Cherry-Picking in Policymaking: The EU’s Presumptive Roles on Gender Policymaking in Turkey

Taşkın B.

Feminist Framing of Europeanisation Gender Equality Policies in Turkey and the EU, Rahime Süleymanoğlu-Kürüm ve Melis Cin, Editör, Palgrave Macmillan, London , Chur, ss.131-155, 2020

  • Yayın Türü: Kitapta Bölüm / Araştırma Kitabı
  • Basım Tarihi: 2020
  • Yayınevi: Palgrave Macmillan, London 
  • Basıldığı Şehir: Chur
  • Sayfa Sayıları: ss.131-155
  • Editörler: Rahime Süleymanoğlu-Kürüm ve Melis Cin, Editör


This chapter studies the role of the EU in gender policymaking and the adoption and application of the EU norms in Turkey by focusing on the political representation of women in the Turkish parliament. It is argued that the causal weight of the EU’s incentives played a diminished role in comparison to such domestic factors as political polarization and party ideologies in the adoption of the EU norms. It relies on novel data regarding the floor-work and parliamentary commission work of women MPs between 2007 and 2017. These data illustrate that the EU’s influence on Turkey in terms of gender polices shifted from an interest-driven to a lesson-driven mechanism. It is argued that norm adoption occurs even in the absence of EU-level pressure to do so. Specifically, the study illustrates that when adoption of the EU polices are discussed among the women MPs in the commissions, only the EU rules and demands that are deemed appropriate vis-a-vis the majoritarian identity and values are accepted, this due not only to the majoritarianism and polarisation (secularist vs Islamist) problem in the parliament, but also principally due to the lack of short-term gains and rewards from the EU. An important finding is presented here showing that the numerical augmentation of women’s representation in the parliament since the 2000s has not converted to substantive representation, and moreover has failed to create cooperation among women MPs in incumbent and opposition parties, even for issues regarding gender-related problems such as domestic violence against women and childcare protection concerns. While rejecting the general assumption that “EU-niversal” and Islamic values are incompatible, the study highlights what is viewed as Turkey’s “cherry-picking approach” to the EU’s gender policies. For instance, the policies around LGBTI rights are left out of consideration, and policies that comply with their neo-conservative agenda are adopted. Whereas, the EU’s concern is to push the list of gender policies onto the government’s legislative agenda with few or no initiatives to create a feminist understanding of the gender policies.