department of Political Science, Bilkent University

Discussant: Jane JensonDepartment of Political Science, Canada Research Chair in Citizenship and Governance (University of Montreal).

This paper focuses on the transformation of immigration policy in Turkey by raising the following question: Under what conditions and with which actors does policy transformation take place in Turkey in the pre-accession process? The paper argues that while most of the Europeanization literature on Turkey emphasizes the significance of Europeanization on policy transformation across a wide range of policy fields, immigration policy field stands as a deviant case. While the accession process had triggered policy transformation in this field, domestic ideas, interests and institutions have been constrained by domestic actors' (political, civil society and policy makers) preferences. While tracing the drafting stage of immigration legislation in Turkey, the paper notes that the transformation relies mainly on the internalized gradual institutional change more so than compliance with the EU acquis. The reasons which define the nature of the process of transformation are attributed to how policy networks are formed, the centrality of sovereignty in immigration policy process, and the domestic interests which may diverge from those of the EU in the region. The paper is based on the analysis of the data collected from analysis of policy proposals, stakeholder meetings and in-depth qualitative interviews with key policy actors. The paper is organized as follows: First, it begins with a review of the literature on Europeanization research program and immigration policy transformation. Second, it examines the process of transformation in this policy area in the post-2005 period in Turkey. Finally, it concludes with a discussion on the Turkish experience in comparative pre-accession perspective.


From 3 to 4:30 P.M.

Centre for International Peace and Security Studies (CIPSS)
Michel-Fortmann Room, 530-1-1
3744 Jean-Brillant, 5th Floor
Université de Montréal



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