The European Union’s impact on Turkey’s gender related employment policy since 1999 Helsinki Summit
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Turkey and the European Union (EU) relations began in 1959 with Turkey’s application for full membership. However, the literature on this issue has started to occupy substantial space in European studies as well as international relations since the 1999 Helsinki Summit in which Turkey’s official candidacy was announced. Ever since, the EU has been “Europeanizing” Turkey through different mechanisms. Previous studies in the Europeanization literature have mostly neglected the social aspect of Europeanization in Turkey's accession process. In other words, most of the debate relating to Turkey - EU relations has been revolving around political and security related issues. However, the EU has worked on promoting gender equality to ensure that women and men are equal before the law since its establishment and as one of its founding principles. Thus, social policy as well as gender equality are important study areas which cannot be left behind other ‘hard’ policy areas. The aim of this thesis is to examine the impact of the EU on Turkey’s gender related employment policy. Therefore, this study is centered on the question which asks, “to what extent does Turkey's European Union (EU) accession process have an impact on its gender related employment policy since the 1999 Helsinki Summit?”. This thesis aims to examine Turkey’s position in terms of providing gender equality in employment before and after the 1999 Helsinki Summit and to examine the scope of Europeanization on Turkey’s gender related employment policy. In this thesis, impact refers to changes that created by the EU accession process on Turkey’s legal regulation.