A Research Companion to Water Transitions around the Globe
Edited by Dave Huitema and Sander Meijerink
Chapter 16: Neoliberal Transitions in Hydropower and Irrigation Water Management in Turkey: Main Actors and Opposition Groups
Aysegül Kibaroglu, Argun Baskan and Sezin Alp 16.1 Introduction The main goals of state water allocation and planning policy in Turkey comprise the following: independence from imported energy sources; increased agricultural production; satisfaction of increasing industrial, urban and rural demands for water; and the resolution of regional economic and social imbalances in order to raise the living standards of the population. From the 1950s the inclusion of such social aims led to water resources planning and development being carried out by government agencies through public investment. Since the early 1980s, however, a neoliberal1 transformation of the Turkish political economy has resulted in significant changes in water policy and management. The privatization of irrigation water management in the early 1990s with the guidance and partial financing of the World Bank serves as illustration. Within the framework of an accelerated programme of management transfer, irrigation associations (IAs) were established to operate and maintain almost all the irrigation systems in the country. Liberalization of the hydroelectricity sector has been under way since the 1980s, reinforced by important legislation adopted in 2005. Hence this chapter focuses on the water policy and management transitions in the hydroelectricity and irrigation sectors2 and outlines the role of the key actors fostering change and that of the opposing coalition. The neoliberal economic transitions seen in Turkey since the 1980s have typically been initiated by high-level politicians, in particular Turgut Ozal during his premiership (1983–89) and presidency (1989–93). Yet policy change specifically in the water sector...
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