Solidarity Economy Initiatives in Turkey: From Reciprocity to Local Development?

Pelek S. , Gajac O.

REASER- Review of Applied Socio-Economic Research, vol.18, no.2, pp.30-42, 2019 (Refereed Journals of Other Institutions)

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 18 Issue: 2
  • Publication Date: 2019
  • Title of Journal : REASER- Review of Applied Socio-Economic Research
  • Page Numbers: pp.30-42


The emergence of solidarity economy initiatives in Turkey could be considered as a result of the historical process of the 1980s and the strengthened neoliberal policies over the past two decades. In this context, the disengagement and decentralization of the State, as well as the rise of civil society, challenges the role of the solidarity economy initiatives in territorial development. Are they integrated into the governance and regulation of their field of activity? Rather than a total disengagement, Turkey has been marked by a concentration of power and government control over many sectors and strong interdependence of civil society organizations. By targeting six activity fields (short food circuit, education, popular university, construction, refugees, and consumption without purchase), we conducted 25 interviews and a two-day workshop with the members of the solidarity initiatives. According to our findings, these initiatives have emerged outside of the market and public authorities. The social movements that occurred over the past years have significant effects on their emergence. Faced with the reluctance and/or rejection by the public authorities, most of them are characterized by a form of autonomy and self-organization capacity in their emergence phase. While in the beginning, they were based on the reciprocity principle, they aim to be consolidated by the market and nonmarket resources in the next phase. Finally, the solidarity economy initiatives would provide a basis for civic or citizen governance through their network ties and could have a positive impact in terms of social, economic, cultural, and local development.