chapter  2
44 Pages

Politics in the Turkish Republic

Turkey, unlike many of its counterparts in the developing world, including the Middle East, has been able to make the transition from a single-party regime to a multi-party one at a relatively early stage of its political history. This process has not been easy and marked by periods of crises. However, since its transition to multi-party politics in 1946, despite military interventions, competitive elections and the peaceful transfer of power following national electoral contests have been the principal characteristic of Turkish politics. In scholarly literature, Turkish politics has often been characterised as party politics.1 Frey, commenting in 1965, wrote: ‘Within the power structure of Turkish society, the political party is the main unofficial link between the government and the larger extra-governmental groups of people. . . .’2 Özbudun recently noted that ‘Turkish politics are still by and large party politics. Most people realise that there is no alternative to political parties. . . .’3 Although they have some weaknesses, political parties in Turkey have displayed a relatively high degree of organisational strength, complexity and continuity.4