Much of the literature on non-governmental organisations (NGOs) problematises the relationship between donors and NGOs in terms of the control the former exercise over the latter. This leaves other aspects of a rich and varied relationship relatively unexplored. The aim of this article is to highlight the agency of civil society actors to promote an agenda independent of donor interests. The reactions of Turkish NGOs to the policy agenda and financial support put forward by the European Union suggest two main motivations for NGO engagement with the process: negotiating access to material resources and participating in the politics of representation. Out of this engagement emerges a typology of four strategies labelled ‘translation’, ‘brokerage’, ‘navigation’ and ‘agonism’. These strategies reflect contrasting means of turning resources – both financial and ideopolitical – into the capacity to realise organisational objectives.
- civil society
- European Union