Formation and representation of interests in Turkish political economy : the case of MÜSİAD (Independent Industrialists' and Businessmen's Association)
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This thesis examines the case of Müstakil Sanayici ve İşadamları DerneğiMÜSİAD [Independent Industrialists and Businessmen’s Association] to evaluate the formation and representation of interests within transformation of the Turkish political economy in the last two decades. The relatively liberalization in Turkey with further integration into the global markets led the development of civil society but it has not meant the waning of the “strong state” tradition. Thus, MÜSİAD as other Turkish business associations has been very dynamic to develop strong adaptability vis-à-vis strong state. The study benefits from Truman’s “disturbance,” Olson’s “collective action” and Salisbury’s “exchange” theories to delineate the emergence, development and mobilization of the association as well as the theories of pluralism, corporatism and clientelism to explore the essence of interest representation in Turkey. The thesis analyzes the institutional framework and organizational structure of MÜSİAD and argues that the role of Islam for the association has been quite functional providing a common bond for its members, motivation to (re)gain the markets in the Islamic world captured by non-Islamic forces and a way of moderating the labor. MÜSİAD’s reference to the East Asian model was also parallel to its Islamic discourse blended with its emphasis on moral and communitarian values. 1997 has been a turning point for MÜSİAD in its de-emphasis of its ideological pillars as Islam and East Asian economic development model. Following the economic crisis in East Asian countries and the February 28 process, MÜSİAD retreated from its references to both factors. In short, the examination of MÜSİAD is illuminating in terms of illustrating the depth and extent of the Islamic business activity in Turkey as well as the rise of new business elite that could develop a challenging culture vis-à-vis the state.