256. Tumultuous shifts in Turkish politics and institutions in the midst of contested sovereignties, democratic backsliding and de-Europeanization 2

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Jun 22nd at 11:00 AM until 12:45 PM




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Tumultuous shifts in Turkish politics and institutions in the midst of contested sovereignties, democratic backsliding and de-Europeanization 2


Hasret Dikici Bilgin


Mountain or a Molehill: The Effect of Refugees on European Elections

Fahrettin Fisunoglu, UC3M, IC3JM; Deniz Sert, Ozyegin University
As a consequence of the Syrian civil war, Europe is once again experiencing a major refugee crisis. 1.8 million refugees have arrived in Europe since 2014, and the number of annual asylum seekers exceeded 1.3 million in 2015 (Eurostat, 2018). The refugees are nevertheless spread unevenly within the EU. Some countries, such as the Czech Republic or Slovakia took in less than 20 refugees, whereas others, such as Germany, host more than a million refugees. This article analyzes the effect of this geographical variation on election outcomes in the EU. Using ordinary least squares (OLS), generalized least squares (GLS), and difference-in-differences (DiD) regressions, the study compares countries hosting few refugees (control group) with countries with large refugee populations (treatment group) to determine whether significant differences in voting patterns emerged. We expect the refugees to have a negative impact on the vote-share of incumbent parties and a positive impact on the vote-share of far-right parties.

An Experimental Analysis of Turkish Citizens’ Perceptions towards Syrian Refugees: Right-Wing Authoritarianism and Social Dominance Orientation in Different Contexts

Aylin Aydin Cakir, Yeditepe University; Duygu Uysal, Koc University
The massive refugee influx from Syria to the neighboring and European countries is one of the most vital issues in recent years. As a country that hosts majority of the Syrian refugees, Turkey provides an important case study to explain the main determinants of public perceptions towards refugees. In that sense, the current study aims to explain whether, and if so to what extent, the public perceptions towards Syrian refugees in Turkey vary across different regions and groups. In this regard, we aim to explain whether individual-level factors (Right-Wing Authoritarianism, RWA and Social Dominance Orientation, SDO) influence public perception towards immigrants and understand whether this impact changes across different experimental conditions (empathetic, conflictual, and neutral). Conducting an experimental survey research, we compared the public perception of individuals in two different regions in Turkey: border cities of Hatay, Gaziantep and Şanlıurfa; and the three largest cities, namely Istanbul, Izmir, and Ankara. Testing the manipulation effect on the respondents’ negative perceptions towards Syrian refugees, the results revealed that the perceptions varied significantly across the large cities. In the border cities, however, the differentiation is just marginally significant. When the group comparison was re-conducted by controlling the effects of RWA and SDO, the results yielded that both effects are influential in the sample of largest cities.

Understanding new patterns in the EU’s conditionality policy in the crisis context: Insights from EU-Turkey relations

Ilke Toygur, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid; Seda Gürkan, Université Libre de Bruxelles
Scholars largely agree that political conditionality has been key in transforming Turkey during the ‘golden years of Europeanization’ (1999-2006). European Council’s providing Turkey with the candidacy status at the Helsinki Summit in 1999, triggered an unprecedented democratization and reform process in the country. However, in recent years the reform process has been first stagnated (2006-2011) and then reversed (since 2011). While the existing literature on political conditionality has explained this reversal either by highlighting EU-level factors (lack of credible and consistent EU conditionality) or by focusing on domestic-level factors (democratic backlash, cultural mismatch or instrumentalization of the EU process by domestic elite), the impact of the crisis context on EU’s conditionality policy has remained an unstudied topic. In an attempt to fill this gap, the purpose of the paper is twofold. First, it traces how the crisis context in and around the EU (Syrian refugee crisis and Turkey’s rapid deterioration in democratic credentials since 2015) has given rise to a new form of political conditionality in the form of policy linkage in EU-Turkey relations. Second, it seeks to understand how the EU’s evolving response to Turkey’s rapid de-Europeanization affects elite behavior vis-à-vis the EU within Turkey. The paper relies on original data gathered from primary EU documents and discourse analysis of Turkish political elite. By questioning the evolution of the EU’s conditionality policy in a crisis context and exploring the impact of this evolution on elites, the paper contributes to the (de-)Europeanization literature and its conditionality school.

State-Labor relations in Turkey in the context of Europeanization and de-Europeanization: Transformation or Continuity?

Fulya Apaydın, IBEI; Erol Ulker, Isik University
This paper explores the roots of the troublesome relationship between the EU and Turkey within the context of democratic backsliding by looking at the role of labor unions. The empirical puzzle is motivated by identifying the causes of contrasting union density rates in Turkey and Argentina. It begins by asking why Turkish workers have increasingly abandoned unions at alarming rates while their counterparts in Argentina continued to enlist at a time when economic globalization posed comparable threats to their economic well-being. In developing an answer, it argues that historical processes of the political incorporation of labor play an important role in worker participation in unions as active members. While labor in Argentina experienced a party-led political incorporation that endorsed popular nationalism under the first Peron government, the political incorporation of labor has been orchestrated by the state with a strong subscription to an ethno-nationalist ideology in Turkey. Marred by a lack of trust and increasing dependence on the state for survival, the organizational capacity of Turkish unions was seriously weakened as large confederations turned into ineffective societal actors in the face of liberal reform policies. This happened despite repeated attempts to empower civil society actors during the EU accession process. The state-labor relations and the evolution of labor incorporation which unfolded in distinct ways had further implications on democratization and democratic development in these two countries.