Dept. of Political Science and Public Administration - Master's degree

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  • ItemEmbargo
    Politics of conservative art: The making of the Yeditepe Biennial
    (Bilkent University, 2023-12) Babutcu, Eda Nur
    This dissertation comprehensively analyzes the Yeditepe Biennial as a case study to illuminate the complex relationship between art, culture and governance in contemporary Turkey, particularly during the AKP rule. Using the conservative art debates sparked by İskender Pala's critical comments in 2012 as a backdrop, this dissertation situates the Yeditepe Biennial as a concrete expression of the government's cultural strategy. Using descriptive and analytical methods, the study draws on a critical discourse analysis of various sources such as interviews with the biennial's board of directors, curators and organizers; press releases, catalogues and reports. The central argument is that the biennial, ostensibly a cultural exhibition, is strategically designed to function as a political tool, actively shaping cultural discourse in line with the conservative, traditionalist and neo-Ottomanist agenda of the current government. The research meticulously examines the planning and execution of the biennial, revealing the political, bureaucratic and artistic networks involved. The partnership between the Fatih Municipality and the Classical Turkish Arts Foundation (KTSV) is scrutinized, revealing a complex nexus that underscores the political underpinnings of the event. This dissertation argues that beyond being a cultural showcase, the Yeditepe Biennial represents a critical intersection of art, culture and governance and serves as a barometer of cultural policy and power in contemporary Turkey.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Negotiating backpacking experience: The role of digital media in a neoliberalizing world
    (Bilkent University, 2023-08) Kulaklı, Mirac
    This thesis is about the relationship between the backpacking experience and digital media in the context of neoliberalism. It investigates those backpackers who reject the working conditions and life style imposed on them by the neoliberal system and become backpackers. It explores the dynamics created by digital media in the backpacking experience. Specifically, it aims to understand how digital media transforms the backpacking experience, what tensions, if any, it creates, how they challenge the ideal backpacker image, and how backpackers negotiate these tensions. A qualitative research design is adopted to explore them, and purposive sampling is applied to investigate the research questions. Participants are self-identified backpackers who resign from work or refuse to start working under neoliberal conditions based on competitive, long working hours and individual interest-based mentality. They aim to travel around the world freely by sharing their memoirs and daily life on their YouTube and Instagram accounts. The findings, obtained from videos, pictures, titles, texts, and cover photos on YouTube and Instagram profiles between 2012 and 2023, are analyzed through thematic analysis. Neoliberalism is used as the analytical lens to interpret the thematized data by focusing on the neoliberal subject. The three pillars of the study can be expressed as 1. the experience of being a backpacker, 2. being a prosumer concerning the working principles of YouTube and Instagram, accepted as a part of personalized media economies, and 3. neoliberalism. As a result of the research, the paradoxes of low-budget backpackers who want to stay away from neoliberal working conditions and neoliberal market conditions have been identified, which are located mainly between their purpose to start the journey as a backpacker and the conditions that arise with the integration of digital media to this experience. Accordingly, the main argument of the thesis is that those backpackers who started their journey as a backpacker to resist the neoliberal system are pulled into it by their interaction with the digital media. In conclusion, digital media transforms the backpacking experience, producing paradoxes.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Structuring policy integration: formal and informal institutions in combating child labor in Türkiye
    (Bilkent University, 2023-09) Gümüşbaş, Atakan
    Some contemporary societal challenges span through multiple policy areas, involving numerous policy sectors, actors, and networks of interaction. Such policy problems require public sectors’ attention to formulate policy designs that facilitate collaborative action to effectively intervene in these issues. To equip the policy interventions with necessary tools, policy integration has emerged as an approach that provides a suitable approach to effectively and efficiently address complex societal challenges. The scholarly research has extensively focused on this approach, delving into conceptualization of policy integration and demonstrating the importance of policy integration to address cross-cutting policy challenges. To do so, the scholarly research has mostly analyzed the formal institutions structuring policy integration, but the role informal institutions play remained underexplored despite the key role informal rules play in shaping policy outcomes. Thus, to address this gap, this thesis conducts a comprehensive analysis of the roles formal and informal rules play in structuring policy integration on a cross-cutting policy challenge, namely the child labor in seasonal agriculture in Türkiye. The main rationale behind selection of child labor is that this issue cross-cuts across multiple policy sectors. Another reason is that this issue has been persisting for over a long time despite numerous policy interventions, and it is garnering increasing attention by public sector in Türkiye in recent years. Thus, it provides a fitting example to analyze the role policy integration plays addressing a complex societal challenge with particular focus on both formal and informal institutions. Conducting a comprehensive analysis on formal and informal institutions prevalent in this field, this thesis finds that the formal rules and institutions in this field are somewhat integrated, but policy integration remained considerably weak as a result of the informal rules that conflicts with and filter through the formal ones. Thus, it argues that informal roles play a key role in shaping policy integration and deserves further scholarly attention.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Is democracy in peril? re-conceptualizing populism, re­evaluating its impact
    (Bilkent University, 2023-09) Akçay, Doğacan Kaan
    This study aims ta evaluate claims of a populist political surge that dominate the political science literature on the rise of populism in Europe. It identifıes the three necessary components of populism that bring electoral success to European political parties. Using indicators that measure ''thin" and "host" components of populism, such as anti-elitism, anti-pluralism, people-centrism, immigration, and others, I employ a descriptive analysis and O LS regression ta test the generalizability and externally validity of populism. My ­pooled time series and cross-section data on vote shares of political parties and components of populism in European countries over 1960-2021 does not fınd support for the conventional wisdom in the literature by showing no statistically signifıcant relationship between vote shares of political parties and populism. I conclude that the conventional literature needs a re-conceptualization of populism ta assess better the concept and its potential threat ta liberal democracies.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Lives hidden under the lights: unraveling the konsomatris work in Ankara Pavyons from a feminist perspective
    (Bilkent University, 2023-08) Kaban, Tuğçe
    In Turkish society, Pavyons, a type of nightclub, are closely associated with the local culture of Ankara. The main figures in the Ankara Pavyons are the konsomatris women, who are stigmatized by society and whose job description consists of sitting at tables with customers, drinking and dancing with them. This study primarily delves into the significance and evolution of Pavyons within Ankara's culture. It asserts that Ankara's Pavyons, along with the sexual labor performed by konsomatris women, hold key roles in this context. Research data is collected through in-depth interviews with subjects of the Pavyon, especially the konsomatris women, and by attending the Pavyons as participant observer. The sexual labor and the experiences of the konsomatris women, who constitute the central part of the collected data, are evaluated as a whole by considering their experiences related to their works in Ankara Pavyons. This research intentionally avoids the binary definition of women prevalent in existing discourse, which typically considers women as either "victims" or "agents," as evidenced in the anti-pornography movement and ongoing arguments around "sex work." Moreover, rather than categorizing konsomatris women as sex workers or forcing them into one of these predetermined categories, this study considers the unique dynamics that exist Ankara Pavyons and konsomatris women’s narratives. Therefore, the study aims to consider the stigma and the possibility of prostitution associated with konsomatris work, all within the context of the peculiar circumstances surrounding Ankara Pavyons.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Conscientious objection in Turkey: investigation of the possibility of defining the concept as a general objection category
    (Bilkent University, 2023-08) Çelik, Uğurcan
    Conscientious objection (CO) entered Turkish literature in 1990 as refusal of conscription. Since then, the reasons for COr’s objections have diversified. In the literature, CO has two definitions: narrow and broad. According to the narrow definition, CO is refusing conscription. The broad definition can be summarized as an agent's objection to complying with a rule, principle, or social norm for various reasons. As a general category of objection, CO is conceptualized in the literature comparatively with civil disobedience. It is defined as a moral objection to obtaining a personal exemption, while civil disobedience is considered a political act of violation of the law by a collectivity to get the law changed/revised/abrogated. CO studies in Turkish literature have been limited to the narrow definition of the concept, and the subject is discussed concerning citizenship, militarism, actors, and law. This thesis deals with the problem of the limitation of approach in the Turkish literature on the concept. In this respect, it analyzes whether CO can be conceptualized as a general objection category and not limited to refusing conscription. Two methods are used in this study: a content analysis of the Amargi journal, published by an anarchist group, including COrs, in Izmir between 1991-1994, in which CO is frequently discussed, and semi-structured in-depth interviews with 12 COrs. In the conclusion, I argue that the concept is considered in a broader context even by COrs who reject conscription.
  • ItemOpen Access
    A muslim feminist NGO in Turkey: The case of Havle Women Association
    (Bilkent University, 2023-08) Önal, Zeynep
    This thesis focuses on the Islam-based feminist stance of Havle Women’s Association (HWA), its intellectual offerings and unique place in Turkey’s feminist movement. A newcomer to Turkey’s feminist movement, HWA was founded in Istanbul in 2018 and framed itself as “the first Muslim Feminist Women’s Association in Turkey”. The thesis examines HWA as a case study of Muslim - decolonial feminism in Turkey. By engaging with Islamic feminism and decolonial feminism literature, the study aims to investigate whether HWA produces new feminist direction in Turkey, how does HWA formulate its identity towards authoritarian AKP rule, Western stereotyped feminism, and Sunni-orthodox Islam understanding. I claim that by rejecting AKP’s enforced domination about gender roles and political implications, HWA produces an alternative framework for thinking about women’s issues from a Qur’an-based perspective. Parallel to this, the NGO also serves as the first and only initiation to the practice of modern and global Muslim feminist conceptualization in Turkey. Besides, by challenging mainstream women identity formulations, resisting Islam-referenced patriarchy, AKP’s hegemonic domination on gender-related matters and modernization and westernization stereotypes in Turkey, HWA produce an alternative perspective for its working area. Under the light of these, this study discusses HWA as a new intellectual direction for Turkey’s feminist movement.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Some disabilities are more deserving: The case of assistive technology policies in the US and Türkiye
    (Bilkent University, 2023-07) Bıyıklıoğlu, Ahmet Tarık
    Welfare states around the world generously cover vital but very expensive assistive technology like artificial limbs for disabled veterans, whereas only a fraction of these costs is covered for disabled civilians. These stark disparities in social rights among veterans and civilians categorically define disability policies across different countries. How and why are these policies similar across different cases? I address reasons for surprisingly similar outcomes by comparing the structure of disability policies in the US and Türkiye in the post-1990s. Employing a Most Different System Design, I rely on data sources like official statistics, legislative documents, and congressional and parliamentary debates. The US and Türkiye have dissimilar institutional features many of which may potentially be prime candidates for explaining the inegalitarian outcome of disability policies. I argue that patriotism, an informal rule shaping key state actors’ behavior, effectively structures who gets what, when, and how in disability policies by (i) assigning a higher normative status to disabled veterans and (ii) shaping how key policy actors perceive conditions of deserving disabilities in both countries. This results in inegalitarian disability policy outcomes despite the formal rule of human rights dictating to treat all people with disabilities equally.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Intra-union democracy: unionization and the case of disk textile
    (Bilkent University, 2023-07) Göçmen, Hazal
    The implementation of union procedures in Turkey falls short of democratic norms, especially intra-union democracy. This deficit in union democracy is primarily due to the restricted possibilities for rank-and-file members to interact with union executives, which causes workers to feel alienated from their unions. Due to issues with union democracy, "over-centralized," "oligarchic," and "bureaucratic," unionism has come to dominate in Turkey. This study explores the causes for varying connections between union officials and members and the influence of diverse ideas of union aspires among workers and administrators to better understand the elements that determine the operation of union democracy. Unlike prior research, which focused on the factors that preclude embedding democracy in a trade union, this study focuses on the reciprocal relationship between labor mobilization and intra-union democracy and the sustainability of anti-bureaucratic responses. The objective of this thesis is to analyze the democratic participation mechanisms in unions by examining the position of rank-and-file members inside decision-making bodies as well as the interaction between union officials and members as their connection changes during a unionization process in the textile industry. Based on in-depth interviews with fifteen workers in textile industry in Şanlıurfa and three union officials, this study considers the consequences of changing relations between union officials and members considering its impact on mobilization. Therefore, while viewing the union democracy this research focuses on the labor movement and union recruitment strategies.
  • ItemOpen Access
    The study of desecuritization: A meta-study
    (Bilkent University, 2023-08) Aydoğan, Çağla Naz
    Securitization theory has introduced a different outlook to security studies by providing an alternative view to think about and study security. Moving away from the traditional security assumptions that suggest threats exist out there waiting to be addressed, securitization theory argues that security is a speech act that comes into being through utterance. Securitization and desecuritization are two ends of a security continuum in which threats are addressed by extraordinary measures above normal politics or through normal political measures. Even though securitization and desecuritization are formulated together, the literature heavily focuses on securitization and its empirical applications. Therefore, desecuritization remains understudied compared to securitization. This thesis provided a meta-study on desecuritization. It presented the theoretical and empirical work on desecuritization discussed in the literature. The thesis focused on the Copenhagen School framework of desecuritization to illustrate the evolution of the ideas and different empirical applications of desecuritization. Using a meta-study approach that synthesizes and integrates past research on desecuritization, the thesis reflected on the broader conclusions and identified different patterns within the field of study. It also emphasized the critiques and contributions within and outside of the Copenhagen school to locate the aspects that need additional attention in desecuritization studies.
  • ItemOpen Access
    “Never trust the West:” understanding anti-Westernism(s) in Turkish media
    (Bilkent University, 2023-06) Aras, Ümit Erol
    Despite the burgeoning literature on Turkish anti-Westernism on elite and public opinion levels, the role of the media in and discourses of anti-Westernism remains relatively understudied. To remedy this, after introducing Occidentalist literature and various strands of anti-Westernism, this study presents a thematic analysis of around 750 articles from five nationwide newspapers published between November 2020 and May 2022. Widespread distrust, hostility, and insecurity towards an Occidentalist caricature of the West are documented in Turkish media coupled with conspiracy theories; these are present in both anti- and pro-government newspapers. Turkish media, in unison, presents the West as Turkey’s arch-rival and responsible for most of its past and present woes. Turkish media also often instrumentalizes the West in deflecting attention from policy failures of the political camps they align with. These representations justify homegrown authoritarianism and undemocratic measures by stoking an “under-siege” mentality, which is argued to require swift and assertive measures against external and internal agents puppeteered by the West. It is argued that the constant negative representations fuel anti-Westernism, driving a wider wedge between the West and Turkey.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Approaching civil-military relations as a regime: lessons from the Turkish case
    (Bilkent University, 2022-12) Malkoç, Denizhan
    This thesis argues that while the equilibrium theories in civil-military relations literature criticise the separation theories for neglecting the domestic conditions of non-western states, they disregard the functional imperative and possible politicisation of militaries. In order to test this criticism of equilibrium theories, this thesis utilises Douglas L. Bland’s shared responsibility theory, which adapts the equilibrium approach by applying regime theory, to analyse the change in Turkish civil-military relations between 1999 and the present by conducting a longitudinal with-in case study of Turkey. The findings indicate that the characteristics of established equilibriums are conditional to the political context. In the case of Turkey, the change in civil-military relations mainly proceeded under competitive authoritarianism on the part of the government and resulted in a civil-military relations equilibrium that is stable at the moment but neglectful of the functional imperative and politicisation of the Turkish Armed Forces.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Entrepreneurial environment and varieties of capitalism
    (Bilkent University, 2023-01) Açıköz, Fatima Kurnia
    A countries' variety of capitalism could become vulnerable to change under the existence of an external factor. This thesis seeks answers for "In which varieties of capitalisms does the entrepreneurial environment have a statistically significant impact on the enrolment rates of secondary school vocational education and training (VET)?", and in the varieties of capitalism where we find statistically significant impact, "Which entrepreneurial factors (i.e., prominent principal components (PCs)) structure the entrepreneurial environment the most?" By using the Feasible Generalized Least Square and Principal Component Analysis models, I argue that the entrepreneurial environment shapes the institutional educational VET structure of a country, in other words, varieties of capitalism, by statistically significantly impacting the secondary school VET enrolment rates. I found that the entrepreneurial environment impacts the VET structures of Emerging Market Economies (EMEs ), Advanced EMEs, and European Market Economies. In addition, the most prominent PCs in the Brazilian, Chilean, Chinese, and Hungarian entrepreneurial environments are risk capital, internationalization, and product innovation. Lastly, I finalize this thesis by stating further research suggestions and policy implications.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Remote work from the eyes of remote workers: understanding the changing nature of work in the 21st century
    (Bilkent University, 2022-08) Tuhanioğlu, Hande
    This thesis examines remote work as a labour process in which remote workers make sense of social life and themselves through their work. In this regard, it aims to contribute to the conceptualisation of remote work in the context of the changing nature of work in the 21st century. More specifically, this study asks the following question: “How and under what conditions does remote work transform the meaning of work for remote workers?” This question will be explored through an examination of the working experiences of remote workers in Turkey. With this aim in mind, a critical examination of the meaning of work in modern and contemporary social theory, as well as the recent discussions on the digitalization of work will be provided. In this thesis, the experiences of remote workers are obtained as the main data of the study which is analysed by adopting a methodology inspired by ‘grounded theory’ approach. Under this methodological framework, 18 in-depth interviews were conducted with remote workers in Turkey. Among the interviewees, there are freelancers, full-time employees and business owners working in sectors that are suitable for remote work in terms of the digitalizability of the work. In the end, this study argues that remote work does not enable a full emancipation from negative work conditions as is widely argued; however, it is also not possible to say that remote workers are simply the passive sufferers of relations of exploitation beyond their control. Rather, it is argued that remote workers are engaged in an attempt to liberate themselves from the existing social and economic conditions with a desire to construct what they consider to be ‘better’ living and working conditions for themselves under the unique circumstances of the 21st century.
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    Two decades of Central banking: institutional change in Türkiye’s political economy
    (Bilkent University, 2022-08) İdil, Ali Berk
    This thesis argues that two seemingly conflicting theories of institutional change, the ones on critical junctures and the ones on gradual institutional change, are not mutually exclusive. Based on a qualitative research design and a single-country study, this thesis examines the two different periods of institutional change that the Central Bank of the Republic of Türkiye has gone through, first in 2001 and second after the 2010s. It compares and contrasts these two periods for comparative insights. Then, it makes a historical analysis of the latter change under four dimensions: principles, objectives, procedures, and instruments. I argue that these four dimensions have undergone four modes of change that are drift, conversion, layering, and displacement. It also compares the effects of endogenous constraints and exogenous pressures. The thesis ends with comparative insights that Türkiye is not a unique case.
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    Securitization of migration in official discourse in Turkey in post-Cold War Era
    (Bilkent University, 2021-09) Fişne Yavuz, Mehlika Ayşe
    Since the end of the Cold War, Turkey has become a destination country for the human mobility of people who are not of 'Turkish descent and culture’. For the first time in the history of the Republic, Turkey has become a destination and not only a transit country. The thesis is interested in the changing official responses of the Republic to this transition. The question asked is whether and/or in what ways major human mobility cases to Turkey in the post-Cold War Era were securitized in the official discourse of the Republic. The cases that are focused on are the mobility of the 1989 Ethnic Turks of Bulgaria, and the Northern Iraqis in 1991, mobility from the post-Soviet countries and from the Central African countries since the early 1990s, and post-2011 Syrian human mobility. While examining this question, the thesis adopts the perspective of securitization theory and looks to see whether these human mobilities were portrayed as a threat to Turkey’s national security or not.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Discussion of the Kurdish question in the 1970s Turkish left: textual analysis of the 1970s left periodicals
    (Bilkent University, 2021-09) Çetin, Mine
    This thesis aims to investigate the origins of identity politics by focusing on its lasting relationship between ideological politics. Concerning the literature of the left theories on the question of identity and the political context of the 1970s Turkey, which is identified by the factionalization of the ideological politics and the proliferation of the ethnic-identity based organizations, this study asks the following question: “How was the Kurdish question discussed among the 1970s Turkish Left?” To answer this question, the study conducted thematic analysis of the written texts that were generated through three periodicals of the 1970s left, namely İlke, Ürün and Yürüyüş. The analysis shows that the approach of the Turkish left to the Kurdish question affected the disengagement of the Kurdish-identity based organizations from the socialist left in Turkey.
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    Finding the othering in the representation of Syrian refugee women: critical discourse analysis of the Turkish newspapers Cumhuriyet, Hurriyet, Sabah, Sozcu and Yeni Safak
    (Bilkent University, 2021-09) Miettinen, Meri Merve
    After the outbreak of chaos in 2011 in Syria Arab Spring uprisings, Turkey implemented an open door policy for those who were subjected to forced migration. In this process, Syrians faced the consequences of being in a different country. Entering a social cohesion process with the society has brought along various policies. The representation of the media in this prescription acts as a bridge to break positive and negative prejudices between the host society and the Syrians. When Syrians are mentioned, the first men are coming to fore to mind and cause women to be forced into the background and make their lives invisible. This study focuses on how newspapers with different political views represent Syrian women in the Turkish print media. While making this analysis, critical discourse analysis was used. It is based on the fact that women are exposed to various other marginalization through the concept of dual otherness. Between 2015-2018, the news of Cumhuriyet, Sözcü, Hürriyet, Sabah and Yeni Safak newspapers about Syrian women were evaluated in the categories determined in the study. The news is categorized as death, victim, offender, mother, hero-achievement, sexual object, dependent on the service provided by the country, and others.
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    Reproduction of Turkishness on television: an analysis of TRT series
    (Bilkent University, 2021-09) Özkan, Gizem
    This thesis analyses two different TRT series to reveal when and how Turkishness is reproduced on television. These two series are Sevda Kuşun Kanadında and Seksenler. The thesis makes use of an interpretative approach in which the components of themes, music, contexts, characters and narratives are analysed within the social and political context of the post-putsch era in Turkish politics. The analysis demonstrates that Turkishness is reproduced as its banal and hot forms; both separately and conjoined together. In this regard, Turkishness is reproduced through homeland deixis, the dichotomy of us vs. them and references to common history and Ottoman past.
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    Securitization of cyberspace governance and the right to privacy: cases of the Us, China, and Iceland
    (Bilkent University, 2021-09) Güven, Durukan
    This thesis adopts securitization theory to analyse the securitization of cyberspace governance in different parts of the world to understand how the securitization of cyberspace governance affects the right to privacy, because securitization and the right to privacy are intertwined. Every step taken by states regarding securitization has crucial impacts on the right to privacy either positive or negative manner. The thesis asks: “How do the USA, China, and Iceland securitize cyberspace governance, and what is the relationship between the securitization of cyberspace governance and the right to privacy in these countries?” To answer this question, the thesis analyzes the National Cybersecurity Strategies and Freedom on the Net reports that were published in the post-2015 period. The thesis observes a complicated relationship between the securitization of cyberspace governance and the right to privacy. What governments declare and the results of their actions in the securitization process can be inconsistent as in the US, can be consistent as in Iceland, and can be consistent and inconsistent at the same time as in China. According to the comparison of cases with each other, a free and not-free state can take non-democratic measures to secure cyberspace governance.