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Since 2004, the government of Turkey has undertaken a number of “decentralisation” reforms. A number of laws have been passed that give increased autonomy and resources to regional and local authorities and aim to reorganise the division of tasks and the relationships between these authorities and the central government. These reforms represent substantial change, since there had previously been practically no intermediate level between the central government and the citizens, and the decision-making centres in Ankara constituted serious bottlenecks that were regularly circumvented. The reform process raises a number of questions. What rationales led to the implementation of these reforms? Did the reforms result from the opening of negotiations on Turkey’s accession to the European Union, in 2005, or were domestic political processes also a factor? What real changes did these reforms introduce? What impact have they had on adjustments in the levels of government and the connections among them, and, more generally, on the Turkish political scene?

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