Role of the NGOs in the Integration of Turkey to the European Union
Seyrek, Demir; S0036395
This thesis analyses the role of Turkish NGOs in the integration of Turkey to the EU by examining the roles played by Turkish NGOs represented in Brussels. Following an historical perspective of the development of Turkish civil society and an overview on the current situation of Turkish civil society, the main focus of the thesis is seven Turkish NGOs represented in Brussels, taken as a case study in order to answer how and to what extent Turkish NGOs play a role in the integration of Turkey to the EU. Qualitative interviews with representatives of these NGOs in Brussels and representatives from the European Commission, the European Parliament and European Umbrella Organisations, where Turkish NGOs are represented as members constitute the main data collection method in examining these NGOs. The findings of the thesis indicate that there are various ways, through which Turkish NGOs represented in Brussels are involved in the integration process of Turkey to the EU. These ways are presented in a detailed manner through comparative analysis of the case study results. Although the process is still dominated by governments, Turkish NGOs play an increasingly important role that is recognised and encouraged by the EU. The findings also show that there is interaction between the EU process and Turkish NGOs. On the one hand, these NGOs are positively affected by the process and on the other hand, they are active supporters of it. This is important to perceive the level of integration that has already been achieved between the EU and Turkey beyond the intergovernmental relations dating back to July 1959. Moreover, this represents a significant proof regarding the roles that can be played by NGOs of candidate countries at EU level and the applicability of the EUs strategy to support civil society development in the EU and the active participation of European NGOs in the EU policy-making process in Brussels towards candidate countries.