Debate and the public agenda: Turkish opposition parties and the policymaking process 1983-2015
Reppell, Lisa Jeanne (2015) Debate and the public agenda: Turkish opposition parties and the policymaking process 1983-2015. [Thesis]
In a legislative system such as Turkey’s in which the institutional design favors governance over inclusiveness, what role do opposition parties play in the legislative process? Previous studies have investigated elite and mass attitudes towards political opposition, case studies of individual opposition parties and the institutionalization of the party system, but an empirical exploration of the contribution of opposition parties to the Turkish policymaking process is lacking. Applying a framework engineered by political scientist Frank R. Baumgartner, this thesis quantifies and analyzes general debate in the Turkish Grand National Assembly and the magnitude of media coverage of these debates from 1983 to 2015 in order to gain insight into the tools of political conflict used by opposition parties in the Turkish legislative system. This thesis concludes that when the forces of political conflict are played out against the backdrop of a not fully institutionalized legislative system, subject to a lack of linkages between legislators and outside actors, and operating in a less free media climate, Baumgartner’s framework reveals an inconsistent picture and the patterns of conflict that are revealed in the Turkish case reflect a larger struggle in finding a balance between stability and democracy.
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