Democracy in Turkey

The Republic of Turkey was founded by the descendants of a nation which had already established many historical states, and had made great contributions to humanity by synthesising state governance with different systems.

After the glorious War of Independence at the end of the Ottoman Empire and First World War, these people had a homeland which it may freely grow. It adopted the most advanced state governance available and has thereafter always tended towards the goal of democratisation, despite various hiccups along the way.

The election of the Motherland Party into power, rather than MDP, indicated a desire by the people to have a democratic government rather than an autocratic one. Moreover, all subsequent amendments of the 1982 Constitution and resistance to the 15th July 2016 coup proves that the Turkish people believe that democracy is the direction that Turkey should go in.

The resistance to the July 15th coup is clearly indicative of a strong desire from Turkish people to protect the Constitution, despite its flaws, and that only changes of government by civilian and democratic methods would be accepted.

The fact that the referendum vote on 16th April 2017, which wished to separate the Executive and Legislative branches, was so close shows that there is a wish of the people for better state governance and democracy.

Since the collapse of the Ottoman Empire and the Western style democratisation that has been often criticised, Turkey has responded by having a referendum and adopting a presidency style government. The polar opposite ideologies that were split by a hairsbreadth in the referendum indicates that the Turkish people want a clearer separation of powers, and a freer, more effective and accountable Executive. I believe that the reason underlying this wish mist be the secular and accountable state governance culture developed by the Turks since the Middle Asia which has been engrained over time. This is why we should see criticisms about Western style democracies in a positive light so that we can provide a unique form of democracy that offers solutions to our beautiful culture.

Just like Western civilisation was influenced by Islamic and Turkish cultures after the collapse of the West Roman Empire, now it is Turkey which is influence by Western civilisation. This fast and challenging interaction speeds up the awakening of our egalitarian and humanitarian culture that is based on the supremacy of law. This awakening, if not managed well, may cause antagonistic factionalism in the internal dynamics of Turkish society and this it is paramount for Turkey to transform this awakening into a path of unique and empowering democracy.

People want not only higher levels of welfare by producing more and better lifestyles, but they also want to attain a level of civilization that is competitive in the international arena. This can still be achieved by embracing our vast culture and deep-rooted values.

Democracy is a path to the realisation of their dreams, in that Turkish people will be governed better and more effectively. Moreover, they will not be affected by coalitions but instead there will be proactive and speedy government that is still transparent and accountable.

The resolution, no. A/RES/59/201, adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations, and ratified by Turkey together with 172 other countries of the world, lists and identifies the essential elements of democracy as follows: (i) The separation and balance of powers; and (ii) The independence of the judiciary; and (iii) A pluralistic system; and (iv) Respect for the rule and supremacy of law; and (v) Transparency and accountability; and (vi) Free, independent and pluralistic media; and (vii) Democracy and respect for human rights and political rights.

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