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The role of the civil society in the EU member states and candidate countries: where does Turkey stand in the general picture?

Final Activity Report Summary - TURKEY-EU (The role of the civil society in the EU Member States and candidate countries: Where does Turkey stand in the general picture?)

This Marie Curie Research Project analysed the role of the civil society organisations (NGOs, Voluntary Organisations, Trade Unions, media, opinion leaders, youth-women-environment-human rights activist groups, etc.) in the political decision making mechanisms of the European Union (at local, regional, national and supranational levels). It also made a comparative analysis between the current member states and the candidate countries, and particularly focused on Turkey.

One major finding of this research project has been that currently the local, regional and national political levels of governance have still more legitimacy for people when compared with the supranational structures of the European Union. The reasons of this legitimacy deficit are mostly due to the non-existence of a 'political sphere of discussion' at the EU level. The research project found out there is limited organisation of civil society actors at the trans-national and supranational levels. However, this limited transnational civil society organisation is in fact a result of the insufficient social policies functioning at the supranational levels. For further deepening the EU need to transform from a common market to a common economic and social governance model. This will also be a catalyst for the flourishing of a transnational European civil society further legitimising the European Union.

In the case of Turkey, one major finding has been that the secularism played a crucial role with regards to civilianisation of politics in the country. As the only successful model at hand, that managed to combine western ways of governance with an Oriental and Muslim dominated society, the Turkish experience is unique. The research project found out that today Turkey needs a liberal-democratic reading/revision of the Modern Republic's Reforms, strengthening of the Social and Welfare Policies with a view to decrease the economic inequalities (and regional income differences) in the country, and reciprocal strengthening of the Secular model.