The agency of faith-based NGOs in Turkish humanitarian aid policy and practice

Turhan Y., BAHÇECİK Ş. O.

TURKISH STUDIES, vol.22, no.1, pp.141-159, 2021 (Journal Indexed in SSCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 22 Issue: 1
  • Publication Date: 2021
  • Doi Number: 10.1080/14683849.2020.1756786
  • Title of Journal : TURKISH STUDIES
  • Page Numbers: pp.141-159
  • Keywords: State-NGO relations, faith-based organizations, humanitarian aid, constructivism, Turkish foreign policy, FOREIGN-POLICY, TURKEY


While Turkish faith-based NGOs have been involved in delivering humanitarian aid for two decades, the relations of these organizations with the state have not received adequate scholarly attention. The main purpose of this article is to address this gap by asking what roles NGOs play in Turkey's humanitarian aid policy and practice. Despite the relative isolation of Turkey's administrative structure as a result of a strong state tradition, this paper shows that NGOs attempt to play political roles in Turkish foreign policy. The study relies on an analytical framework derived from constructivism to examine the agenda-setting and information-providing activities of Turkish NGOs between 2004 and 2016. Based on findings from a series of semi-structured interviews with 25 respondents from nine different NGOs and three state institutions, this artilce expands the research agenda on Turkey's foreign aid and shows that NGOs function as knowledge-providers, powerful catalysts for humanitarian aid activities, and influential voices in bringing humanitarian issues to light.