Understanding The Political Economy of Novel Metropolitan Governance Schemes of Turkish Local Management System: An Elaboration of Impact of Regionalism and Globalization

Understanding The Political Economy of Novel Metropolitan Governance Schemes of Turkish Local Management System: An Elaboration of Impact of Regionalism and Globalization

Buğra Özer, Hakan Ay, Mehmet Emin Merter
Copyright: © 2015 |Pages: 14
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-7308-3.ch021
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This chapter tackles with different dimensions the new brave world of Turkish metropolitan policymaking within the context of Law No: 6360, namely the administrative aspects, the public financial characteristics, along with the political dimensions. The problematization of the work, simply, follows how regionalism and globalization have come and interacted to render such a reform in Turkish local management units, under the rule of the Justice and Development Party (JDP-Adalet ve Kalkinma Partisi). The effort shall also tackle the philosophy and the rationale of the new system in reference to regionalism and globalization with the need to underline the ramifications of the implementation of the new scheme in Turkey.
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Local Governance And Metropolitan Policy Processes In Post-1980S Turkey: Introductory Remarks

Local governance in Turkey has been a sine quo non item of systematic reform and retrenchment since the heydays of the Republic promulgated in 1923. Yet, in a country characterized by a strong center with tutelage powers over the periphery1(Eryılmaz, 2011, 292; Eryılmaz, 1992), and strong state tradition inherent (Heper, 1985; Heper and Keyman, 1992), the local governance policy making has been less than developed and the issue gets to be more and more complicated in terms of her historical experience left behind when compared with her Western counterparts (Öner, 2006). Given the deficits of the Turkish politico-economic transformation, characterized by a problematic urban transformation since the early 1950’s the metropolitan governance, has been an object of attention for the Turkish policy-makers (Eryılmaz, 1997).2 The arduous attempts to restructure and to retrench the Turkish landscape for governance of urban regions since the early 1980s, entered a new phase, and paved a way to rethink urban governance in a political economic setting struggling with different financial, political and economic problems (For elaborations from such a perpective see Ökmen and Parlak, 2009; for a constitutional law perspective see Bozlağan, 2012).

Indeed, faced with the need to respond to the overhaul of global economic and political systems and the obligation to integrate the Turkish political-economic setting to the global web of international capitalist system (Ramazanoğlu 1985), Turkish governments responded to the challenges in regard to metropolitan governance with a zealous project of transformation and restructuring. In such respect, the neoliberal restructuring and retrenchment policies which came to be implemented since the late 1970s Turkey gained a new momentum for the prospects of Turkish metropolitan policy making along which an overall transformation of political economic transformation was running under the auspices of the Motherland Party’s (Anavatan Partisi) coming into office in the aftermath of the introduction of multi-party politics in 1983 (Ökmen and Parlak, 2009, 292-293).

The 1982 Constitution, prepared under the shadow of a military takeover, took the primary step for a constitutional arrangement for the very existence of metropolitan governance with the 127th Article of the Constitution stipulating that specific administrative arrangements could be realized for metropolitan zone to deal with the problems of urban economic growth given the constraints of administrative priorities (Ökmen and Parlak, 2013, 210). However, the cadre, behind the 1982 Constitution, was far away of locating the governance-based democratic notion of local governance system. The whole issue of establishing metropolitan governance schemes was quite technical, rather than being motivated to deal with the shortcuts in regard to participation and multi-actors involvement in processes. In a new age of depoliticization throughout the 1980s and 1990s, metropolitan governance issues were solely evaluated from a managerial perspective. Along with the values of the Zeitgeist of the 1980s, Erkip describes the system as such, (2000, 374), until the late 1990s the Turkish metropolitan system was based on “(…) a two-tier system with greater and district municipalities since 1984” as an outcome of governments striving to have a decentralization perspective which intended to attain a formidable budget increases. As Erkip again (2000, 374) carefully notes in relation to the experiences of Turkish metropolitan policy making until the 2000s: “Although it seemed to be a managerial effort to provide services more ef□ciently, the performance has been disappointing as the service responsibilities were shared between greater and district municipalities on the basis of service size, rather than the characteristics of the services and the citizens.”

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