Rights-based civil society organizations and democratization in Turkey

Thesis Type: Postgraduate

Institution Of The Thesis: Middle East Technical University, Turkey

Approval Date: 2019

Student: Dersu Ekim Tanca



This thesis investigates the role of the rights-based civil society organizations in promoting democratization in Turkey. I consider rights-based civil society organizations as focal actors for democratization because they initiate, secure and advance democratic rule by upholding liberties and freedoms. From the late Ottoman period to the 198ights-based civil society organizations were absent. However, after the 1980s, they emerged to represent different right themes. By employing the existing literature on Turkish politics and civil society, I attempt to explore how rights-based civil society organizations became major actors in society and discuss their strong influence on Turkish politics since the late 1980s. I provide examples of rights-based civil society organizations which have been working on various rights areas to trigger democratization. These organizations have been benefiting politically and financially from the European Union to stress their own democratizing visions. In that aspect, the rights-based civil society organizations, which promoted democratizing ideals, realized a positive trend after the accession negotiations with the European Union began. I also present how rights-based civil society organizations in Turkey promoted democratization in politics and refer to their significance on political parties, ministries and municipalities. The thesis also follows the growth of the rights-based civil society organizations especially after Gezi Park protests in 2013 when they became central to the political struggles for democratization.