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Title: Europeanization of Turkish subnational administrations : towards a multi-level polity?
Author: Ozcelik, A. O.
ISNI:       0000 0004 5348 6550
Awarding Body: University of Sheffield
Current Institution: University of Sheffield
Date of Award: 2014
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The pace and scope of change in territorial relations in the European Union has gone hand in hand with rapidly expanding bodies of theoretical research that seek to explain the forces of change and their direction. Although theoretical perspectives on such issues draw on a variety of disciplines ranging from urban studies, economic geography, comparative regionalism, and so forth, this research restricts itself to the political science perspective. From such a perspective, the research is best read as empirically grounded; making comparative conclusion to the ongoing debates about the direct and indirect impact of Europeanization across different cities and subnational administrations in an applicant state, Turkey. The core objective of the thesis is to bring the Europeanization of Turkish subnational administrations (SNAs), in the sense of municipalities and regional development agencies, into perspective with the changes in territorial relations in the aftermath of the Helsinki Summit of 1999- where Turkey gained candidate status from the European Union. Focusing on the Turkish subnational administrations provides fertile ground to analyze the claims of Europeanization, multi-level governance and domestic politics approaches. In agreement with the new institutionalist theoretical background, these approaches facilitate a better understanding of the linkages between the process of Europeanization and the creation of multi-level modality in Turkey. Empirically, by focusing on regional policy and its related financial incentives, the main question guiding this research is as follows: How has Europeanization (via regional policy and related financial incentives) produced an impact that has brought about mobilisation of Turkish subnational administrations across the EU arena? The main question is also supplemented with the sub-questions: what has changed at subnational level to demonstrate the response of SNAs to the impact of Europeanization and under what conditions does the impact of Europeanization make SNAs mobilize across the EU arena? To answer these questions, the research adapts a bottom-up perspective on Europeanization as its research design. This combines the pull factor of the opportunity structures, voluntary mechanisms and the push factors of resource capabilities (i.e. organizational capacity and leadership) with the domestic intermediating variables (constitutional-legal framework, the historical legacy, regional distinctiveness, the quality of intergovernmental relationship and the pre-existing territorial network). The empirical findings derived from the original data provide evidence and insight into the direct and indirect Europeanization of Turkish subnational administrations. Accordingly, the research findings suggest that there has been a clear increase in EU activities after the Helsinki Summit of 1999. These have supported the idea that the process of Europeanization at subnational level has altered the preferences, practices and policies of municipalities and regional development agencies and led them to mobilize across the EU arena. However, the research claims that the political effect of Europeanization (via the EU's pre-accession funds) does not necessarily increase the power of SNAs vis-à-vis the central institutions. Given the limited scope of subnational engagement with the EU fund management and the role of national governments as powerful gatekeepers, the empirical findings have suggested that the mobilisation of Turkish subnational administrations has achieved modest success in shifting towards the EU's multi-level modality. This shift, however, has mainly derived from the success of SNAs' organizational capacity, which has largely been mediated by subnational factors, regional distinctiveness, the quality of intergovernmental relationships and the pre-existing territorial network. Whereas the regional distinctiveness (for the case city of Diyarbak?r) plays a negative role for SNAs' involvement with the EU multi-level polity, the pre-existing territorial network has positive consequences for two case cities, Izmir and Samsun. As for the quality of intergovernmental relations, SNAs from different political party orientation have followed three distinct strategies: cooperation, competition and confrontation. Of these, the cooperative strategy has best paid off. Consequently, the main argument of the research is close to those scholars who put more emphasis on the subnational dynamics in explaining mobilization rather than national and EU contexts.
Supervisor: Bache, Ian Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available