POLS 493 Comparative Local Government Select Term:
A major structural change has taken place in Turkish society with the urban population surpassing the rural population for the first time in the Ottoman-Turkish continuum. The first rate of urbanization has not resulted in a parallel process of urban integration, creating serious problems in both tangible (infrastructure, housing, services) and intangible (identity, participation, civic engagement) aspects of urban space. This dual character of urban settlements in Turkey has been compounded by a strained relationship between central and local govenment in sharing of competences and resources. The strategic decision of Turkey to join the European Union (EU); the need to harmonize policies; the prevalent trends and principles in the EU in the field of local govenment have created a new urgency to critically reappraise the administrative system in Turkey. The general tendency in the EU for decentralization, deconcentration and devolution, true to the spirit of local and regional governance, has necessitated local government reform to top the reform agenda in Turkey. Within the confines of the Course, a comparative analysis of existing institutions and processes will be taken up, followed by trends and evolving patterns of local governance in both the EU and Turkey.