Understanding GAP as a ‘Social Development’ Project: Failure or Success?
Thesis or dissertation
University of Exeter
Reason for embargo
This thesis aims to construct a comprehensive view of the GAP project from its establishment in the 1950s through to 2015 through employing two theoretical approaches (‘modernization/development’ and ‘cosmopolitan’ theories) and wide-ranging fieldwork in south-east Turkey, conducting interviews with local people, initiators of the project, local civil organizations and political actors. Modernization/development theory is employed to examine the content and conceptualization of GAP, cosmopolitan theory to assess obstacles to the GAP ‘social development’ project. Fieldwork has been undertaken to collect primary data and make the contextualization more comprehensive. In this way the thesis seeks to determine whether the GAP project has made positive progress towards enabling the sustainable development of the south-east and resolve the problem of the unequal socio-economic development of the south-east relative to the rest of Turkey. The thesis also seeks to determine whether the project has had a negative impact on the environment, archaeological sites, historical towns, settlements and cultural heritage in the region. The main purpose of the thesis is to examine two factors in relation to the GAP ‘social development’ project: (1) understanding the core concept behind the materialization of the project, which involves ending the region’s longstanding chronic poverty, provide socio-economic stability and creating integration with the industrialized west of Turkey; (2) a comparative analysis of empirical and theoretical work provides a review of the conceptualization of the project and investigation of the extent to which it has succeeded, and an assessment is made of obstructions which have led to the project failing to achieve many of its targets. The thesis argues that four problems, three internal and one external, have impacted on the ‘social development’ aspect of the GAP project. It also points out the historical factors involved in Turkish policy for the region, and demonstrates how the success or failure of the project depends on how far the Turkish state understands the need for local cultural empowerment and operates in the interests of local people.
PhD in Arab and Islamic Studies