Turkey’s Neoliberal Turn in the Early 1980s: Key Actors and Resultant Socio-political Implications



Ciftcioglu, Ahmet

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This study seeks to examine the political and social implications of the implementation of neoliberal economic policies in Turkey and the key actors that joined forces to spearhead this transformation process in the 1980s. More specifically, it intends to explore the dynamics and agents of Turkey’s January 24, 1980 Decisions—which opened Turkish economy to international forces and accelerated Turkey’s economic liberalization transformation. To that end, I employ these neoliberal transformations as a lens to zoom in on the role of the domestic actors and international institutions in Turkey’s neoliberal turn from 1980s onwards and its resultant socio-political implications. In this study, I advance the argument that the joint efforts of international institutions such as the World Bank and the IMF and those of internal forces such as the Turkish state, and military have led Turkey to adopt neoliberal policies that drastically transformed the country’s economy, politics and society. In this way, the aim is to examine how these actors played an intrinsic role in imposing these neoliberal policies on Turkey from a sociological perspective that transcends the economic dimensions of this transformation. The research questions are: who the main actors behind Turkey’s neoliberal turn are and how their coaction drove economic change and affected the country’s politics and populace.


This thesis has been embargoed for 5 years and will not be available until May 4, 2025 at the earliest.


Neoliberalism, Sociological perspective to neoliberalism, Neoliberal economic policies, Turkey's Neoliberal Transformation, January 24, 1980 Decisions, Neoliberalism and developing countries