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Politics and class: The Turkish Business Environment in the Neoliberal age

  • Ayşe Buğra (a1) and Osman Savaşkan (a2)
Abstract

This article investigates the contemporary Turkish business environment as shaped by the economic, political and cultural transformations of the past 30 years. The changes in the forms and mechanisms of government intervention in the economy, the spatial relocation of industry, the rise of “Anatolian capital,” and the cleavages within the business community generated by the increasing salience of Islam in society and politics are some of the interrelated themes that will be pursued in the article. To understand the current context and the configurations of interest in the business community it is necessary to have a closer look at the manifestations of politics in business life. Political factors are important at the level of government-business relations where the political authority continues to mobilize a series of legislative and administrative mechanisms for the privileged treatment of those businesspeople with the right political and sectarian affiliations. Politics also enters the business environment through the role played by different business associations. These associations not only represent the interests of different segments of the business community, but they also shape the ways in which economic interests are defined, presented in policy terms and pursued through different strategies. In this context, the article also draws attention to the political cleavages that are manifested at the local level where they are managed and kept under control with different degrees of success.

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