Today I – virtually, see screen top right hand corner:-) – sat on the assessment committee for PhD, Cem Duylmus, Université de Montreal, who defended his thesis on ‘the use of Europe’ in Turkish social policy reforms in the 1990s and 2000s. Analyzing heaps of national and EU policy documents Duylmus find that by and large national actors in Turkey decide how and when to make use of the cognitive, economic and legal resources that the European Union makes available in connection with the Turkish EU accession process. Duylmus’ focus on national actors provide a welcome methodological corrective to much of the top-down approaches in much Europeanization literature.
Although Duylmus finds that the EU has been used more in the 2000s than in the 1990s it is still to early to say whether this may radically change the nature or speed of Turkish social policy reform let alone potentially lead to Turkish EU membership. Indeed domestic political developments at the Taksim Square may prove more instrumental in bringing about change such as allowing free trade unions and creating a social dialogue, than the two dormant chapters on these issues in the EU accession process.