51st Congress of the European Regional Science Association: "New Challenges for European Regions and Urban Areas in a Globalised World", 30 August - 3 September 2011, Barcelona, Spain
The aim of this paper is to analyse interregional disparities and the performance of peripheral/less-developed regions in Turkey regarding the current tools of regional policies. During the planning period in Turkey, two main goals are defined as 'maximizing national income' on the one hand, and 'reducing interregional disparities' on the other. In 2002, in order to establish the statistical database harmonized with the regional statistical system of EU, classification of NUTS regions has been completed. After that, the State Planning Organization (SPO) prepared a "Regional Development Strategy, Objectives and Operational Programs" especially for the 10 Level-2 regions which are mostly less developed regions and located in the east, as a road map in order to direct regional development activities in Turkey. Later, Development Agencies in the center of NUTS regions were established to facilitate development objectives of the regions. The aim of this paper is to re-examine the regional disparities under the light of the new process. Mostly the studies on regional disparities considered economic dimension and the results indicate that the distribution of GDP per capita highlights the eastern-spatial peripherality of regional development pattern in Turkey. Previous study of author emphasizes two significant points for regional policies. First, there is evidence of a strengthening of a two-regime spatial division in the country; secondly, there would appear to be little evidence of positive spill-overs from the more-developed to the less-developed parts of the country. Therefore, in this paper, evolutions of regions in terms of their performances will be examined since 1980. The main questions of the paper are: "which regions can be defined as winners and losers?", "is there any differentiation among less developed regions?". Furthermore, we try to explore the factors which underlay the aggregate trends of the regions in Turkey, since we know the importance of region-specific policies. The findings of the analyses would be discussed with respect to new regional policies in Turkey.