Challenges For Regional Governance In Turkey: The Role Of Development Agencies



This article examines the functioning of regional development agencies (DAs) in Turkey from a policy instruments approach with a view to uncovering their intended and unintended consequences for regional governance. The policy instruments approach challenges the functionalist view that instruments are merely technical and neutral devices for realizing policy aims in the most effective way. Instead, the article shows that as policy instruments DAs are highly political with important political consequences. The article is based on original data collected and generated from an extensive review of official documents and reports and semi-structured interviews with local stakeholders in six different regions conducted between 2011 and 2014. On the basis of the findings, the article argues that the DAs do not have the potential to institutionalize regions as legitimate political forms and have weak potential to act as centerpieces for the empowerment of local actors and mobilization of endogenous capacities. Findings show that the DAs in Turkey are largely failing to promote developmental cross-sectoral alliances among local actors. The short-term inward looking concerns of the local political and business elites in the distribution of the DAs’ financial resources are helping to consolidate existing local power structures rendering it even more difficult to transform local power relations in the future.

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