Turkey has a complex society that has developed over time. The nation has to balance religion with secularism and democracy to remain stable and achieve economic development. Moreover, the statist economy requires liberalization and the factors which will determine its state as either European or Middle Eastern. This essay will analyze the political institutions in Turkey, the key players who influence them, and the elements which shape both including the economic, cultural, and international factors.
Turkey practices democracy in voting for the Grand National Assembly, where representation is determined through popular vote every five years. The President implements the constitution as the head of the state, chairs cabinet meetings, military intervention as the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, signs the legislation into law, and appoints the Supreme Court judges. The Supreme Court protects the secularized constitution, which outlines the frameworks for government and citizens’ rights, and has the power to declare laws unconstitutional. Democracy ensures the free and fair election of members of parliament to form the government.
The Elites shaped the political institutions in Turkey establishing a secular and statist state. However, the nation is now guided by laws and institutions and more checks and balances put in place, with the economy being more liberalized. Before, Turkey had only one political party, the Republican People’s Party, but has evolved into a democratic state, though two groups are dominant. The system was volatile, voters preferred individuals to ideologies, parties changed names, corruption was high, and supporters changed their preference for certain sects. The military is significant in Turkish politics mainly due to its vast size and adherence to the secularization of the nation. The Turkish bureaucracy, which is supposed to be unbiased, efficient, and honest, favors the Kemalist vision, opposes capitalism, and protects its interest by acting as a pressure group. The Elites no longer dominate decision-making in the government though they remain influential.
Actors Who Drive the Political Institutions
Turkey is a democratic civil society characterized by political parties and interest groups, moderate Islamic views, unrestricted press, and free and fair elections. However, concerns for military interventions remain and their effect on politics, and some groups among the residents who resort to violence. The civilians do not participate fully in the political process as they are either restricted by tradition or law or banned. Furthermore, Islamic interests are monitored since there are many religious schools and mosques. They have to register with Religious Affairs Directorate, as well as, obtain sermons from the Supreme Board of Religious Affairs. Minority religious groups are not recognized, such as the Kurds, the Alevi, and others. Workers are allowed to join labor unions, and guest workers participate in the economy through their remittances. Also, there is regular public opinion polling, student activism is present though controlled, and women are not actively involved in politics as part of the tradition, suffer violence, and have established social groups to fight for their rights. The public plays a significant role in the political and economic environment in Turkey.
Cultural, Political and International Factors Affecting Turkish Politics
Culture greatly influences politics in Turkey as traditions still hold a major part of governance. Politics is dominated by men despite secularization and legal equality, though laws of economics have succeeded in enabling women to work. The modernization of the Turkish society by Ataturk was met with opposition and divided the political culture into two extremes; Islamic and Western factions where religious moral values are combined with democracy. Since most Turks are patriotic, secular nationalism has been observed by some, though, for most, it protects the Islamic faith and its past glories. The statist economy has cultural effects with pressure from social groups due to low wages and minimal incentives for innovation and performance. Moreover, Ataturk established a centralized regime that was characterized by patriarchal and military control creating dependence and loyalty by Turks. However, reliance on the government has resulted in tax evasion and frustrated other measures to curb corruption and secularize the state.
The economic situation influences Turkish politics with the voters shifting between parties in the hope of finding a solution to the crises they face. The country has sustained its economy through borrowing funds from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), which is caused by the inefficacy of the state-owned industries, high tariffs, increased welfare costs, and bureaucratic overregulation and overuse of resources. These have led to increased unemployment rates, political tension, and Islamic religious sentiments. Consequently, reforms have been recommended by the IMF and the EU to stabilize the nation. Under the Justice and Development Party, the economy became stable with increased military and welfare spending and low taxes. However, the source of funds used remains questionable even though it is said to come from the workers in Europe, large firms, and rich Gulf Arabs. The prevailing economic condition impacts people’s decisions during elections scouting for change.
The foreign environment surrounding Turkey affects its political and economic structure. Joining the EU is highly desired as it will make it European. Therefore, Turkey has streamlined its political and economic systems to conform to the EU guidelines. However, some factors may affect its membership and deepen the Middle East involvement, including the Iraqi war outcomes, Iran’s development of nuclear weapons, support of the Syrian government, and intervention in Cyprus case on behalf of its citizens.
In Turkey, Islamic morals are fused with democracy to achieve economic growth. Politics play a major role in its desire to join the EU even as it strives to become European. However, the issues regarding human rights, Islamic fundamentalism, bias towards Muslims, the influx of Turks in Europe, the rate of economic liberalization, involvement in Syria, Iraqi, and Cyprus affects the chance to join the EU.