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Impact case study

A Series of Illiberal Events: The State of Politics in Turkey

Unit(s) of assessment: Social Work and Social Policy

School: School of Social Sciences


The ‘Series of Illiberal Events: The State of Politics in Turkey’ impact case study is led by Dr Natalie Martin and linked to the International Security and Sustainability (ISS) research group.  It provides “impartial” information to policymakers and to the global media; this is important because “think tanks” and research centres in the UK working on Turkish politics are often funded by one or other of the political groups in Turkey. This means “commentators” in the UK media on events in Turkey are often billed as independent when they are not. These groups also operate an effective – and apparently neutral - lobbying operation in London and Brussels

Research background

This research develops the doctoral and post-doctoral work completed by Dr Martin on the Turkey-EU relationship. More recently it has concentrated on contemporary aspects of the relationship focussing on the illiberality in Turkey and the liberal democratic identity of the EU. Hence this has looked at the impact of the migration issue on Turkey-EU relations and examined specific aspects of Turkish politics such as the Kurdish issue and the Gulen movement. This is turn gives rise to a typology of illiberality – cross matching the themes outlined with the nature of illiberality, such as the abuse of the rule of law and freedom of expression.


Written testimony of impact has been obtained as part of a workshop with policymakers and journalists from London and Brussels held at the Royal Anthropological Institute in April 2018 which will has established an ongoing network of Turkey scholars and analysts. This also ties into Dr Martin’s work with the British International Studies Association (BISA) South East Europe working group and the British Association for Turkish Area Studies.


  • Martin, N. 2018. “The A.K. Party and the Kurds since 2014: a discourse of terror”, British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies. Published online January 31st 2018.
  • Martin, N. 2017. Türkiye, Avrupa Birliği ve Brexit. In: D. Şekeroğlu and E. Esen, eds., Brexit - Elveda Avrupa İngiltere’nin AB’den Ayrılmasından Sonra Avrupa Bütünleşmesi ve Türkiye‐AB İlişkilerinde Fırsatlar ve Tehditler. Istanbul, Turkey: Friedrich Ebert Stiftung. ISBN 9786059221658
  • Martin, N. 2016 with Dr Gulay Icoz: “Opportunities missed: Turkey-EU accession since 2005”, Special issue of the Journal of Contemporary European Studies. 24:2
  • Martin, N. 2015: “How the EU came to open accession negotiations with Turkey: The role of the ‘well-placed Brits’”, Journal of European Integration History. 21:2 pp. 231-250
  • Martin, N. 2015: Security and the EU Turkey Accession Process: Norms, Reforms and the Cyprus Issue. Palgrave, London (part of the New Security Challenges series edited by Stuart Croft)