Understanding political priority development for public health issues in Turkey: Lessons from tobacco control and road safety

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



Health Research Policy and Systems








Agenda-setting; Health policy; Road safety; Tobacco control; Turkey


© 2019 The Author(s). Background: Tobacco use and road traffic injuries are major public health problems in Turkey. During the last decade, the former issue received political priority in the country, while the latter did not despite the immense health and economic burden that road traffic injuries pose on the Turkish population. Political priority can facilitate the attainment of public health goals. Unfortunately, however, limited cross-case analyses exist to help us understand why it emerges for certain public health issues but fails to develop for others in low- and middle-income countries. Methods: This study utilised Kingdon's Multiple Streams Framework to explore the political priority development process in Turkey. A cross-case analysis was conducted, using data gathered from three different sources, namely key informant interviews (n = 42), documents (n = 307) and online self-administered surveys (n = 153). The Wilcoxon-Mann-Whitney test was also employed to examine whether the relationships within the tobacco control and road safety networks differed significantly. Results: In Turkey, political priority emerges when four streams - problem, policy, political and global - converge while a policy window is open. While these findings are largely consistent with the Multiple Streams Framework, this study also shed light on (1) the need to consider global health treaties for urgent public health issues as these instruments can accentuate global norms and standards, (2) the disproportionate strength of the political stream, (3) the need to develop in-depth understanding of national political context, (4) the importance of fostering meaningful ties between global and domestic health networks, and (5) the need for policy network cohesion. Conclusions: Findings from this study can be used by advocates striving to promote public health issues in other similar contexts.