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Abstract


INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS ACTIVITIES IN LOCAL ADMINISTRATIONS: A REVIEW ON ISTANBUL METROPOLITAN MUNICIPALITY
Local authorities are defined as administrative units that are established to meet the regional and common needs. However, mission and responsibilities undertaken by the local authorities nowadays have gone far beyond the regional needs and have made international relationships indispensable. Sometimes, amicable and trustworthy relationships that cannot be established through national policies are built upon cities and municipalities, paving the way for national policies and promoting economic, commercial, cultural and social relationships through such concepts as mutual cooperation and exchange of experience. Although local authorities engage in theme-oriented, project-based, definite and indefinite cooperation as well as other works related to development and emergency response in their international relationships, sister city relationships and agreements are more in the foreground. Sister city relationships that began in 1950s became more common after 1980s, and increased by diversifying after 2000s along with the development of all means of communication as well as the flows of urbanization, globalization, indigenization and democratization. Turkey went through a similar process, and reforms in the field of local authorities and closer relationship with the European Union accelerated this process. Although international relations vary according to the scale of local government unit, it has become an important strategy in metropolitan cities. Accordingly, Istanbul is the most remarkable city in our country in terms of internationalization. Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality, which continues its activities with the claim of being a global city, states that it attaches great importance to international relations. In this article, international relations activities of local administrations in our country are explained and the studies of Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality are preferred as the field of study. Town twinnig agreements, cooperation protocols, memorandum of understanding and letters of goodwill are described as an İstanbul Metropolitan Municipality's main international activities. The basic theory of our article study is that international relations studies of local governments are carried out through a process in which central government policies are the final determinants. Also as the basic question of the article; it is sought to answer the question of a headquarter who is able to carry out an international relations activity without the approval of the central government. According to this; In determining the direction of external relations, the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality prefers city administrations with the potential to contribute to Istanbul or the city municipalities of countries with historical, cultural and geographical proximity. The reason for this situation; to recognize qualified examples in terms of urban services and to ensure the continuity of good relations with the countries which have historical, cultural and geographical proximity. However, as all municipalities in our country, the main factor determining the direction of the international relations of Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality is the policies followed by the central government. It does not seem possible for a municipality to engage in international relations contrary to central government policies or to maintain a relationship that has already begun. As a result of the political tensions that arise between Turkey and the Netherlands, the cancellation of the Town twinnig Agreement signed between Istanbul and Rotterdam in 2015 is the best example.

Keywords
Local Governments, International Relations, Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality, City Diplomacy, Sist


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