Ismail Karatepe

Kurzexposé zur Dissertation von Ismail Karatepe

Islamists, State, Bourgeoisie and Discourse: The Construction Industry in Turkey

This PhD project is designed to explore the construction industry –state nexus in the case of Turkey. The construction industry in Turkey has been believed to play important role in its GDP growth rates. Besides, the existing construction boom started to play a more prominent role in politics: E.g., the eloquent pushes for megaprojects (e.g. Channel Istanbul) started to come up before the recent elections; a shopping mall project on Gezi Park, on very last green spaces near Taksim square in Istanbul, triggered a country-wide protest.

Since November 2002, when the islamist/conservative Justice and Development Party (AKP) swept the victory in Turkey’s parliamentary elections with an overwhelming majority, the governments’ direct involvement into the construction industry has been drastically expanded. Concerning the increasing government activities in the construction industry, a public agency, the Housing Development Administration of Turkey (TOKI) deserves special attention. The administration, which had been initially established to carry out social housing projects in the year 1984, became a significant actor in the construction industry.

Considering the growing activities of TOKI, this research aims to explore one of the least studied areas of Turkey’s contemporary political economy: the state involvement in the construction industry. It strives to answer the question of why successive governments have been directly and extensively involved in the construction industry. In terms of theory, I apply Cultural Political Economy (CPE) approach, which allows me to go beyond the conventional boundaries of orthodox political economy. Concerning methodology, I employ critical discourse analysis (CDA) and benefit from the rich conceptual framework of critical political economy (e.g. clientelism, gentrification).

Even though there are some studies touching upon the issue of the construction industry and public sector relations, the reasons leading the public sector's involvement in the industry are not defined as a central problem. The research questions of these studies are not designed in order to explore the factors being conducive to such involvement. Through defining the question to explore the reasons, this research intends to fill the gap in the related literature..