Political party elites and the breakdown of democracy: the Turkish case,1973-1980
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This study aims to analyze the behavior of Turkish political party elites during the 1973-1980 period. It is particularly concerned with the extent to which political party elites seemed to have contributed to the breakdown of Turkish democracy in 1980. It starts from the assumption that breakdown of democracies is not determined by structural factors alone, however important they might be. Political actors, particularly those who professed commitment to a democratic regime, have a space for manuevre so as to lessen the unfavourable effects of these structures. It is argued that trials and tribulations of the Turkish democracy can be understood better if they are examined within the broader social-political framework in which it evolved, a framework which has both generated constraints and provided opportunities for political actors. At its simplest, that broader framework can be said to have consisted of the complex encounter and interaction of Ottoman-Turkish strong state tradition and traditional social structure undergoing modernisation process. It is concluded that, although the interaction in question did not create particularly favourable soil for democracy to flourish, it certainly did not mean that democracy was doomed to fail in the 1980. Political party elites did have room for manuevre so as to affect the constraining conditions and to enhance the efficacy, effectiveness and therefore legitimacy of the democratic regime. The principal argument of the thesis is that political party elites, far from taking such a course of action, through their actions and non-actions -particularly their reactions to problem of terrorism and economic crisishave done much to undermine the belief in the democratic system and paved the way to its breakdown in 1980.