Bilge Yabanci is a researcher and political scientist. As a fellow, she is investigating the remarkable proliferation of Turkish civil society organizations amid a broad crackdown on the freedom of expression, association, and assembly. Among the questions Yabanci asks are: If these newly emerging organizations are not creating a more democratic culture, why were they created in the first place? What functions do they perform, and what objectives do they seek? And finally, what is the relationship between these new civil society organizations and deepening authoritarianism in Turkey? In attempting to answer these questions, she posits that many of these new organizations may serve to build authoritarianism “from below” by crowding out legitimate civil society organizations and absorbing available funds and civil society space that might otherwise be available to opposition groups.
She holds a doctorate in politics from the University of Bath and a master’s degree in european affairs from Lund University in Sweden.