Introduction

Political parties play a vital role for democracies in the world. We can also observe some countries which are not governed by democratic system but also communist system like North Korea and also dictatorial regime for example: Ba’ath Party in Syria. Political parties are elements for the democratic life according to Turkish Constitution which was made in 1982. But there is a difference in these countries. The difference is about party system. Even this difference exists  in some democratic states. Party system also play a significant role for  the stability and integrity of the country and political system and also effectiveness and accountability of power and political participation of several diversity of societies. For instance;  U.S.  have got multiparty system that has got strong two parties, Republican and Democrat Parties. In the time of Soviet Union, there was only one party, communist party because the party system in all communist states like China and Cuba is single party system. Moreover, when we look at Western European states, we see that they have multi party system. Turkey has got multi party system as well.

The goals of this essay is to describe the party system and answer how the type of the party systems is created. I will explore Turkish Party system from the establishment of the republic in 1923 to today.

A. What is party system?

As noted by Andrew Heywood(2013),

“Party system, a relatively stable network of relationships between parties that is structured by their number, size and ideological orientation. Political parties are not only because of the range of functions they carry out (representation, elite recruitment, aggregation of interests and so on), but also because the complex interrelationships between and among parties are crucial in structuring the way political systems work in practise. This network of relationships is called a party system.”[1](Heywood,2013,p. 233).

Party system is significant for the research of political parties  and comparative projects. It gets important fort he number of political parties, a range of vote, the distrubition of parliamentarians, the pattern and stability of government which will be established.

Kirişli(2010) comments that “Duverger highlighted that the political experiences of the countries are important in establishing of party system. Duverger mentions some general factors. These factors are socioeconomic factos that affect the creating of political parties and  ideological and technical factors.” (Kirişli, 2010, p.6-8)[2] Moreover, at this point, Lipset and Rokkan(1967) emphasizes that party systems are occured by the class differentiations and contrast of the Western societies.(Lipset, 1967, p. 50)[3] As pointed out by Kirişli(2010)” Duverger contends that both party system and electoral system are in vis- a- vis relation. According to this factor, two party system can be found by direct election in an one round plurality system. Two round plurality system makes up multi- party system in which soft, dependent and stable political parties exist.”(Kirişli, 2010, p. 7-8)[4] When we look at the electoral systems especially due to constitutional provisions for example vote thresholds, number of parties can be changed.

It is quite difficult to classify party systems in an ideal way even though we have got many classifications. For example, Giovanni Sartori says that plural party systems can be explained by number  of polars. As classified by Sartori(2005)  ;

  1. one party
  2. hegemonic party
  3. predominant party
  4. two- party
  5. limited pluralism
  6. extreme pluralism
  7. Atomised”[5](Sartori,2005,p. 110)

Nevertheless, contemporary politics uses the numbers of parties competing for power in order to define party systems. According to the literature of politics, party systems consist of one- party system, two- party system, dominant- party system and multiparty system.

B. Types of Party Systems

1. One- Party Systems

One- party system is a type of party system in which only one party governs  state according to constitution or one party is more effective than others. One- party system can come out in different ways. Accroding to socialist regimes , there is only one party that is ‘vanguard’. For example, in Cuba and China, there is only communist party that can form goverment. Moreover, after being elected as a ruling party in democratic election,  the party that has got fascist ideology can create one party system as we see in Germany and Italy. Furthermore, during the anti- colonial process, African countries like Zimbabwe, Tanzania and Ghana have experience of one party that aimed at building nation state and developing economy. When we look at non competitive system, only one party is in power. In return, some countries have competitive system in which there are parties more than one. But, there is only one party can be able to come to power because of its majority in the parliament after every elections. We can consider that this kind of system  is dominant one-party system. Basicly we can add this system into the one- party system. Moreover there is also hegemonic party with the satellite parties. Hegemonic party always rule the country even if some parties exist. However, these parties are not opposition parties, they are satellite parties and close to the ruling party.[6]

2. Two- Party System

As pointed out by Heywood(2013),

“A two- party system is duopolistic in that it is dominated by two ‘ major’ parties that have a roughly equal prospect of winning government power. In its classical form, a two- party system can be identified by three criteria:

  • Although a number of ‘minor’ parties may exist, only two parties enjoy sufficient electoral and legislative strenght to have a realistic prospect of winning government power.
  • The larger party is able to rule alone( usually on the basis of a legislative maority); the other provides the opposition.
  • Power alternates between these parties, both are ‘ electable’, the opposition serving as a ‘governmet in the wings’. “[7](Heywood,2015,p. 235-236)

When we look at the exaples, the UK, New Zeland, Australia and the USA have got two- party system. So as to have stable regime, two parties should be moderate to regime and also responsible.

3. Dominant- Party System

Dominant party system is a type of party sytem where the one party can dominate a country after winning competitive, free and fair elections. There is a number of parties competing for power as well. Dominant party systems are seen as a key of stable economy. But also when we observe the states where dominant parties are in power, there are lots of corruption, abuse of power. The opposition parties are not strong enough as well. When we look at the examples, Japanese party, the liberal democrat party (LDP) is the good one for dominant party systems. The congress party also is a dominant party in India. The African National Congress(ANC) has been in power since 1993. [8]

4. Multiparty Systems

Multiparty systems consist of more than two parties. Multiparty system reduce the government which is formed by one- party  despite of two- party systems  and  bring the likelihood of coalition goverments. Sartori points out that there is two type of multiparty systems. One of them is moderate pluralism, second one is polarised pluralism. When we examine moderate pluralism approach in multiparty sytem,  ideological differences are not deep and opponent to regime. Parties have got common features to solve the problems of the regime. For instance, German Federal Republic, Belgium, Ireland, Sweden, Iceland, Denmark, Switzerland, the Netherlands are viable for moderate pluralism. Polarised pluralism means that no party can get along with each other over the problems of the country. Coalitions that are constituted by the centre parties and polarised parties work short time and they cannot pursue long term policies. Especially, there are both anti system parties and also centre parties in this party system.

C. Party Systems in Turkey

1. One- Party Period from 1923 to 1945.

Republic of Turkey was established in November 29,1923 by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the father of the Turks. With his ideology Kemalism, He founded Republican People’s Party in Turkish ‘Cumhuriyet Halk Partisi(CHP)’ which is the founding party of modern Turkey and has 6 main principles; 1. Republicanism 2. Laicism 3. Popularism 4. Nationalism 5. Statism 6. Reformism. [9]  After the First World War and War of Independence, Ottoman Empire was collapsed and Turkey was founded. Newly founded republic did not have the main principles of democracy that could create multiparty system, civil society organisations, middle class and so on. Therefore, Ataturk administration aimed at developing country in a Western style and modern way by top- down reform process during the single- party perion. Although  Ataturk tried to bring multiparty system  to Turkey twice, that are the Progressive Republican Party and the Liberal Republican Party, it remained unsuccessful. Because anti- new regime opponent groups had started to join these parties. During the single- party period, the RPP become the single party  state. The governers, the mayors were the members of the RPP.

2. Two- Party System From 1945 to 1960 Military Coup D’état

There is a pricnciple that external factors and internals factor affect each other. During the second world war, turkey tried to not to go to the war. President Ismet Inonu was pusueing neutral foreign policy. Because Turkey was weak on armed forces, economy. Moreover, Soviet Union threated the Istanbul Strait. On Turkish Foreign Policy, Soviet Union was like a sword of Damocles during the Cold war. After the second world war, Turkey accepted to join the West Block, becoming a member of UN and NATO. Moreover, Turkey got fund by Truman Doctrine and Marshall Plan. But in order to be  in the West Block and get these  funds, Turkey should have had a democratic sphere. Furthermore, in domestic area, new Turkish bourgeoisie become strong enough.[10] As a conclusion, the Democrat Party in Turkish ‘Demokrat Parti(DP)’ was founded by members of the RPP( Celal Bayar who was 3rd President of Turkey after Inonu, Adnan Menderes who was the president of the DP). Turkey went into th multiparty system after the emergence of the DP. Two party joined in 1946 and 1950 election After 1950 election, the Democrat Party came to power peacefully. Until the Turkish Coup d’etat in 1960, the emergence of two party system occured in Turkey. In 1954 general election was won by the DP again overwhelmingly. As pointed out by Ozbudun(2013), “  Turkey presents  an interesting  case for the comparative study of political parties. It is a “second wave” democracy, where multiparty competitive politics has been going on since the mid-1940s, preceded by an authoritarian, single-party system between 1925 and 1946. 2 Since 1946, the Turkish party system has displayed many forms and characteristics. The period between the transition to multiparty politics and the military intervention of 1960 was a textbook example of a two-party system.”(Ozbudun, 2013, p.1)[11]Coup d’etat happened in Turkey in 1960 by National Union Committee owing to the DP’ suppression to regime, financial hardship and bad economic contidions.

3. Multiparty System in Turkey

In aftermath of coup d’etat, democratic process was started again by new constitution untill coup d’etat in 1980, September 12. During this period, Multiparty system came out in Turkey. There were various polarised political parties. For example, the Nationalist Movement Party was pro Turkish nationalist party. Workers party of Turkey  was a socialist party. The RPP introduced itself as social democrat, central left party by the new party president Bulent Ecevit After Inonu. The newly founded Justice Party was a liberal conservative party. The Welfare party was a  Islamist political party. Single party rule did not happen in this period. Turkey was being governed by coalition governments.  As noted by Erbudun(2013), “The retransition to democracy in 1961, after a relatively short period of military rule, led to a fragmentation of the party system, or the proliferation of political parties. Thus, the period between 1961 and the military coup of 1980 can be characterized as a multiparty system displaying certain features of an “extreme” or “polarized” system as described by Giovanni Sartori. (Ozbudun, 2013,p.1)[12] b the coup d’etat in 1980, the democratic life was closed down and all political parties including Ataturk’s party the RPP was closed. Many prominent politicians were banned from politics. by the 1983 general elections, democratic process was started. The Moderland party(in Turkish Anavatan Partisi) came to power. Moreover, In 1987 the referendum was held due to the removal of political banned politicians. Turkish people abandoned the ban. After that, the 1987 general election was held. Motherland party came to power again. But the opposition had become stronger than it was. As highlighted by Erbudun(2013), “With the semicompetitive elections of 1983 (see Chapter 3), which ended the three-year period (1980‒1983) of military government of the National Security Council (NSC) regime, the Motherland Party (ANAP) was able to win the absolute majority of the National Assembly seats and to form a single-party government in two consecutive elections (1983 and 1987). Thus, the number of parties represented in parliament declined, partly due to the effects The Party System and Social Cleavages in Turkey of the 10 percent national electoral threshold introduced by the military regime. However, with the erosion of the ANAP’s popular support starting from the 1991 elections, another period of extreme multipartyism emerged. This period also witnessed the rise of the Islamist-inspired Welfare Party (RP), which contributed to increased polarization in the party system. The end result of this polarization was the so-called postmodern coup of 28 February 1997, which forced the RP-led coalition government to resign, and the eventual banning of the RP by the Constitutional Court.”(Erbudun, 2013, p.1)[13]

4. The emergence of Dominant Party System in Turkey

The 2002 general election changed Turkey. The Justice and Development Party ( Adalet ve Kalkınma Partisi -AK party) won this election as well as  the  2007 and 2011 elections  was won by AK Party. There are some thoughts about dominant party system in Turkey. Let’s  look at them. As pointed out by Çarkoğlu(2011), “Since 2002, the Turkish electoral environment and the party system have been undergoing a significant transformation. The Justice and Development Party (Adalet ve Kalkınma Partisi, AKP) has continued to increase its electoral support for a third time in a row. The declining volatility and fractionalization in the election results together with the expanding geographical base of AKP electoral support may be taken as signs of the emergence of a dominant party system in Turkey.”(Çarkoğlu, 2011, p.43)[14] Erbudun(2013) commented that “The 2002 parliamentary elections opened up a new page in the history of the Turkish party system. The Justice and Development Party (AKP; one of the successor parties to the RP) won an absolute majority of seats in parliament and formed a single-party government, the first since 1991. The AKP repeated this success in the 2007 and 2011 parliamentary elections, each time increasing its percentage of votes. Thus, at the moment, the AKP appears to be the predominant party, once again marking a transformation of the party system.”(Erbudun, 2013,p.2)[15]

Conclusion

As a result, we exxamined the types of party systems and we looked at the experince of the party systems in Turkey. Since 1923, Turkey has tried to be modern, democratic country even though the emergence of coup d’etat intervened the democratic life directly twice. After the establishment of Turkey, one party system emerged in Turkey until 1945. After WWII, both internal and external dynamics forced to change the organisation of single party state. The Democrat Party was founded and won the 1950 election. Until 1960 coup d’etat, two party system formed the Turkish politics. Between 1961 adn 1980, Turkey had got multiparty system. There wrere polarised various parties competing for power from left and right wing. In the aftermath of 1980 coup d’etat, by the 1983 election until the 2002 general election, Turkey remained multiparty system. By the 2002 elections, in the multiparty system, AK party changed the Turkish politics. Dominant party sytem emerged by winning three elections. Between 2002 and 2015, Turkey has had the experience of  dominant party system.

 

By Tugay KARADEMIR

 

References

– Heywood, Andrew(2013), Politics, Fourth Edition, New York : Palgrave Macmillan

– Seymour Martin, Lipset(1967), Lippset and Rokan, Party Sytems and Voter Alignments,  Toronto: The Free Press, , [Online] Available From, http://www.u.arizona.edu/~mishler/LipsetRokkan.pdf , [Accessed:06/10/2015]

– Sartori, Giovanni(2005), Parties and Party Systems: A Framework for Analyses,  Colchester: ECPR Press [online] Available From https://books.google.pl/books?id=ywr0CcGDNHwC&printsec=frontcover#v=onepage&q&f=false , [Accessed: 06/02/2015]

– Yanık, Murat(2003), Parti Sistemleri ve Türkiye Uygulamaları, AÜEHFD, C.IIV, p. 273-282,(June-2003), p.273-274.[online] Available From: http://www.erzincan.edu.tr/birim/HukukDergi/makale/2003_VII_13.pdf , [Accessed: 06/01/2015]

– CHP Tarihi, [online] Available From, http://www.chp.org.tr/CHP/0/CHPTarihi-85.aspx , [Accessed: 06/14/2015]

– Ozden, Kemal and Yilmaz Ihsan(2010), An Attempt at Pseudo-Democracy and Tactical Liberalization in Turkey: An Analysis of Ismet Inönü’s Decision to Transition to a Multi-Party Political System, European Journal of Economic and Political Studies. (2).   p. 189-205.  [Online] Available From http://ejeps.fatih.edu.tr/docs/articles/101.pdf , [Accessed: 06/02/2015]

– Ozbudun, Ergun(2013),  Party Politics and Social Cleaveges in Turkey, Colorado: Lynne Rienner Publishers, [Online] Available From:  https://www.rienner.com/uploads/513663b2a80d1.pdf , [Accessed: 06/06/2015]

– Çarkoğlu, Ali(2011), Turkey’s 2011 General Elections: Towards a Dominant Party System? Insight Turkey Vol. 13 / No. 3 / 2011, Ankara,  pp. 43-62 [online] Available From: http://file.insightturkey.com/Files/Pdf/20120903122353_insight-turkey_volume_11_number_3_-ali_carkoglu_towards-a-dominant.pdf , [Accessed:06/15/2015]

– Kirişli, Hakan Mehmet(2010), Türk Parti Sisteminde1980 Sonrası Kutuplaşma ve Dinamikleri( in English: POLARIZATION IN TURKISH PARTY SYSTEM AFTER 1980 and ITS DYNAMICS), Suleyman Demirel University, Department of Public Administration Ph.D., 267 pages [online] Available From: http://eprints.sdu.edu.tr/700/1/TS00776.pdf , [Accessed: 06/01/2015]

 

[1] Heywood, Andrew(2013), Politics, Fourth Edition, New York : Palgrave Macmillan

[2] Kirişli, Hakan Mehmet(2010), Türk Parti Sisteminde1980 Sonrası Kutuplaşma ve Dinamikleri( in English: POLARIZATION IN TURKISH PARTY SYSTEM AFTER 1980 and ITS DYNAMICS), Suleyman Demirel University, Department of Public Administration Ph.D., 267 pages,[online] Available From ( Translated by Tugay Karademir] http://eprints.sdu.edu.tr/700/1/TS00776.pdf [Accessed: 06/01/2015]

[3] Seymour Martin, Lipset(1967), Lippset and Rokan, Party Sytems and Voter Alignments,  Toronto: The Free Press, , [Online] Available From, http://www.u.arizona.edu/~mishler/LipsetRokkan.pdf , [Accessed:06/10/2015]

[4] Kirişli(2010).

[5] Sartori, Giovanni(2005), Parties and Party Systems: A Framework for Analyses,  Colchester: ECPR Press [online] Available From https://books.google.pl/books?id=ywr0CcGDNHwC&printsec=frontcover#v=onepage&q&f=false , [Accessed: 06/02/2015]

[6] Yanık, Murat(2003), Parti Sistemleri ve Türkiye Uygulamaları, AÜEHFD, C.IIV, p. 273-282,(June-2003), p.273-274.[online] Available From: http://www.erzincan.edu.tr/birim/HukukDergi/makale/2003_VII_13.pdf , [Accessed: 06/01/2015]

[7] Heywood(2013).p. 235-236.

[8] Heywood(2013), p. 237.239.

[9] CHP Tarihi, [online] Available From, http://www.chp.org.tr/CHP/0/CHPTarihi-85.aspx , [Accessed: 06/14/2015]

[10] Ozden, Kemal and Yilmaz Ihsan(2010), An Attempt at Pseudo-Democracy and Tactical Liberalization in Turkey: An Analysis of Ismet Inönü’s Decision to Transition to a Multi-Party Political System, European Journal of Economic and Political Studies. (2).   p. 189-205.  [Online] Available From http://ejeps.fatih.edu.tr/docs/articles/101.pdf , [Accessed: 06/02/2015]

[11] Ozbudun, Ergun(2013),  Party Politics and Social Cleaveges in Turkey, Colorado: Lynne Rienner Publishers, [Online] Available From:  https://www.rienner.com/uploads/513663b2a80d1.pdf , [Accessed: 06/06/2015]

[12] Ozbudun(2013).

[13] Erbudun(2013)

[14] Çarkoğlu, Ali(2011), Turkey’s 2011 General Elections: Towards a Dominant Party System? Insight Turkey Vol. 13 / No. 3 / 2011, Ankara,  pp. 43-62 [online] Available From: http://file.insightturkey.com/Files/Pdf/20120903122353_insight-turkey_volume_11_number_3_-ali_carkoglu_towards-a-dominant.pdf , [Accessed:06/15/2015]

[15] Erbudun(2013)

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