The third-party function of Turkey’s Ombudsman Institution in resolving public disputes

Date
2022-09
Advisor
Çuhadar, Çerağ Esra
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Bilkent University
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English
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Abstract

This study focuses on the third-party function of ombudsman in resolution of public disputes between the citizens and public institutions and the factors undermine and facilitate its third-party function in the Turkish case. Ombudsman institutions have been evaluated in terms of administrative, legal, and human rights functions for years. Although interest in the ombudsman's dispute resolution function has increased recently, there is a lack of empirical studies of understanding this function. This study aims to fill the void by examining the case of Turkey’s Ombudsman Institution. As one of the youngest ombudsman institutions in the world, the Ombudsman Institution of Turkey has been using the friendly-settlement method since 2017 to increase the dispute resolution capacity. This study firstly quantitatively examines the friendly-settlement method based on 1003 cases. Data shows that despite friendly settlement is associated with informal and interactive dispute resolution in general, its use in the Turkish context is heavily dominated by formal and non-interactive methods. In order to understand the reasons creating this divergence, the study uses 24 semi-structured interviews conducted with experts and senior officials of the institution. Following the analysis of interviews, the study shows that authority, flexibility, network, dispute resolution capacity, and the attitude are five major factors determining ombudsman’s third-party function in the Turkish case. The findings also displays that these factors are causing less interaction and informality in relation to bureaucratic legalism in Turkey.

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Dispute resolution, Ombudsman, Friendly-settlement, Informality, Interaction
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Published Version (Please cite this version)