Civil society and democratisation in Turkey
This is an analysis of the contribution of civil society to democratisation in Turkey through participation in the political decision-making and legislative processes and its degree of success in exerting an influence on policy outcomes. It aims to uncover the causal processes and variables, which work between civil society and the political processes and investigates the relationship between the efforts of civil society to promote democratisation and the policy outcomes related to democratisation. This is an intensive case study for which ‘process induction’ approach of ‘Process Tracing’ method is applied. It focuses on two ‘issue-areas’ for investigation: security sector reform and judicial reform. Four civil society organisations—two domestic and two transnational—with specific democratisation programmes have been selected as cases to study. It has found that the influence of civil society on policy outcomes—particularly on those related to democratisation—in Turkey is negligible. Based on the findings of this research, it can only be argued that there is a ‘start’ or a ‘beginning’ for the civil society to have an influence, if anything, on the democratisation process in Turkey in general and on policy outcomes—related to politics— in particular. It is simply a modest positive step, slowly moving forward. Neither the Turkish political system allows this, nor the dominant political culture is prepared to relinquish a place, let alone a role as an actor in politics, or to accommodate civil society otherwise. Civil society, as a legitimate partner, is not recognised nor respected.