Old Wine in New Bottles? Corruption and Neopatrimonial Statehood in Turkey

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


This chapter examines good governance reforms in Turkey, undertaken-mostly under the auspices of external donors to strengthen transparency, accountability, and efficiency in the public sector. As indicated by empirical evidence, these fundamental reforms, adopted in the last two decades, have been relatively successful in terms of diminishing petty corruption in Turkey, which demonstrated its positive repercussions on improved performance of the country in several business indicators, such as trade openness, foreign direct investment and income level, and in decreasing rate of corruption-related crime. Leaving several areas untouched (such as political party and electoral campaign finance), the good governance reforms, however, failed to eliminate historically developed structures of patrimonial governance and informal practices in the intended fashion. On the contrary, the reform process paved the way for the emergence of new clientelistic networks and rent-seeking opportunities feeding grand corruption in Turkey. This chapter revisits the concept of neopatrimonialism to examine how this hybrid type of statehood in Turkey empowered certain groups of individuals in the system and enabled them to appropriate gains, whereas formal institutions became heavily infused with the particularistic politics of the rulers. The outcome of this research brings insights to better capture informal practices in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication Corruption and Informal Practices in the Middle East and North Africa
EditorsIna Kubbe, Aiysha Varraich
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
ISBN (Electronic)9780367822859
Publication statusPublished - 2019


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