The military in Turkey staged a coup d?état on Sept. 12, 1980, held power for nearly three years and adopted a highly authoritarian constitution that reinforced the tutelary powers of the military and judiciary over democracy before allowing elections and the reintroduction of multi-party politics.
Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan (front C) attends a meeting with his party officials at his ruling Justice and Development Party headquarters in Ankara July 16, 2010.? Read more » REUTERS/Umit Bektas
A mentality that has not criticized the Sept. 12  military coup regime for the past 30 years, declared a limited constitutional reform package an enemy and prefers a military coup due to its hostility toward the AK Party is an obvious or covert supporter of the Sept. 12 coup.
Forming a rare alliance, the Republican People?s Party (CHP), the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) and the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) have joined forces to campaign against a government-sponsored constitutional reform package which is sure to support Turkey?s democratization efforts once it is approved by the public.
With so many foreigners now paying more attention to Turkey but getting lost in the nonsensical political tug of war between the forces, I decided to write a series of articles in an attempt to explain the basics of the Turkish political system and to show the root causes of the divisions. As part of the series, I first examined the foundation of the state in the last article. Today I would like to examine the society. I do not want to repeat information that can be found on Wikipedia here. Instead, I will try to highlight the points that cause confrontation and turmoil in politics.
Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan addresses the audience as he stands in front of portraits of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, himself and the Turkish flag during a meeting with his party officials at his ruling Justice and Development Party headquarters in Ankara July 16, 2010.? Read more » REUTERS/Umit Bektas
One interesting childhood memory I have is my father?s passion for listening to news. My father, a farmer in a remote corner of the country who never went to school, took me with him when he needed to water our orchards.
An American friend of mine who is interested in learning a lot about Turkey recently asked me a question. The more he learns, the more he gets confused.
Pro-secular Turks hold a national flag with a poster of modern Turkey’s founder Kemal Ataturk as they demonstrate in Ankara, Turkey, Saturday, July 10, 2010, two days after Turkey’s highest court had given the go-ahead for a September referendum on a series of government-backed constitutional reforms. Turkey’s pro-secular opposition vowed to campaign for a ‘no’ vote in a September referendum on constitutional reforms that it fears will increase the Islamic-oriented government’s power over the judiciary.? Read more » (AP Photo/Burhan Ozbilici)
Do you remember the figures Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan mentioned during a meeting of his party?s provincial chairmen last week regarding the accomplishments of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) over its seven-and-a-half-year-long term?
It is now a year at most until Turkey must go to the polls in a general election. Contrary to the fears of those who believe the current AKP government is engineering an era of undemocratic hegemony, there is every likelihood that the next election will see the party?s grip on power weakened, if not broken, by a return to coalition government. If that is what transpires, it will be a valuable demonstration that the country?s democratic levers still function. But it will come at a price. We should not take for granted the benefits that have flowed from the relative stability of Turkey?s government and economy over the past decade.
While the Constitutional Court?s ruling to partially annul a government-sponsored reform package continues to be a subject of heated debates in the country, with many accusing the court of violating its authority by reviewing the case on substance, Turkey will go to the ballot boxes on Sept. 12 for a referendum on the package.
As I am a person who has closely followed the rulings and habits of the Constitutional Court for a long time, I found the court?s decision to not completely annul two key amendments in the reform package strange.
Three years ago, when the Justice and Development Party (AKP) won the July 2007 early elections in a landslide victory and firmly consolidated its hold on power, the country appeared ready for a new and more democratic constitution — one that would finally replace the 1982 document written under military rule.