Political Parties, Elections and Democracy: A Close-Up on the Political History of Turkey

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Toktaş Ş.

Studia Politicae Universitatis Silesiensis, vol.10, no.3042, pp.83-99, 2013 (Peer-Reviewed Journal)

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 10 Issue: 3042
  • Publication Date: 2013
  • Journal Name: Studia Politicae Universitatis Silesiensis
  • Journal Indexes: British Education Index
  • Page Numbers: pp.83-99
  • Police Academy Affiliated: No


In this paper, the political history of Turkey is presented with a focus on the process of democratization. Usually Turkish political history is categorized into periods marked by the party systems and the constitutions. The classical periodization of Turkish political history is the Single Party Period, the Multi-Party Period and the Post-1980 Period. In light of this classical approach, the article follows a chronological format. The first part covers the Single Party Period through the years 1923-1945. The second part continues with the Multi-Party Period and summarizes the events between 1945-1980. The third part mainly deals with the Post-1980 Period and makes an overview by reflecting on the events that dominate the contemporary situation. The Single Party Period is dominated by the reform programmes taken for Turkey’s advancement to the level of contemporary civilizations – that is the western civilization (i.e.  The abolition of the Caliphate, the adoption of the Republican Constitution, the adoption of the Hat and Clothing Law, the western calendar and timing system, the Civil Law, the women’s right to elect and be elected in general elections and etc.). These reforms known as the Kemalist reforms initiated by the single party at the time – the Republican People’s party - aimed specifically the policies regarding a) nation-building; b) secularization; c) modernization and westernization; d) democratization; and e) state formation. The Multi-Party Period is dominated by the transition to multi-party politics and the entrance of difference parties within the ideological spectrum to Turkish public life. Yet, the consolidation of democracy, in the Turkish context, also brought by the chances taken by the Turkish military to intervene in politics for three times, first in 1960 and then in 1971 and 1980 in response to the political chaos, instability, fragmentation and polarization all of which threatened security. The Post-1980 Period is marked by the adoption of a new constitution – the 1982 Constitution. Furthermore, due to the process of globalization and the rise of the New Right in the 1980s and 1990s, liberalization policies backed the accession process in the European Union were introduced