Responsible pragmatism in Turkish social policy making in the face of Islamic egalitarianism and neoliberal austerity

Akan T.

INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF SOCIAL WELFARE, vol.20, no.4, pp.367-380, 2011 (SSCI) identifier identifier


Founded in August 2001, the Justice and Development Party of Turkey (JDP) has forged a brand new identity, the Conservative Democracy, and initiated challenging politico-economic reforms since November 2002 when it came to power. Among these reforms, the social policies of the Conservative Democrats have intriguingly yielded mixed blessings of a strategic settlement between equality of outcome and opportunity. This article argues that such a result originated from the commodification by the Conservative Democrats of the Islamic egalitarianism of 'the Just Order', the politico-economic programme to which the JDP's leaders were strictly committed before becoming the Conservative Democrats. Entitling the social policy strategy of JDP as 'Responsible Pragmatism', this article concludes that it was an unsustainable but flexible social policy strategy that has gone as far as it can, now, on the eve of the 2011 general elections.