The Political Dynamics of R&D Policy in Turkey: Party Differences and Executive Interference during the AKP Period
This article examines the political dynamics of R&D policy in Turkey during the Justice and Development Party (Adalet ve Kalknma Partisi AKP) period. Drawing on interviews and other sources the article argues that R&D policy is not above politics in Turkeythis contrasts with the dominant understanding in the literature. First although opposition parties have significantly different views on R&D policy they support the AKP on key legislation since innovation is perceived to be a phenomenon that cannot be opposed in any circumstances. Innovation is thought to fuel modernization sustain a nation's independence and reflect national dignity. Second the executive's interference in key innovation agencies specifically the Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (Turkiye Bilimsel ve Teknolojik Aratrma Kurumu TuBTAK) leads to shifts in organizations' policy stance and enables the AKP to pursue the policy as it sees fit. The AKP has preferred a predominantly horizontal policy design (no sectoral focus) and promoted relaxation in resource allocation criteria. The article demonstrates how politics influences innovation policy in Turkey highlighting opposition parties' role in policy-making by showing how the opposition's ideational stance and weak institutional capacity hindered the deliberation of policy alternatives.