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Why keep complying?: compliance with EU conditionality under diminished credibility in Turkey

Masraff, Naz (2011) Why keep complying?: compliance with EU conditionality under diminished credibility in Turkey. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science.

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The widely accepted external incentives model of conditionality (EIM) argues that the rewards promised by the EU need to be credible for target states to comply with costly EU conditions. Accordingly, compliance should come to a halt or decline significantly in countries where the credibility of accession – the most powerful reward used by the EU – is very low. The case of Turkey appears therefore to present a puzzle, since the current AKP government is still complying with costly EU conditions despite the negative signals from the most powerful member-states and the EU general public. This thesis first establishes that there is indeed a puzzle. The quantitative and qualitative data gathered on formal and behavioural compliance demonstrates that credibility is not a necessary condition for compliance. There are absolutely no signs of decline in compliance, which challenges the EIM’s credibility assumption. The second part of this thesis moves to consider why the Turkish authorities continue to comply under diminished credibility. It finds that the AKP makes strategic use of EU conditionality. Firstly, compliance with EU conditions serves to curb the powers of the Kemalist/secularist establishment and thereby to secure the party’s continued presence. Secondly, compliance helps the government to appear as a Western, reformist, moderate and neo-liberal party to the electorate so as to widen its domestic support. Moreover, lock-in effects of Turkey’s already established pro-European foreign policy, together with issue-specific costs/benefits, also inform the AKP’s decision to comply, albeit to a lesser extent. Finally, this thesis analyses the role of the EU-related bureaucracy as a separate, but limited, actor in the compliance process. In contrast to the political leadership, strong organisational lock-in effects and a high level of social learning motivate bureaucratic agents’ further compliance, which suggests there is a specific bureaucratic politics of compliance at work in Turkey.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: © 2011 Naz Masraff
Library of Congress subject classification: J Political Science > JN Political institutions (Europe)
Sets: Departments > International Relations
Supervisor: Sedelmeier, Ulrich

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