International Spectator

The International Spectator

Volume XXXIV No. 1 (January-March 1999)


Turkey’s Domestic Political Landscape: A Glance at the Past and the Future 1
By William Hale


For those unfamiliar with the story, the first part of this article summarises the main developments in Turkey’s politics since the last general elections, held in December 1995, and the current position of the government with its short-run prospects. The second part tries to broaden the focus, by considering future perspectives in a variety of contexts. These include the future of the party system and possible constitutional changes, the prospects for political Islamism and the political position of the armed forces, the human rights regime and the Kurdish question, and deeper changes affecting political culture, and the relationship between the state and civil society.


Recent developments and prospects

Turkey’s party structure

Probably the most serious political problem currently faced by Turkey is the extreme fragmentation and instability of the party system, which has the predictable result of producing weak and fragile coalition or minority governments. In fact, Turkey seems to fit quite closely into the pattern characterised by Giovanni Sartori as “polarised pluralism”, in which a group of centre parties sits uneasily between two mutually antagonistic oppositions. 2 In the last general elections, held in December 1995, no single party won more than 22 percent of the vote, though the pro-Islamist Welfare Party (Refah) led by Necmettin Erbakan came nearest to this, with 21.4 percent. Neither Refah or any of the four other parties which surmounted the 10 percent threshold necessary to qualify for any seats in the 550-member Grand National Assembly, Turkey’s unicameral parliament, came near to securing an overall majority. Moreover, since the elections, no less than five other minor parties have been established or re-formed by defections from the major parties, so there are currently ten parties with parliamentary representation, plus 18 independents (for details, see the Appendix). Since December 1995 there have been three governments, all of them coalitions and two of them minority governments, with an average life-span of under 11 months, and fairly long periods with no established government, or a temporary caretaker administration. Taking the longer period since May 1993, there have been five governments, lasting an average of just over 12 months each. As a result, governments have drifted on without direction, or badly divided, and unable to implement effective or credible programmes to deal with pressing economic, social, cultural and external challenges.

Solutions for this phenomenon are not easy to establish, let alone implement. Explanations are also complex and uncertain, but can probably be reduced to three main factors. First, the application of a proportional representation system of elections since 1961 has almost certainly increased the tendency towards a multiplication of parties, in spite of the application of a minimum vote threshold since 1983. 3 However, the effects of this can be exaggerated, since it is not certain that changing the electoral system would, by itself, help to overcome the problem (the point is returned to later). Second as Maurice Duverger remarks “multi-partism arises from the mutual independence of sets of antitheses” — that is, for instance, from fault-lines run across separate socio-economic, cultural or ethnic domains. 4 Such divisions can clearly be located in the present Turkish party array, along the classic lines of left versus right, of secularism versus Islamism, 5 and ethnic or quasi-ethnic cleavages between Sunni and Alevi Muslims, 6 or between the ethnically Turkish majority and the Kurdish ethnic minority. Thus, the parties can summarily be classified as those of the centre-right and centre-left, those of the Islamist persuasion as opposed to the majority of predominantly secularist parties (though some of the centre-right parties also have Islamist tinges) and those with important blocs of support from Alevis or Kurds, 7 as opposed to those identified with the Turkish-Sunni majority. In most cases, individual parties can be identified with more than one of these cross-cutting elements: as Ersin Kalaycioglu suggests, the party preferences of individual voters are the result of an "additive combination" of a number of independent variables. 8

Third, the party structure was severely fractured by the actions of the military regime of 1980-83, which dissolved all the pre-1980 parties, establishing new ones in their place. However, in practice it could not prevent the pre-1980 party leaders from establishing successor parties, which then set up in competition with those which the military regime had allowed. Thus, S¨leyman Demirel, who remained officially excluded from the political fray between 1980 and 1987, established the True Path Party (DYP) now led by Tansu Çiller, as a rival to the Motherland Party (Anap). The latter was founded by Turgut Özal with the permission — albeit not the encouragement — of the generals, and is current led by Mesut Yilmaz. Similarly, on the centre-left, the present Republican People’s Party (CHP) under Deniz Baykal is effectively the successor of the party of the same name led before 1980 by B¨lent Ecevit. 9 However, Ecevit — who, like Demirel, was constitutionally excluded from official participation in politics until 1987 — nonetheless established a separate party, known as the Democratic Left Party (DSP) as a rival of the CHP and its predecessor, the former Social Democrat Populist Party (SHP). 10 Thus, the centre-right is divided between two parties similar in their policies, Anap and DYP, just as the centre-left is split between the CHP and DSP. These historical divisions are reinforced by personal rivalries — currently and most notably, between Tansu Çiller and Mesut Yilmaz on the centre-right, and between B¨lent Ecevit and Deniz Baykal on the centre-left. Since each of these parties had built up its own network of patron-client dependencies at the political grass roots, mergers between them would be severely obstructed by locally institutionalised pressures.

All these factors have combined with what appear to be some serious systemic problems in Turkish political culture to produce a highly dysfunctional party system, characterised as “amoral partyism”. 11 Most Turkish political parties are, in effect, limited companies of politicians (in Duverger’s terminology, “cadre parties”) with only a narrow popular base, whose national organisations only become active during elections. The grassroots membership usually has little control over party policies, and power within the party is concentrated in the national leadership — in particular, the party chairman. The party’s main function is to gain access to state resources, which can then be distributed to its clients at the local level. 12 In this system of neo-patrimonialism, the clients are prepared to turn a blind eye to fiscal irregularities or policy U-turns provided they receive the expected benefits. With their normally tight control over the party’s machine, party leaders can switch alignments almost at will, continuing conflicts or forming alliances virtually without reference to supposed ideological gaps between the parties. Accordingly, many voters are likely to feel a high degree of alienation from the political system in general: their party identification is weak, and their party preferences, demonstrated at elections, show a high degree of volatility. 13


Government since 1995

On 12 March 1996, following the indecisive elections of 24 December 1995 and after over two months of fruitless negotiations between the main parties, Mesut Yilmaz formed a centre-right coalition with the True Path Party. 14 However, this fell apart on 12 April, when Refah tabled a motion to set up a Commission of Enquiry to investigate Çiller’s alleged malpractices in awarding privatisation contracts the previous year, during her premiership. Since around half the Anap MPs (including Yilmaz) failed to support her, the vote was carried. Relations between Anap and DYP reached breaking point, leading to the government’s resignation on 5 June. With an evident promise from the Refah leader Necmettin Erbakan to drop the corruption investigation, Çiller then entered into negotiations with Refah. The Refahyol coalition was announced on 27 June 1996, with Erbakan as prime minister, and Çiller as deputy premier and foreign minister. Under the coalition protocol, Çiller was due to take over the premiership after one year. The government carried a vote of confidence on 8 July by 278-265 votes. The (then seven) members of the ultra-nationalist-cum-Islamist Great Unity Party (BBP), a breakaway from Anap, voted in favour of the new government, but 14 of Çiller’s backbenchers stayed away, abstained or voted against. On 16 July, eight of them formally broke away from the DYP to form the Democratic Turkey Party (DTP) under Hüsamettin Cindoruk.

The first defect of the Refahyol government was the weakness of Çiller’s hold over her own party (rather than that of Erbakan over his) and the fact that her entente with Erbakan simply was not credible except part of a cynical trade-off over the corruption charges. Opposition was further heightened by an automobile crash at Susurluk in western Anatolia on 3 November 1996. In the accident, Hüseyin Kocadag, the Head of the Istanbul Police Academy, Abdüllah Çatli, a “Grey Wolf” ultra-nationalist militant and gangster who had been implicated in seven murders in 1978 and convicted on drugs charges in Switzerland, and Çatli’s mistress Gonca Üs, were all killed in the same car. The driver of the car was Sedat Bucak, a DYP MP and Kurdish chieftain heading a large gang of “village guards” (that is pro-government Kurdish militiamen paid for and trained by the armed forces) who was the only occupant to survive the accident. The crash suggested credible links between the security forces, the “Grey Wolves”, organised crime and pro-government Kurdish chiefs, but it has still to be properly explained. By the beginning of November 1998, 25 prosecutions had been launched, covering crimes including murder, gangsterism and narcotics smuggling, in which 75 suspects had been charged and the parliamentary immunities of both Bucak and of Mehmet Agar, the minister of interior in the Refahyol government, had been lifted. However, after two years, only two convictions had been concluded, both of relatively low-ranking police officers. Most of the alleged ringleaders in these crimes were still at large, in some cases abroad. 15

There was also fierce opposition to Erbakan’s Islamist agenda from much of the state structure (the army, judiciary, and the civil service) as well as civil society (business and trades unions, the media, and other pressure groups) . A prominent feature of this was Erbakan’s foreign policy, which was quite at variance with the generally pro-Western line pursued by Tansu Çiller as foreign minister. 16 Domestically, the most contentious question faced by the government by early 1997 was the widely supported proposal to extend compulsory primary education from five to eight years. In principle, the Welfare Party did not oppose extending the period of compulsory education, but insisted on the continuation of the then-existing system, providing for separate Islamic junior high schools (nominally “Schools for Imams and Preachers”). The alternative proposal, supported by the Motherland Party and the centre-left parties, called for the extension of the existing non-clerical state primary schools to cover the first eight years of education, and the gradual amalgamation of all junior high schools with the primary schools. It was this issue which was to prove a fatal cause of conflict for the government.

Public frustration at creeping Islamisation and corruption emerged in early 1997. In February, in the “one minute of darkness” campaign, millions of ordinary citizens turned off their lights at 9.00 pm every evening as a powerful expression of protest, and frequently came out into the streets banging saucepans or joining candlelit processions. This was accompanied by protest marches by women’s groups, Muslims of the Alevi sect, and secularist opinion generally, as well as fierce opposition from both business, the trades unions and the mass media. The conflict between the government and the military came out into the open on 2 February 1997, when the Welfare Party mayor of Sincan, an outer suburb of Ankara, organised Jerusalem Night” celebrations, at which calls for jihad were issued from the platform. In response, on 4 February, the army rolled its tanks down the main street of Sincan during the morning rush hour. At a meeting on 28 February of the National Security Council (NSC), which brings together the armed forces commanders together with the president, prime minister and other ministers, the military chiefs raised the heat by issuing a long list of “recommendations” to the government. They called, among other things, for legal measures to ban fundamentalist propaganda, strict adherence to the secularist provisions of the constitution, implementation of the eight-year education plan according to the secularist proposals, and a limitation of the number of Schools for Imams and Preachers. Erbakan accepted these recommendations, but did very little to implement them. Nonetheless, the military continued to insist on them at subsequent NSC meetings.

It was against this background that the Refahyol government collapsed in June 1997. On 18 June Erbakan resigned, expecting to reconstruct the government by incorporating the Great Unity Party (BBP) and to hand over the premiership to Tansu Çiller. However, President Demirel then passed on the office to Yilmaz, as he was constitutionally entitled to do. This provoked large-scale defections from the DYP to the DTP (as well as independents) reducing the DYP to 95 seats. On 30 June, Yilmaz announced his successor government — a coalition of Anap, Bülent Ecevit’s Democratic Left Party (DSP) and Cindoruk’s DTP, with outside support from the Republican People’s Party, plus some independents. On 12 July 1997, this received a vote of confidence of 281-256 votes. However, the three governing parties lacked an overall majority in parliament, and hence the government was dependent for its survival on the outside support of the CHP, with its 55 seats. Following the dissolution of the Welfare Party by the Constitutional Court in February 1998 (see below) a successor was set up in the shape of the Virtue Party (Fazilet) led by Recai Kutan, which currently has 144 MPs. It is followed in size by the DYP with 99 seats; there are also 13 MPs of minor, mostly ultra-rightist parties and 18 independents.

Following its establishment in June 1997, the Yilmaz government proved more durable than many observers originally expected. To its credit, it succeeded in passing the eight-year compulsory education bill in August 1997, soon after coming into office, and also passed a tax reform bill in July 1998 which, if properly implemented, should succeed in filling at least part of the gap in the state’s finances. In the struggle against the PKK, the Turkish army appears to have re-established control over most of the southeast. The PKK itself is evidently in severe disarray, following its leader Abdullah Öcalan’s flight from Syria to Russia, and thence to Italy, in November 1998, where this has opened up a serious dispute between Turkey and Italy. However, the effectiveness of the government was badly undermined by dissension between Anap and the DSP, mainly on economic policy issues. The fact that there was little effective action to deal with allegedly widespread corruption, and the apparent connection between sections of the security forces and organised crime which was revealed by the Susurluk affair, also undermined public confidence in the government, and the political system generally. In fact, the trail originally unearthed by the Susurluk crash broadened, and did not leave the Yilmaz government unscathed. Admittedly, the most concrete allegation were those levied against the former DYP minister Mehmet Agar, who was accused of sanctioning an international drug-smuggling operation, of providing Abdüllah Çatli, who died in the crash, with false identity papers and a passport, of providing a diplomatic passport to mafia boss Yasar Öz, who was wanted at the time by Interpol, and protecting the murderers of the casino magnate Ömer Lütfü Topal. However, the web also spread to former Anap Minister of State Eyüp Asik, who was forced to resign in September 1998, following the release of taped conversations between himself and another Turkish mafia godfather, Alaatin Çakici, warning him of a plan to arrest him by the state intelligence organisation, MIT.


The short-run outlook: early elections — prospects and implications

In parliament, the Yilmaz government’s most immediate source of weakness was its dependence on the outside support of Baykal, who preferred to keep the prime minister on a short leash rather than give the administration full support by joining it. Under the Constitution, general elections will not be required until December 2000. However, in an attempt to stabilise his relationship with Baykal, Yilmaz met the CHP leader on 5 June 1998. He agreed that, in return for the CHP’s support for an agreed legislative programme for the rest of 1998, early elections would be called in April 1999, to coincide with the local elections which would then be due (the exact date has since been fixed as 18 April). As his part of the bargain, Baykal agreed to support the government on a number of important measures, which were said to include bills to reform the social security system and local government, and a so-called “Struggle against Reactionaryism” (read Islamism) law. The present government would resign at the end of 1998, to be succeeded by a temporary “low profile” government in which neither party leader would play an active part, although they would give it their support. This would stay in office until polling day. Misgivings about this agenda were then expressed by Ecevit and Cindoruk, but on 25 July it was announced that they had agreed to the plan. Accordingly, the proposal was put to parliament on 30 July. Since both the DYP and Fazilet support the idea of early elections (indeed, they favour holding them as early as possible) the motion passed by a majority of 486 to 11, with 44 abstentions or absences.

After this apparently firm decision, doubts about the plan began to surface during the summer. Both Yilmaz and Ecevit were evidently unenthusiastic about the early elections plan, and the prime minister kept up the pressure on Baykal, trying to persuade him to join the coalition and drop his demand for a low profile government, so that a broadly-based administration could carry on into 1999. Already uncertain, the political outlook was thrown back into the melting pot during November 1998. On 10 November a disgraced businessman, Korkmaz Yigit, released a video tape alleging corrupt links between Yilmaz, his Minister of State Günes Taner, and sections of the criminal underworld. These accusations were strongly denied by both Yilmaz and Taner, but they were enough to persuade Baykal to declare that he would support the opposition in a vote of no confidence. When the non-confidence motion was debated in parliament on 25 November, the government was defeated by 314 to 214 votes, as the CHP was predictably supported by Fazilet and the DYP. President Demirel asked Bülent Ecevit to form a new government on 2 December. Meanwhile, prospects for the formation of a temporary administration, to hold office until the April elections, seemed to improve, with an apparent reconciliation between Mesut Yilmaz and Tansu Çiller. This followed a decision by the Parliamentary Commission set up to investigate their alleged financial irregularities to drop the charges against them. The prospect was thus opened up of an Anap-DYP-DSP coalition, which would have a comfortable majority. However, on 7 December, Çiller backed off the idea, saying that she would prefer a "broad-based coalition", evidently including Fazilet. Ecevit was thus forced to abandon his bid on 21 December, leaving President Demirel to hand on the baton to Yalim Erez, formerly a prominent member of the DYP who had resigned from the Refah-DYP coalition, and become an independent after expulsion from the party by Çiller. As the new year began, it seemed likely that Erez might be able to put together an Anap-DSP-CHP coalition. However, Çiller was evidently determined to prevent this, and on 5 January 1999 she announced another dramatic switch of policy, saying that she was now prepared to back a temporary minority government under Ecevit. At the time of writing, the most likely outcome appeared to be a DSP minority government, pending the April elections, with outside support from Anap and DYP. Failing this, the Anap-DSP-DTP government — still officially in office — might carry on until April. 17

Predicting the results of the elections, assuming they are held in April 1999, is very hazardous, since much could change in the intervening period. Mid-term opinion polls in Turkey are notoriously unreliable, and there is a large percentage of “don’t knows”. Recent surveys suggest that Anap and Fazilet could each score around 20-25 percent (with Fazilet currently slightly ahead) leaving DYP, CHP and DSP with around 10-15 percent each. The ultra-rightist Nationalist Action Party (MHP) might just break through the 10 percent barrier, giving it a handful of seats, but other parties, such as Cindoruk’s DTP and the pro-Kurdish People’s Democracy Party (HADEP) would fall well short of this. On these figures, none of the main parties would have an overall majority in parliament. Almost certainly, none of them, with the possible exception of DYP, would be willing to form a coalition with Fazilet, while Fazilet and DYP together would probably be short of an overall majority. Hence, the prospects are that an anti-Fazilet coalition of three or four of the main secularist parties (that is, Anap, DSP, DYP and CHP) will be formed after the elections. The main difference from the recent situation will probably be that, assuming his party surmounts the 10 percent threshold — and there are currently some doubts on this score — then Baykal may well be reluctant to stay in his current “on-off” position for too long, and will be under strong pressure to reward his followers with the fruits of office. Thus, a four-party coalition seems likely, and might be reduced to an Anap-DSP-CHP alliance if these three parties win sufficient seats. Either way, Turkey seems likely to be locked into a system without stable majority governments, in which politicians continue to do unreliable short-term deals with one another, rather than sink their differences on a more permanent basis, or undertake basic structural reforms in the political and economic spheres.


Future perspectives

Party and electoral systems, and constitutional reform

As the first part of this article tried to suggest, the establishment of a more stable and less fragmented party system looks like one of the most important desiderata in Turkish politics. In most Western European democracies, political loyalties can be broadly divided into those of the left or right, with additional parties representing the centre ground, or such diverse currents as environmentalism, racism, reformed communism, or religious or sub-state national identities. On the face of it, it would seem logical for Turkey to adopt at least part of this pattern, through mergers of the two centre-left and three centre-right parties into single parties, or at least cohesive blocs. Even though the serious institutional and personal obstacles to this cannot be ignored, such a development cannot entirely be discounted in the longer run. A political party does not normally accept a merger with another one unless either or both of the parties feel their short- or medium-run future as a separate entity to be weak. On the centre-right, the DTP’s prospects are currently very bleak, and it seems likely that the party will either be wiped out at the next elections or only survive by means of a merger or alliance with Anap. 18 The DYP’s future could also be threatened if the serious charges of corruption and other malfeasance which are levied against Çiller and her husband come back onto the agenda. In this case, Anap might either merge with the anti-Çiller remnants of DYP, or at least take over its electoral base. On the centre-left, prospects are different, since neither DSP or CHP seems likely to wither away in the near future. However, of the two the DSP is probably in the weaker long-run position since it is heavily dependent on Bülent Ecevit’s personality and his role as leader. Ecevit is now 73 years old, and there are rumours that he would prefer to retire some time after 2000: even if he did not, it is unlikely that he could carry on for long after that, leaving the field clear for the re-establishment of the CHP as the single party of the centre-left.

However, such a development would not necessarily overcome the problem of establishing effective and stable governments. Essentially, the Turkish electorate’s ideological allegiances, while very volatile, are currently split four ways, between the centre-right, the centre-left, the pro-Islamists, and a residual category representing mainly the ultra-right and the Kurdish identity. On the current showing, a united party of the centre-right would probably garner about 35 percent of the total vote, a united centre-left party about 25-30 percent, and the Islamists around 20-25 percent, leaving the fourth category of parties with a combined total of around 15 percent. Under the present electoral laws, a party would probably need to win around 38 percent to capture an overall majority in parliament. 19 On these calculations, a combined centre-right party would still fall somewhat short of an overall majority, while a single party of the centre-left would be well behind the target and unable to form a government except as part of an anti-Islamist coalition with the centre-right. More crucially, the Islamists would be left holding the balance of power and might be able to force the formation of another Islamist-cum-centre-right coalition.

Alternatively it is often suggested that if the party leaderships are not willing to negotiate mergers voluntarily, they might be forced to do so by changes in the electoral system. Since the indecisive elections of December 1995, the idea of introducing a French-style double-ballot voting system, with single-member constituencies, has been much discussed in Turkey, as a replacement for the present d’Hont list system, with its multi-member constituencies. Under the new system, all parties would compete in the first ballot and any candidate getting more than 50 percent would be declared elected. If no candidate achieved this (which is far more likely), then the two front runners would fight a run-off in the second round. The secularist centre-right parties, principally Anap, support the proposal, since their hope is that in cases where Fazilet and Anap are the only parties to qualify for the second round, then supporters of other parties would opt for Anap to keep Fazilet out. Fazilet opposes this change for precisely the same reason. Moreover, both the centre-left parties, DSP and CHP, are also unenthusiastic, since they fear that they would be the main victims of “third party squeeze“. Hence, the idea of adopting this system for national elections has been put on hold. Even the more limited proposal that such a system might be introduced for mayoralty elections now seems unlikely to be implemented in time for the local polls in April 1999. 20 Another suggestion is to reduce the current 10 percent minimum vote hurdle — possibly to 5 percent, or through some other modifications. One of the aims of this is to allow HADEP to win at least some seats in the southeast, which would otherwise probably go to Fazilet. However, it would also let in MHP (assuming the latter does not quite make 10 percent) and generally increase the number of parties in parliament — making the job of coalition building even more difficult than it is already.

More broadly, it can also be argued that alterations of the electoral law designed to reduce the fragmentation of the party structure seem to have little effect on the behaviour of politicians. Since the 1995 elections, no less than five new parties have been formed by MPs originally elected for other parties. With one exception (that of the MHP) none of them seem likely to break through the 10 percent threshold. One can only explain this phenomenon by assuming that Turkish politicians are incurable optimists or that the leaders of small parties hope to blackmail the bigger ones into adopting them as candidates at the next elections. Whatever the explanation, the Turkish experience demonstrates the difficulties of “political engineering” or trying to reform the party structure by altering the election laws. An alternative proposal designed to cope with the fragmentation of the party system would be to allow parties to form electoral alliances which might then solidify in parliament. Currently, this is forbidden under the electoral law, but it would only require a simple majority in parliament to alter the rules. In the past, parties have been able to evade the law by officially merging just before elections, and then splitting again soon after. Negotiations between Fazilet, DYP and some other small parties have taken place, but do not seem likely to develop into a full electoral alliance, even assuming the law is altered. Nor do other parties seem prepared to drop their differences.

With a view to reducing the party leaders’ ability to switch sides virtually at will, it is also suggested that Turkish political parties need more internal democracy. To achieve this, it is proposed that party chairmen should be deprived of their current right under the Political Parties Law to dismiss local branches or to designate local parliamentary candidates, irrespective of the primary elections which they are supposed in principle to apply. The present rules which make it extremely hard for the party to dismiss its sitting chairman should also be reformed, it is argued. With more responsible and effective internal structures, it is suggested that party leaders would be forced to adhere to more consistent policies. As in other instances, however, it is hard to see how such reforms can be achieved, since the existing elite is obviously reluctant to give away part of its present power: in effect, the status quo has an impressive ability to secure its own survival.. 21

Another striking — if paradoxical — feature of the Turkish parliament, which increases the instability of the system, is the frequency with which MPs switch parties after their election or resign from a party to become independents. By August 1998, ignoring transfers from the former Refah to Fazilet, no less than 71 deputies, or about 13 percent of the Assembly’s total membership, had changed party at least once — and in may cases several times — since January 1996.. 22 Of these inter-party transfers, 19 were straight switches from the DYP to DTP, which reflected genuine and serious divisions within the party over its attitude to the Refahyol coalition and the leadership of Çiller. However, the vast majority can only be explained by the fact that the party loyalties of many MPs are very weak, and that they are likely to join any party which appears to offer them the best personal benefits, whatever their party affiliation at the time of the election. If they fail to gain patronage rewards, then they simply switch parties in the hope of a better deal. Since the voters also have weak party attachments and readily switch to new parties as old ones fail, the politicians are unlikely to be punished by the local electorate for their lack of party loyalty. 23 Article 84 of the Constitution, which is designed to prevent deputies from switching parties, is clearly quite ineffective. One solution might be to alter Article 84 by requiring any deputy who resigns from the party for which he or she was elected to run for immediate re-election, but this can be criticised as an over-draconian restriction of the MP’s legitimate autonomy. Given the present electoral system, it would also be hard to carry through in cases where a party is dissolved, as in the case of Refah, since by-elections would then have to be held in a large number of multi-member constituencies — tantamount almost to a general election.

More fundamentally, President Demirel and some others have suggested a major constitutional overhaul, moving Turkey from the present parliamentary system of government to a presidential or semi-presidential system, presumably on the models of the United States and France under the Fifth Republic, respectively. According to the first model, the president would be directly elected by the voters (rather than indirectly elected, as at present) for a fixed term, and would be the executive head of the government, rather than a symbolic head of state. He would choose his cabinet independently, regardless of party or whether the members were previously members of the legislature, and would not be dependent on a vote of confidence in parliament. On the second model, the president would again be directly and separately elected, but the prime minister and government would be appointed by him from within the parliament, and would need to maintain majority support in it.

The advantages of relative stability and continuity which such constitutional changes might produce cannot be ignored, but it also has to be said that they would face some formidable obstacles. In the first place, the French-style semi-presidential model would probably not go very far to cure the problems which the Turkish political system currently faces. By being directly elected, the president would have increased moral authority, but his constitutional powers would not be greatly enhanced (unless they were also increased in some other ways — by, for instance, giving him the unilateral power to dissolve parliament, or the right to veto legislation barring a two-thirds overruling vote in the legislature). The prime minister would still be faced with the task of forming a government from a fragmented assembly. If, on the other hand, a US-style presidency were instituted, the president would enjoy more independence, but would still need to cobble together a majority in the legislature to pass the budget and other legislation. In spite of occasional deadlocks, a US president whose party does not enjoy a majority in Congress can usually overcome this problem, but only through a complex and informal process of “log-rolling”, compromise, and individual persuasion. Essentially, the US system works because it is an established part of the political process and culture, which both sides are accustomed to handling. Such conditions are simply not present in Turkey, so adoption of a US-style presidential system might well be a recipe for constant deadlocks between the legislature and executive.

Leaving aside these probable operational problems, the Turkish parliament is most unlikely to voluntarily accept such a major reduction in its power or a corresponding increase in that of the president. Under the current constitutional rules, the Constitution can only be altered by a two-thirds majority in parliament (with a possible referral to referendum by the president) or by a three-fifths majority with a compulsory referendum. A change to a presidential or semi-presidential system is unlikely to be accepted by such a majority in the present or a likely future parliament. As an historical signpost, it is worth noting that in 1924, when the Turkish Republic’s first Constitution was being drawn up, the Assembly refused to grant the president greater powers, even though that office was then occupied by Kemal Atatürk, who enjoyed virtually unchallengable national authority at the time.. 24


Fazilet and the future of political Islamism

Under the verdict of the Constitutional Court, which took effect on 22 February 1998, Refah was officially dissolved, due to statements and actions by Necmettin Erbakan and other prominent members of the party which were held to have contravened articles of the Constitution and other statutes making it illegal to exploit religious beliefs for personal or political gain. Erbakan and five other Refah MPs were expelled from parliament by the Court and forbidden to run for public office or hold positions in any political party for the following five years. 25 Additionally, Erbakan faces a possible gaol sentence for individual infractions of the law, while Tayyip Erdogan, the mayor of Istanbul and the former party’s second most prominent personality, is also confronted with a 10-month sentence. Meanwhile, the Virtue Party has continued under the leadership of Recai Kutan, who is regarded as effectively a proxy of Erbakan. 26 As a party, it could face closure for alleged financial irregularities, though whether these proceedings could be completed before the expected early elections is open to question.

These prosecutions have left Fazilet with an uncertain future and some urgent problems. Of these, the most serious is probably its evident “leadership gap”. With Erbakan and Erdogan both officially removed from the political stage, Recai Kutan lacks the popular appeal which his two former colleagues both commanded. Voters who supported Refah in the 1995 elections may also have been disappointed by its failure to deliver on its promises while it was briefly in office — a particularly important factor for the many Turkish Kurds who voted for Refah — although the party has proved far more successful in local government. More broadly, one has to be careful not to exaggerate the Islamist phenomenon in Turkey. The political Islamists have attracted attention because they break with convention, and are seen as part of a global movement, affecting a wide range of Muslim countries. On the other hand, the fact is that they still only represent a minority of opinion and in Turkey have to compete in the political marketplace with a majority of well-established secularist parties.

The point was made quite dramatically by public events in October 1998. On 11 October, demonstrators demanding the right for female students to wear “Islamic” headscarves in class, who were supported by Fazilet from behind the scenes, formed a human chain around Istanbul which was reportedly supported by around 500,000 people. Two weeks later, however, on 25 October, far larger crowds — reckoned at “millions” — turned out for marches and meetings to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the foundation of the Republic. The significance of the demonstrations was not just ceremonial or a ritual expression of patriotism, since they had a specifically secularist tone. Placards carried by the marchers carried such slogans as “Turkey is secular, and secular it will remain”, or “We are proud, powerful and Kemalist”. The millions of ordinary citizens in the demonstrations were accompanied by army officers and their families, but in many places, local Fazilet mayors and MPs were notable by their absence from the demonstrations. 27 The evidence of 25 October suggests that even though Turks may feel anger and frustration at the failures of the contemporary generation of politicians, Kemalism as a political principle still has a very impressive degree of public support.

This does not mean that Fazilet should be written off, however. It may have been unsuccessful in government, but its secularist rivals have not performed significantly better. The present leadership of Fazilet also seems anxious to avoid the mistakes of the past. On the weekend of 24-25 October, 250 party delegates attended a meeting at Alanya, at which they were reportedly told to “establish good relations with everybody and not to provoke quarrels”, “chat with women and shake their hands”, and “visit other parties and obtain their opinions concerning Fazilet”. 28 Whether the party activists would adhere to this code of conduct remained to be seen, but the leadership was evidently anxious to project a new, “clean” image. At the grass roots, it also appears that Fazilet continues the excellent organisation it inherited from its predecessor Refah. Hence, whatever happens to the leadership or the party organisation at the top, proxy leaders and/or a successor party are likely to remain an important force in Turkish politics. On the other hand, Fazilet does not seem to be near an electoral breakthrough, taking it up to the 35-40 percent threshold. Hence, it will probably not be in a position to form a government on its own after the elections. There is a chance it might be able to do so in coalition with the DYP. However, Çiller’s recent change of heart towards the proposed DSP minority government, besides likely pressure from the president and the military, mean that she will probably find it hard to reconstruct her alliance with the Islamists. 29


The political position of the army

The downfall of the Refahyol government in June 1997 is often characterised as a “soft coup” by the military. Admittedly, the armed forces had played a major role in bringing the government’s collapse to a head, notably through the demands issued by the National Security Council. However, this was only part of the story, since although there were some rather vague and veiled threats of a coup, it was clear throughout the crisis that the army was very reluctant to take this step. As General Cevik Bir, the Deputy Chief of the General Staff put it, “it’s not our job to run the country, neither is it our intention”. 30 As already described, the resignation of Refahyol had also been preceded by an impressive volume of public protests and serious tactical miscalculations by the coalition leaders. It could thus be argued fairly convincingly that Erbakan had been removed from office by perfectly legal and constitutional means, and not primarily as a result of unconstitutional threats or actions by the military. Almost certainly, President Demirel, while careful not to exceed his constitutional powers, played a major role in persuading a critical mass of DYP backbenchers to desert Çiller. In effect, if there was a coup, it was as much one hatched in combination by the armed forces commanders and the president, as a unilateral military intervention. Moreover, the way in which the military chiefs handled the crisis, with frequent press conferences and “briefings”, suggests that they realised the importance of keeping public opinion on their side: without this, they might not have been able to act in the effective way they did.

The possibility of a Fazilet victory in the next elections — even if it is a remote one — raises the question as to whether the armed forces might intervene to overturn the results. In August, President Demirel publicly hinted that if a Fazilet-DYP coalition were formed after the elections then “the state” would act to defend the secular democratic order. 31 The warning is not without force, but it is also likely that the army would be very reluctant to take a leaf out of the Algerian book, for fear that this might produce similar results. More probably, it would probably act behind the scenes, and working with the President, to persuade DYP backbenchers not to support such a coalition, and thus give a secularist government a chance, as it did in June 1997. Short of such a crisis, it is also likely to keep up strong pressure on an Anap-led government to take tougher measures against Islamist activities in educational and other fields, as it is doing at present. In response, Yilmaz is likely to show outward compliance, but actual foot-dragging, since his party has a moderate Islamist component which he does not want to drive into the hands of Fazilet.


Human rights and the Kurdish problem

To judge by most Western European commentary on Turkey, one could be forgiven for imagining that Turkish politics revolved entirely around these two issues. The previous discussion has tried to draw attention to the fact that this is far from the case. Nonetheless, it would be quite wrong to ignore them, since they are of pressing concern to many Turks, as well as overseas observers. On the first score, the present government has secured few advances, and prosecutions for offences which purely relate to oppositional statements, rather than overt support for terrorism, are still regular occurrences. As an example, in early October, the chairman of the Human Rights Association Akin Birdal, who was recovering from a murderous attack by ultra-rightist gangsters, found himself faced with a charge in State Security Courts, allegedly for insulting the armed forces. Most of these prosecutions are brought under the much-criticised Section 8 of the 1991 Law to Fight Terrorism or other articles of the Penal Code. In spite of Turkey’s international commitments under the European Declaration of Human Rights and other international instruments, governments have not acted to end such prosecutions and are not likely to do so unless an effective and stable administration is established which can take some bold and badly needed steps. At the same time, foreign critics have to approach the topic carefully, recognising that stridently anti-Turkish campaigns are likely to be counter-productive and that progress will probably be slow and incremental, rather than sudden and dramatic.

The recent adventures of Abdullah &Ooml;calan, and the apparent scaling down of PKK attacks in the southeast, suggest that the military phase of the Kurdish problem may be gradually ending. The Turkish army’s unwritten alliance with Mas’ud Barzani, the dominant leader in the Kurdish region of northern Iraq, is also strengthening its position against the PKK. This tosses the ball into the politicians’ court, though how they will react is uncertain. Several long-discussed moves, notably the withdrawal of the state of emergency regime in the remaining south-eastern provinces where it is still applied, and the ending of the "village guard" system which has reportedly led to some flagrant abuses, will then become prominent items on the agenda. A serious effort to overcome the economic backwardness of the southeast would also be an important element in new policies. In all this, much will depend on the policies of the pro-Kurdish party, HADEP. Certainly, the leadership of the party seems anxious to distance itself from the PKK, and to claim that it does not seek to undermine the territorial integrity of Turkey. 32 Its main problem is that many of its grassroots- supporters, though far from all, are also supporters of the PKK, so that the leadership has to tread a fine line between avoiding closure by the courts and not alienating part of its support base. 33

How Kurdish voters are likely to behave in the next elections is, as usual, a mystery, as opinion polling in the southeast is very difficult and unreliable. However, some reports suggest that Fazilet is losing ground among the Turkish Kurds, as the previous Refah-led government failed to deliver on its promises to them. If so, then this should redound to the benefit of HADEP, especially if the electoral law is altered. The CHP is also likely to be a beneficiary, since it has relatively liberal policies on the language issue and the withdrawal of the present quasi-military regime in the region (whether it would implement them may be another matter). Anap, DYP and even MHP will probably retain some Kurdish support, through the exploitation of local patronage and tribal networks, plus some outright coercion. In the 1995 elections, Refah did well among Kurds settled in the poorer districts of the industrial cities of the west, which now probably account for about half the Kurdish population. Fazilet may well retain this support, but it is argued that many voters in this section of the electorate do not politically identify themselves as Kurds, so analysis is difficult.


Corruption, political culture and an emergent civil society

As the earlier part of this article tried to suggest, the apparent penetration by parts of the state structure by organised crime and its links with prominent politicians is likely to strike many Turks as an equally serious threat to the democratic regime as Islamist radicalism or PKK terrorism. Public reaction has naturally not been lacking, as there have been constant calls by the media for a “clean society”, and claims that they are also trying to achieve it by party leaders. More concretely, an independent association, the Public Initiative for Enlightenment, which was set up after the Susurluk crash, has called for an Emergency Action Package of new legislation to combat organised crime, including increased prison sentences for mafia leaders, the lifting of the parliamentary immunity of all MPs involved with them, and more independence and resources to be granted to the judiciary. 34 Almost certainly, a post-election government will be under strong pressure to implement such a programme, and will have done democratic government a serious disservice if it fails to do so. Against this, some commentators have doubted whether public opinion will force the elite to uproot gangsterism, on the grounds that this would “damage the state”, which still holds a dominant and autonomous position in Turkish political culture. 35

Whether this situation will change, or is already changing, is the subject of much speculation. On the one hand, most existing accounts of Turkish political culture have suggested a high degree of state dominance. 36 Civil society — that is, independent associations, pressure groups, the media, and the like — are held to be weak and ill-developed. A survey by Piar-Gallup in August 1997 found that only 10 percent of Turks were members of any social, cultural or professional organisation: civil society evidently still has some way to go, if defined in those terms. Nonetheless, experience suggests that although there may still be a cultural attachment to the strong state paradigm, the state has actually grown notably weaker since the 1950s. In the economy, the private sector is now the strongest and most dynamic element. Education, urbanisation, and the mass media have spawned a “modern” network of autonomous structures, so that it is possible that Turkey may be moving towards a liberal system of pressure group politics. Most dramatically, the impressive and often spontaneous role played by the structures of a nascent civil society in protests against the Refahyol government — such as civil rights societies, secularist pressure groups, women’s associations, students, and organisations of both employers and labour — were a striking demonstration of what might turn out to be a more participatory, rather than supposedly representative democracy. 37 Meanwhile, the biggest task is to find a formula for the effective and stable mediation of relations between society and the state, since the political parties which are supposed to play this role are currently failing to perform the function effectively.


William Hale is Reader in Politics with reference to Turkey, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London.





Party Distribution of Seats
Dec.1995 Jul.1996 Aug.1997 Jan.1999
Motherland Party (Anap)
(Mesut Yilmaz) 132 131 139 137
True Path Party (DYP)
(Tansu Çiller) 135 128 92 99
Democratic Turkey Party (DTP)
(Hüsamettin Cindoruk) - - 20 12
Democratic Left Party (DSP)
(Bülent Ecevit) 76 74 67 61
Republican People's Party (CHP)
(Deniz Baykal) 49 49 49 55
Welfare Party (Refah)
(Necmettin Erbakan) 158 158 151 -
Virtue Party (Fazilet)
(Recai Kutan) - - - 144
Others and independents - 10 30 31
Vacant - - 2 11
Total 550 550 550 550




Note 1. This is a revised version of a paper presented to the IAI conference on “US-European Common Approaches to Turkey”, held at Palazzo Rondinini, Rome, on 20-21 November 1998 and funded by the German Marshall Fund of the United States and the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung. Back

Note 2. G. Sartori, Parties and Party Systems: a Framework for Analysis (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1976) vol.1, pp. 173-85. The point is not an original one: it was made for instance, with regard to the late 1970s, when there was a similar process of fragmentation and instability: see E. &Ooml;zbudun, “The Turkish Party System: Institutionalization, Polarization and Fragmentation“, Middle Eastern Studies, vol.17, 1981, pp. 234, 237-8. Back

Note 3. This effect was certainly noticeable after proportional representation was first applied in 1961: see W. Hale, “The Role of the Electoral System in Turkish Politics”, International Journal of Middle East Studies, vol. 11, 1980, pp.404-10, and S. Sayari, “The Turkish Party System in Transition”, Government and Opposition, vol. 13, 1978, pp. 46-7. Back

Note 4. M. Duverger, Political Parties (London: Methuen, 1959) pp. 231-4. Duverger applies his analysis primarily to France under the Fourth Republic, but it also seems quite appropriate in the present Turkish case. Back

Note 5. In a pioneering paper, Serif Mardin characterised the second of these cleavages as one between a “centre” of a state-based secularising élite, and a “periphery” attached to traditional values: S. Mardin, “Center-Periphery Relations: a Key to Turkish Politics?”, in E. D. Akarli and G. Ben-Dor ( eds) Political Participation in Turkey: Historical Background and Present Problems (Istanbul: BogaziÇi University, 1975) pp. 7-32. In the early 1970s, it was suggested that the centre-periphery cleavage was now becoming less important than the classic left-right division, as socio-economic differentiations became more important in determining the attitudes of voters: see E. &Ooml;zbudun and F. Tachau, “Social Change and Electoral Behavior in Turkey: Toward a ‘Critical Realignment’?”, International Journal of Middle East Studies, vol. 6, 1975, pp. 473-9. However, more recent research suggests that the centre-periphery division, translated essentially into one between secularist modernism and Islamism, is still the dominant influence, and that socio-economic status does not seem to be connected with party preferences: see E. Kalaycioglu, “Elections and Party Preferences in Turkey: Changes and Continuities in the 1990s”, Comparative Political Studies, vol. 27, 1994, pp. 420-22. Back

Note 6. Alevi-ism can effectively be treated as a Turkish mystical version of Shi’ism, although it differs from the classic “twelver” Shi’ism of, for instance, Iran, in important theological and political respects. Although no reliable data are available, it is said to command the loyalties of around 20 percent of the population. Unfortunately there is little literature in English on the Turkish Alevis, but see D. Shankland, “Diverse Paths of Change: Alevis and Sunni in Rural Anatolia’, in P. Stirling ( ed.) Culture and Economy: Changes in Turkish Villages (Huntingdon: Eothen Press, 1993) pp. 46-64. Back

Note 7. Both the nominally centre-left parties — that is, the Republican People’s Party (CHP) and the Democratic Left Party (DSP) - are apparently supported by Alevis, although neither party issues an open or specifically pro-Alevi appeal. The only overtly and legal pro-Kurdish party in Turkey, the People’s Democracy Party (HADEP) has no parliamentary representation, but it also has to be said that the Welfare Party also formerly had the support of a large number of Turkish Kurds. These cross-cutting affiliations and identities illustrate the complexity of the model proposed by Duverger. Back

Note 8. Kalaycioglu, “Elections and Party Preferences”, p. 413. Back

Note 9. This must be treated as a summary explanation of an extremely convoluted story. One of the parties allowed by the military to compete in the 1983 elections was the centre-left Populist Party, but this was challenged by the Social Democracy Party, which was excluded. The latter rapidly established itself, however, and the two parties merged in 1985 as the Social Democrat Populist Party (SHP). In 1992 a group of dissidents led by Deniz Baykal broke away from the party to re-establish the Republican People’s Party (CHP) but this re-united with the SHP under the CHP’s banner and Baykal’s leadership in February 1995. Back

Note 10. See previous note. Back

Note 11. E. Kalaycioglu, “Elite Political Culture and Regime Stability: the Case of Turkey”, Journal of Economics and Administrative Sciences, Bogaziçi University, vol. 2, 1988, pp. 149-79. Back

Note 12. Client-patron networks in Turkish still await more detailed empirical examination, but for a useful introductory survey of the topic, see E. &Ooml;zbudun, “Turkey, the Politics of Political Clientelism”, in S. N. Eisenstadt and R. Lemarchand (eds) Political Clientelism, Patronage and Development (Beverly Hills and London: Sage, 1981) pp. 249-68. Earlier studies suggest that the phenomenon is commoner in the rural and less developed parts of Turkey than in the cities, but it is evidently widespread: see A. Kudat, “Patron Client Relations: the State of the Art and Research in Eastern Turkey”, in Akarli and Ben-Dor (eds) Political Participation, pp. 61-88, and A. Günes-Ayata, “Class and Clientelism in the Republican People’s Party”, in A. Finkel and N. Sirman (eds) Turkish State, Turkish Society (London: Routledge, 1990) pp. 159-84. Back

Note 13. E. Kalaycioglu, “The Logic of Contemporary Turkish Politics”, MERIA Journal, September 1997 (published on Internet at A. Çarkoglu, “The Turkish Party System in Transition: Party Performance and Agenda Change”, Political Studies, vol. 46, 1998, pp. 544-53: I. Turan, “The Politics of Fragmentation: Turkey on the Eve of Elections”, seminar for Modern Turkish Studies Programme, School of Oriental and African Studies, London University, 4 December 1998. Back

Note 14. This and the subsequent narrative is based on contemporary Turkish press reports, mainly in the dailies Milliyet and Cumhuriyet. Specific references are given only for other sources, for quotations, economic statistics, or what appear to have been “exclusive” reports. Back

Note 15. For a useful summary of the scandal, as it stood in November 1998, see Milliyet, 3 November 1998. Back

Note 16. For details, see P. Robins, “Turkish Foreign Policy under Erbakan”, Survival, vol. 38, 1997, pp. 82-100. Back

Note 17. Under Article 116 of the constitution, Demirel could himself call early elections if no government with majority support could be formed within 45 days following the vote of no confidence (i.e., 10 January 1999). He would then be obliged to appoint a caretaker government, with representation from all the parties. However, on 26 December 1998, he made it clear that he would not exercise this option, suggesting that the Yilmaz government would stay on in a caretaker capacity if Erez or Ecevit failed: Briefing (Ankara, weekly) 28 December 1998, p. 7. Suggestions of an earlier date for elections have also been made, but a snap election would appear to be ruled out for organisational reasons, according to the chairman of the Supreme Electoral Board, Tufan Algan: (ibid., 19 October 1998, p. 6). Back

Note 18. Such an alliance would also be of benefit to Yilmaz’s party, since although the DTP seems unlikely to score more than 5% at most in a future election, such a margin could still be of crucial value to Anap in putting it ahead of Fazilet. Moreover, DTP’s current members are concentrated in the Aegean region, where Anap has generally been relatively weak, enabling Anap to overcome a fairly significant geographical gap in its support base. Back

Note 19. This calculation has to be a very inexact one since much would depend (a) on how many votes were “wasted” by being given to parties which failed to surmount the 10% threshold, and (b) the size of the gap between the leading party, and the second runner. As Ersin Kalaycioglu remarks, “The current electoral system of Turkey looks like proportional representation, but works as if it were a majority system”. In the 1987 elections, quite exceptionally, Anap (then under Turgut &Ooml;zal) won 64.9% of the seats with 36.3% of the votes — a votes-to-seats ratio of almost 1:1.8. However, in subsequent elections this ratio has been reduced substantially - partly by changes in the electoral system, and partly because more parties have succeeded in overcoming the 10% threshold and their shares have been closer to one another. Thus, in 1995, the votes-to-seats ratio enjoyed by Refah, which was the leading party by a small margin, was 1:1.34. If repeated, this would mean that a party would need about 38% of the vote to win a bare overall majority. E. Kalaycioglu, “Constitutional Viability and Political Institutions in Turkish Democracy”, in A. I. Baaklini and H. Desfosses ( eds) Designs for Democratic Stability (New York and London: Armonk, 1997) pp. 190-91. Back

Note 20. Milliyet, 7 January 1999. Back

Note 21. Turan, “Politics of Fragmentation”.Back

Note 22. Data from Briefing, 10 August 1998, p. 5. The record was held by Kubilay Uygun, who had transferred no less than seven times. Back

Note 23. Çarkoglu, “Turkish Party System”, p. 553. Back

Note 24. These included the proposal that the president should be elected for a seven year term, and that he should have the unilateral right to dissolve the Assembly and veto legislation, barring a two-thirds overruling majority: see S. Kili, Turkish Constitutional Developments and Assembly Debates on the Constitutions of 1924 and 1961 (Istanbul: Robert College Research Center, 1971) pp. 41-7. Back

Note 25. For details, see Briefing, 2 March 1998, pp. 6-7. Back

Note 26. On 28 October 1998, the Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office announced that it would also be applying for the lifting of Recai Kutan’s parliamentary immunity, so as to allow his prosecution for allegedly making defamatory remarks about the Alevi minority: Reuters, 28 October 1998. Back

Note 27. See reports in Milliyet, 26 October 1998. Back

Note 28. Briefing, 26 October 1998, p.5. Back

Note 29. For other information on the historical evolution and recent position of political Islamism in Turkey, see, in particular, B. Toprak, Islam and Political Development in Turkey (Leiden: Brill, 1981); S. Ayata, “Patronage, Party and State: the Politicization of Islam in Turkey”, Middle East Journal, vol. 50, 1996: M. Heper, “Islam and Democracy in Turkey”, Middle East Journal, vol. 51, 1997 and E. Karmon, “Radical Islamic Political Groups in Turkey”, MERIA Journal, vol. 1, no. 4, January 1998 (see note 13). Back

Note 30. Quoted, Briefing, 14 April 1997, p. 8. Back

Note 31. Ibid., 17 August 1998, p. 6. Back

Note 32. See for instance, the speech of the party’s chairman, Murat Bozlak, at HADEP’s third national convention on 1 November 1998, as reported in Milliyet on the following day. Back

Note 33. H. J. Barkey, “The People’s Democracy Party (HADEP): the Travails of a Legal Kurdish Party in Turkey”, Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs, vol. 18, 1998, pp.135-6. There is now a substantial literature in English on Turkey’s Kurdish problem: see, in particular, K. Kirisci and G. Winrow, The Kurdish Question and Turkey: an Example of Trans-state Ethnic Conflict (London: Cass, 1997): M. M. Gunter, The Kurds and the Future of Turkey (London: Macmillan, 1997) and H. J. Barkey and G. E. Fuller, Turkey’s Kurdish Question (Lanham, Md.: Rowman and Littlefield, for Carnegie Commission for Preventing Deadly Conflict, 1998). Back

Note 34. Briefing, 12 October 1998, p.9. Back

Note 35. See Kemal Kirisci, speaking in “Roundtable: Kemal Kirisci and Bülent Aras, Four Questions on Recent Turkish Politics and Foreign Policy”, MERIA Journal, vol. 2, no.1, March 1998 (see note 13). Back

Note 36. See M. Heper, The State Tradition in Turkey (Walkington: Eothen Press, 1985): E. &Ooml;zbudun, “State Elites and Democratic Political Culture in Turkey”, in L. Diamond ( ed.) Political Culture and Democracy in Developing Countries (Boulder, Col.: Lynne Rienner, 1993). For possible alternative approaches, see N. G&ooml;le,”‘Towards an Autonomization of Politics and Civil Society in Turkey”, in M. Heper and A. Evin (eds) Politics in the Third Turkish Republic (Boulder: Westview, 1994). Back

Note 37. This point has been developed by, for instance, E. Fuat Keyman as part of a “radical democracy project”: see his paper “Globallesme ve Türkiye: Radikal Demokrasi Olasiigi‘, in E. Fuat Keyman and A.Yasar Saribay (eds) Küresellesme, Sivil Toplum ve Islam: Türkiye Üzerine Yansimalar (Ankara, Vadi Yayinlari, 1997). Back