When Domestic Meets with International: The Political Transformation of Turkey, 1997-2004

Unpublished Master's Thesis, University of Virginia

34 Pages Posted: 20 Sep 2007 Last revised: 5 Sep 2015

See all articles by Engin I. Erdem

Engin I. Erdem

Florida International University

Date Written: August 1, 2007


This paper examines Turkey's relations with the European Union from December 1997 to December 2004 to understand the major dynamics behind the recent democratization and human rights reforms in Turkey. For this purpose, the study focuses on three factors: (1) the impact of EU, particularly the Copenhagen conditionality (2) the government structure (coalition vs. majority government) (3) the governing party's/parties' commitment level to the EU membership goal. The comparison across three periods of Turkey-EU relations (1997-1999, 1999-2002, 2002-2004) makes it possible to identify the relative significance of each factor for the reforms. In combining the international and domestic origins of Turkey's political reforms, the paper emphasizes the central importance of the domestic-international linkages for theoretical and policy purposes.

The study uses (comparative) case study method to observe whether the theoretical framework proposed in this paper successfully applies to the cases. A temporal comparison across the three different periods of Turkey-EU relations is expected to show the relative salience of each explanatory factor to understand the development of Turkey's democratization and human rights reforms. In doing so, the paper looks at how EU conditionality has affected the Turkish political elite (government and parties) in realizing the reforms. In other words, how the Turkish elite have taken EU conditionality into account in handling the reforms. For this purpose, the study uses the statements made by prime ministers, party leaders, and the members of parliament. Also, it draws on the European Council decisions, and the European Commission reports. To measure the explanatory factors and the dependent variable, the following sources will be utilized: the EU harmonization law packages, the adoption of civil and penal code, the constitutional amendments, the establishment of new institutions regarding the EU membership process, the statements by Turkish officials, the Commission reports, the views of Turkish columnists, party programs, government programs, Turkey's National Program for the adoption of EU acquis, and the Freedom House ratings for civil liberties and political rights.

Keywords: Turkey, Turkish politics, European Union, democratization, domestic-international linkages, domestic politics, political reforms, conditionality, Copenhagen criteria

Suggested Citation

Erdem, Engin I., When Domestic Meets with International: The Political Transformation of Turkey, 1997-2004 (August 1, 2007). Unpublished Master's Thesis, University of Virginia, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1013126 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1013126

Engin I. Erdem (Contact Author)

Florida International University ( email )

University Park
11200 SW 8th Street
Miami, FL 33199
United States

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