The strong state and local government: decentralization in France and Turkey
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This study analyzes local government tradition and decentralization comparatively in France and Turkey with the framework of a historical perspective, particularly with their close relation to the state traditions of the two countries. In France, local governments had been under strict tutelage of the central government throughout the centuries. Strong state which penetrates into society by eliminating the elements of civil society stresses upon centralization provoking a discourse on "public interest". In France where strong state was embodied in the Jacobin principle "The One and Indivisible Republic", the Jacobin state elites saw all attempts at decentralization as a challenge to such Republic. Yet, the developments towards democracy, after the Second World War, brought about a decrease in the power of the state elites. Hence, in the strenght of the state. In addition to these developments, the existence of a feudal tradition made decentralization easy in France in the 1980s. In Turkey, not unlike in France, local governments had been under the tutelage of the central government. The Ottoman Empire which had no tradition of civil society had not a local government tradition. The state elites (so-called Turkish Jacobins) in the Republican period stressed on centralization. Political elites had been weak vis-a-vis the state elites. Decentralization in the 1980s took place in a condition that power relations between them had changed in favor of the political elites.