The Local Welfare System in Turkey: The Case of Municipal Care Services in Istanbul
Social care is an immature welfare policy domain in Turkey, which is characterized by the central role of the family in social care provision, the limited public expenditures allocated to social care, and the low level of institutionalization and professionalization in social care provision. With the legislative reform in the mandate of municipalities in 2004, municipalities initiated social care programs and have become important actors in social care provision. Inspired by the literature on the local welfare systems and using social care as a case in understanding changing welfare governance and provision, this thesis explores the emerging role of district municipalities in social care in selected districts of Istanbul. In this way, this thesis sheds light on the local dimension of social care in Turkey and contributes to a better understanding of the changing social policy landscape in Turkey. The research reveals that, district municipalities are increasingly important, albeit disorganized, components of social care policies in Turkey. Each implements a different set of social care programs in a similarly disorganized manner. Without exception, the scope of their services is limited. While district municipalities do not differ from the central government in targeting the poor sectors of especially people with disabilities and the elderly in need of care and their reliance upon cash for care, their narrow-scoped home-based care provision points to an innovation in social care policies in Turkey.