DECENTRALISATION PROCESS IN TURKEY:
A CASE FOR UNSTABLE PASSIONATE
Dr. Sonay Bayramoglu Ozugurlu*
Dr. Nuray Erturk Keskin**
This study aims to analyze decentralisation process of Turkey as one of the fundamental trends for the state organization of the 21st century. Investigated object of this study has not clear-cut appearances since it has unpredictable daily tempo of acceleration with multi dimensional determinants and determinates. To overcome this uncertainty, it is aimed to focus on two titles: The first is about transformation of local and regional governments in Turkey. The second is about administrative channels for political participation of people. Thus, all these analytical efforts would be problematized by the concept of citizenship which concurrently captures democratic and social characters of the state-society relations. Key Words: Governance, autonomy, decentralization, regionalization, local governments, Turkey. Under the impulse of neoliberal agenda, state-society relations in Turkey have been radically transformed since the last quarter of the twentieth century. Distinctive features of the new political-administrative units could be identified as follows: (i) Attributing broad autonomy to local and regional governments in the name of participatory democracy; (ii) opening the administrative units to global actors’ intervention in the name of transparency; (iii) leaving the authority of public administration to the private sector in the name of effective and efficient management. In Turkey, all these transformations are structured by localisation and regionalisation processes through which Turkish public administration faces unfamiliar concepts and practices as follows; ‘cross-border cooperation and programs’, ‘development cooperation’, ‘service cooperation’, ‘regional development’, ‘the city diplomacy’, ‘the city/region potential’, ‘competition’, and the European identity. By implementing legal arrangements during the period of 2004-2005, local government system started to rest on the subsidiarity principle. However, rebuilding process of public administration and the state-society relations is still on an agenda. Although localisation and regionalisation would become leitmotivs for all administrative transformations, timing of that transformation and its instruments are seem to be obscured. One of the main reason behind the state of instability is recently developed political programme of Kurdish political movement, titled “democratic autonomy”. Political demand of ‘democratic autonomy programme” is not, although, taken into consideration deeply and directly, this study covers newly institutionalised administrative body as a peculiarity of decentralisation process in Turkey under the shadow of Kurdish political movement. Local Government System in Turkey
There are three forms of organization of local government in Turkey: Special (local) provincial administration, municipality and village. Each of them is constituted as a government unit per se. These three have neither hierarchical nor coordination wise relationship in-between. Elections for each are held separately and the body selected for one has no representation in others. There is no mechanism envisaging the endorsement of a decision taken by one form by any of the other two. In case there is any need for ensuring coordination among local governments exercising authority in the same geographical unit, this task is performed by provincial and district governors (Güler, 2010: 284). Province and district governors follow the acts of all forms of local government in a given region. This function is performed in the context of legal relationship called administrative tutelage. The domain of power of special provincial administration covers not a specific settlement but more than one settlement and vacant spaces where there is no settlement yet. In this respect, special provincial administration is administration of an area. On the...
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