Turkish democratization falters again
Kalaycıoğlu, Ersin (2017) Turkish democratization falters again. In: Scherzberg, Arno and Can, Osman and Doğan, İlyas, (eds.) Regierungssysteme im Lichte von "Checks and Balances". Deutsch-Türkisches Forum für Staatsrechtslehre. LIT Verlag, Germany, pp. 9-46. ISBN 978-3-643-13638-1
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Turkey set on the road to multi-party politics aiming at consolidating democracy exactly seventy years ago in 1945. After many attempts with three constitutions, two and a half coups and several socio-economic and political crises Turkish democratization seems to have run aground once again in the seventieth year of its debut. How come Turkey fails so dismally in consolidating a democratic regime? Turkey as one of the second wave democracies of the world which started on the road to consolidating its democracy in 1945 with other post – authoritarian regimes such as Italy, Japan, and Germany has gone through cycles of democratization and breakdowns of democracy and failed to consolidate its democracy. It seems as if its first attempt at instituting a majoritarian understanding of democracy slid back to one-party party rule broke down, and ended with a military coup in 1960. The second attempt at establishing a pluralist / representative democracy also collapsed under heavy economic crisis and political turmoil which could not be coped with by the coalition governments, whose participating parties failed to accept to share power among them. The late 1970s almost led to the development of a failed state which diminished the support of the masses in pluralist democracy and coalition governments and even democracy by 1980. The coup of 1980 reverted back to a hybrid regime of pluralist - majoritarian mixture of government, which in the 1990s reverted back to cantankerous parties forming coalition governments that failed to be stable. However after 2002 the same regime produced a majoritarian style of representative government that eventually slid back to one-leader one – party rule with little respect for the laws of the land, civil liberties and rights. The driving force behind the loops of democratization, erosion of democracy and re-authoritarianization seems to be elite political culture that leaves little room or tolerance for political opposition, mass tolerance for political corruption and political patronage first, and a proclivity to formulate political laws and rules that promote party rule over coalition politics. Culture of political accommodation seems to be mostly missing, which render coalition governments unwieldy and thus precipitates a mass proclivity for anti-coalition and pro-party governments.Under the circumstances the cost of losing elections become so high that governments tend to do whatever it takes to win the coming elections. It is the political regime of democracy that suffers under the circumstance.
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