Turkey's public-private partnership experience: a political economy perspective

Ayhan B., Ustuner Y.

SOUTHEAST EUROPEAN AND BLACK SEA STUDIES, vol.23, no.1, pp.115-138, 2023 (SSCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 23 Issue: 1
  • Publication Date: 2023
  • Doi Number: 10.1080/14683857.2022.2065622
  • Journal Indexes: Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI), Scopus, Academic Search Premier, IBZ Online, International Bibliography of Social Sciences, Historical Abstracts, Humanities Abstracts, Index Islamicus, Political Science Complete, Public Affairs Index, Sociological abstracts, Worldwide Political Science Abstracts
  • Page Numbers: pp.115-138
  • Keywords: Public-private partnership, governance, political economy, Turkey, FINANCIALIZATION, GOVERNANCE, DYNAMICS, PROJECTS, LESSONS
  • Middle East Technical University Affiliated: Yes


Public-private partnerships (PPP) are the contractual arrangements between public and private parties to deliver infrastructure and services in which costs, risks, and benefits are shared. Good governance of PPPs, traditionally associated with an effective regulatory and institutional framework, appropriate risk-sharing, competitive and transparent procurement have recently been broadened to include citizens' perspectives. Turkey uses PPPs to deliver public infrastructures such as airports, energy plants, highways, bridges, and hospitals. Our first section into Turkey's PPP experience explores how the partnership between state and capital is instituted. We reveal nine crucial governance problems: Complexities of megaprojects, fragmented legal and regulatory framework, weak institutional capacity, risk-sharing discrepancies, poor value for money, non-affordable public services, lack of transparency, limited accountability, and disregard for environmental sustainability. We maintain that a deeper understanding of PPPs requires complementing this governance analysis with insights from critical political economy. Accordingly, we draw a critical political economy framework to explain why, when, and how PPPs in Turkey are utilized in our second section. We underline the neoliberal transformation and financialized capital accumulation dynamics. We argue that PPP projects have fuelled the construction-led economic growth model, distributed resources to pro-government capital groups, and reproduced political power in Turkey.