Manual Authoritarian Party Structures and Democratic Political Setting in Turkey

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Out of A little more than one million votes were either invalid or blank. Some analysts have pointed to unexpected shifts in the vote away from the HDP in favor of the MHP, particularly in the southeast, as evidence of possible ballot-rigging.

Pelin Ayan Musil, Ph.D.

In Van, for example, its vote rose from 6, in to 16, in Some analysts have simply pointed to the increased presence of security forces in the southeast. Across the country, an average of 2. But those districts where the pro-Kurdish opposition party had won more than 60 percent of the votes in had an average of 3. More than half of these boxes were in Sanliurfa province, where the ballot-stuffing allegations were at their peak. These issues, however, have not received broad attention; the Turkish media have given them almost no coverage.

The experience of voters in most of the country, after all, was efficient and familiar. The structural changes described above, once implemented, were camouflaged behind the reassuring institutions and practices of the past. In a pinch, probably. But such a step could dramatically undermine his legitimacy and put tremendous strain on his control of these institutions.


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But there is less to this news than meets the eye, and there will be no return to normalcy in Turkish politics for the foreseeable future. All the repressive decrees issued under the state of emergency powers retain their force in law.

The media outlets that have been closed, the NGOs that have been shuttered, the state workers who have been purged, will receive no more redress than before. Hundreds more have been arrested, including civilians, government workers, and a considerable number of police and military personnel. Five years ago, this might have been possible.

The two most obvious pathways for the opposition are deeply unattractive, each in its own way. It is possible that the mere practice of participating in regular elections, even under increasingly unfair and repressive conditions, could have a basic benefit in retaining democratic norms. This pathway has lower risks for opposition parties. By retaining seats in parliament, the opposition parties continue to receive public funding; they would presumably be starved of these funds if they walked out or boycotted elections.

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Continuing to participate in the political system affords them continued control over some municipalities, keeping a small foothold in the system, and providing experience in and the control of revenues from local governance in the hope that these might prove useful in some future democratic opening. The alternative for the opposition is to withdraw from the political game, walk out of parliament, and boycott elections in favor of public rallies calling attention to the degradation of the electoral process.

He can point to their participation in elections, to their presence in parliament and municipal government, and to their vehement, yet ineffective, disdain for him as evidence that his followers represent the true nation that, despite a broad gutting of institutions and civil society, remains a democracy in which he has been elected again and again.

Yet such a strategy would require a unified opposition—and despite some cooperation during the June election, the opposition remains divided.

It also may be too late; this approach would have been best undertaken years ago, perhaps when the AKP first began jailing the HDP leadership. It might have been a reasonable response to the improprieties of the referendum.

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It is far riskier now and far less likely to succeed. Finding a third road will require courage, creativity, and more than a little luck.


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He won In the parliamentary race, the AKP got 42 percent of the vote, a decrease of nearly 7 percent and a loss of 21 seats in an expanded parliament from the vote. The HDP, running outside of the opposition coalition, received In its most recent global rule of law index, the World Justice Project ranks Turkey at out of countries, the lowest of any country in the Eastern Europe and Central Asia region. The second argument, however, demonstrates the deep impact the party has had on the course of Turkish democracy.

The ideology and politics of the Nationalist Action Party of Turkey - Persée

It was a party with a narrow superficial power base and was sustained artificially in the political scene by the objective historical conditions in the crucial decade of s. This second contention implies that the NAP was a conjunctural phenomenon with no hope of long-term success in Turkish political landscape and had therefore to adopt a radical ideological content and strategy of action to come to and stay in power. Furthermore, and more important, what kept it going was not any authentic and pressing needs emanating from the grass-roots of its constituency, but the strategy of the dominant political forces on the centre-right.

The following analysis of these two arguments will be heavily based on the primary sources related to the NAP. From the inception of the Republic in up to the present, the historical course of development of Turkish democracy can roughly be divided into two periods : the authoritarian mono-party period lasting until after the Second World War, and a more democratic multi-party era since then.

Many tenets of Kemalism reach back to the Ottoman past, including the notion of Turkish nationalism.

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