An evalution of the recent debates on restructuring of the Turkish government: federalism and unitary state arguments
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Political decentralization in a unitary state means devolution of the center's power to localities and/or periphery. Since such decentralization involves promotion of alternative power bases, it goes against the nature of the unitary state. Therefore, in a unitary state, where the authority is distributed from the center, the center should have confidence to whom it is decentralizing. Such trust/ confidence is, in turn, linked to degree of political integration, as measured by the 'decentralisers' (i.e. the center). In the OttomanTurkish polity, the way of political integration was a 'centralized' one, and it was not conducive to decentralization. Indeed, the centralization of the system began with attempts to forge a nation. The center was suspect of periphery. In such a context, the Turkish political culture lacked local 'government' tradition. The un(der)development of civic community hindered political decentralization. There are, of course, other factors influencing the degree of decentralization, such as the size of the country in question. But, the political culture and the degree of political integration (as a determinant of the degree of confidence) are considered to be the most important in the Turkish case. This is because, other factors are, actually, encouraging for more decentralization. The debates around the issue are part of the broader debates over restructuring Turkish politics. As far as decentralization is concerned, the key question is, whether Turkey completed its integration and/or if the way of integration was/is correct? Opponents and proponents of decentralization are divided over this question(s). Arguments against decentralization seems to be based on the assumption that, decentralization as proposed by the proponents, would lead to a wholesale transformation of the principles of the Republic.