Success and Failure Among Agricultural Cooperatives in Turkey
Aman, Grant R.
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Aman, Grant R.
This study investigates the impact of democratic control on Turkey's cooperatives. Turkey has had agricultural cooperatives in one form or another since the early l31 h century; before the rise of the Ottoman Empire. Yet, the movement has consistently underperformed financially since the founding of the republic in 1923. This study seeks to understand the degree to which Turkey's agricultural cooperatives are controlled democratically by their members and whether that has an effect on their financial performance. Democratic control is an indicator of collective action. Furthermore, how does the organizational structure of a cooperative influence democratic control? How does a cooperative's relationship with the state impact democratic control? In order to answer these questions, my research had two parts that analyzed primary and secondary sources. Key informant interviews were conducted via Skype, telephone, and email with government officials, cooperative employees, and academics in both Turkey and the United States. I also analyzed technical reports and other policy documents published in English by the Turkish government, the Food and Agriculture Organization, and the World Bank. I found that there are three main inhibitors of collective action among Turkey's agricultural cooperatives: poor relations between cooperative executives and members, state intervention, and lack of member participation. I conclude by offering several policy recommendations for overcoming those inhibitors.