The Process of Democratic Consodilation in Turkey

Topics: Democracy, Elections, Turkey Pages: 7 (2730 words) Published: February 1, 2013
Democratic Consolidation in Turkey
In general, as far as democracy and democratic consolidation in one country and state come to mean that democracy is the form of political government manner in which all of the eligible citizens claim their rights in an equal manner in order to decide their own lives and government bodies. According to Russell Hanson, “the people sought and gained power and influence in the name of democracy” (68). In this regard, democracy requires the citizens to participate the governing parts of the state, either through elected representatives or through the creation of laws. Hence, it is considered that democracy is the way of government of the people, as well as the representation of the people in the government. Accordingly, democracy gives importance to the fundamental freedom and the fundamental rights of people. In this regard, as Becker and Raveloson claim, “human rights are much more than a mere component of democracy. They represent sine qua non requirements for the well performing of a democratic system. The development and evolution of human rights are only possible when humans live in a democracy” (4). What is more, according to Becker and Raveloson, in democratic systems, people themselves put the laws which work and function through the three Powers in governments: legislative power, executive power and judiciary power. The separation of these powers makes up the essence of democracy (Becker and Raveloson 5). Also, democracy is based on the rule of law, in which people constitute laws through representatives in parliaments, which determine and make laws. Laws in a state prevent the tyrannical and absolutist government, as well as despotism; rather the laws require the equality of citizens before the laws. In this respect, the consolidation of parliamentary system is the essential body of the democratic government states, which gives way to the separation of powers into three as legislative, executive ad judiciary. On the other hand, in this respect, when considering the democratic consolidation, it can be stated that the above given aspects of democracy lead to the maturity of a state in terms of democracy. Hence, the transition to democracy and path to the formation of democracy have been considered as the consolidation of democracy, in which the location of human rights, electoral system, parliament, and the separation of powers play an important role. Hence, within the process of the consolidation of democracy, democratic freedom and democratic rights constitute the very basis as human rights. In the light of these ideas, when it comes to the consolidation of democracy in Turkey, Turkey has always been regarded as the “third wave of democracy” by many scholars and political scientists. Accordingly, it should be pointed out that the first attempt to democracy in Turkey dates back to 1950s, in which multiparty system was consoled and located. Ergun Özbudun claims that in Turkey, parties and party system “have been experiencing a protracted process of institutional decay since the 1970s, with growing fragmentation, ideological polarization, and electoral volatility in party system and declining organizational capacity of, public support for, and identification with individual parties” (73). In this regard, it has been claimed that the party system and the structure of the political parties in Turkey has been changing and going to polarization from single-party rule to multi-party system, as Özbudun states. However one can also claim that the process of democratization can be dated to the early days of the foundation of the Turkish Republic. According to Irına Danilkina, Turkey, as being a developing country, has also been considered as the “forerunner in the transition to the competitive democratic system” (1). However, as it has been stated by Akgün, “among developing countries, Turkey has been a front runner in the transition to the competitive democratic...

Cited: Akgün, B. “Aspects of Party System Development in Turkey”. Turkish Studies, Volume 2, Number 1, 1 2001 , pp. 71-92.
Becker, Paula, and Raveloson, Jean-Aime. “What is Democracy?”, Septembr 2008, Retrieved in 03 November 2012, from
Danilkina, Irına. “TURKEY: The Party System from 1963 to 2000”. Retrieved in 02 November 2012, from
Geyikçi, Şebnem. “The Impact of Parties and Party Systems on Democratic Consolidation: The Case of Turkey”.
Grigoriadis, Ioannis. “Turkey’s Accession to the European Union: Debating the Most Difficult Enlargement Ever”, SAIS Review of International Affairs, Vol. 26, No. 1, Winter-Spring, 2006. Pp. 147-160.
Hanson, Russell. “Democracy”. Political Innovation and Conceptual Change”. Ed. Terence Ball et al. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1989.
Ilkay Sunar and Sabri Sayari, “Democracy in Turkey”. Transitions from Authoritarian Rule: Tentative Conclusions About Uncertain Democracies, ed. Guillermo O’Donnell and Philippe C. Schmitter. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1986.
Özbudun, Ergun. Contemporary Turkish Politics: Challenges to Democratic Consolidation. London, Lynne, 2000.
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