ECPR

Install the app

Install this application on your home screen for quick and easy access when you’re on the go.

Just tap Share then “Add to Home Screen”

ECPR

Install the app

Install this application on your home screen for quick and easy access when you’re on the go.

Just tap Share then “Add to Home Screen”

Back to Paper Details

Power and Limits of NGOs as Agents of Democratization: The Case of Turkey

Gunes Ertan
Koç University
Gunes Ertan
Koç University
Open Panel

Abstract

Advocates of the positive relationship between civil society organizations and democracy argue that civil society organizations promote democracy by acting as an intermediary between state and society; by representing the interests of different social groups in the society; by bolstering democratic values such as trust and tolerance; by acting as schools of democracy through participation in decision making processes; by holding states accountable; and by affecting policy making processes. Using the critical literature on donor recipient relationships, this paper tests these arguments within the context of European Union’s efforts to promote democracy in Turkey through its civil society strengthening programs. The data of the study is based on an extensive field study that was carried out in summer of 2009 in Turkey with the support of European Union Center of Excellence at the University of Pittsburgh. During the field study, semi structured interviews were conducted by the representatives of Turkish NGOs that are funded through European Union’s European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights program, as well as the major human rights NGOs that are not funded by the EU. Findings of the study suggest that most of the arguments about the positive universal relationship between civil society organizations and democracy are questionable due to numerous issues such as accountability, representativeness, and administrative structure of the organizations that are funded by the European Union.