Rethinking state and civil society relations in Turkey: an analysis on migrant health

Date
2018-07
Advisor
Çınar, Meral Uğur
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Bilkent University
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English
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Thesis
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Abstract

This thesis aims to investigate what kind of functions can civil society organizations serve in states that have historically created unfavorable structural conditions for them. For this purpose, a political ethnography study was conducted for over 3 years. Within the scope of this study, laws regulating the access of migrants to health services were examined, in-depth interviews with 29-people conducted, and participant observation was carried out in 8-places. This study theoretically argues that civil society organizations may challenge the structural boundaries determining the limits of their activity at the time of crises. Depending on the content and size of these crises, even historically statist states may have to make room for civil society. Within the empiric case of this study that analyzes civil society and state relations under migrant health field in Turkey, this thesis argues that the recent migration wave was the window of opportunity to gain a temporary space in the field for civil society organizations in Turkey, which are weak due to being under the tutelage of the state, originating from the statist tradition. Civil society has filled this area with positive contributions to all migrants; but the strong statist understanding of the state causes this circumstance to recede in the long-run. Given the findings of this thesis, it is concluded that the state needs to allow for civil society in the field of health while at the same time maintain fulfilling its inspection and coordination roles in that area.

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Civil Society Organizations, Civil Society-State Relations, Migration, Migrant Health
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Published Version (Please cite this version)