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Democratic Developments in the Turkish Republic
EU-CONSENT Occasional Paper no.3
by Dr. Deniz Ilgaz Bogazici
University Istanbul, August 2008
Democracy in Turkey Hinges on Secularism and Security

The historic Westernization project in Turkey has recently taken a turn towards the difficult task of consolidating deliberative and participatory democracy under the impact of the urgency of reforms taken up in order to meet membership requirements in the European Union. This process necessitates the elimination of the traditionally authoritarian, nationalist, exclusionary, patriarchal, and assimilationist character of the Turkish state as well as the reaching of a compromise over the interpretation of secularism, which will help to reconcile the different segments of the society. This study aims to make a critical evaluation of the developments in the diverse areas of democratisation in Turkey. With the help of the theory of Social Constructivism, it is claimed that once basic social and political issues are openly discussed with an impact that shakes up all segments of the society, gets even the top level of judiciary involved, and gives a chance of full expression to contending views including voices from the institutions and leaders of the European Union, then the way for the consolidation of democracy can be paved more easily. Then it is no more possible to suppress the demands of individuals or groups for greater democratisation and their urge to come together to voice their concerns through independent civil society organisations.

Contents

Introduction

I. Social Constructivism and the Turkish Case

II. Democratic Steps Taken in Harmonisation Packages

III. From a Variety of Critical Perspectives: 1923 2008 Turkey

III a. Civil Society Action
III b. Adaptability to International Human Rights Norms

IV. In Conclusion: Is Consolidation of Democracy to be Fulfilled?

Notes

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