Turkey has been holding elections since the end of the 19th century; and the country has been enjoying democratic elections since 1950. With a well-established electoral system, both local and general elections in Turkey are held in peace and stability. While there is no debate about the freeness, fairness and transparency of the elections, there are always some discussions about the representation problem such as the real power of politicians, the national threshold for political parties to be able to send their representatives to the parliament and the lack of instruments to overcome political crises.
Turkey’s search for a new system of government dates back to the 1970s. The parliamentary system’s shortcomings such as political turmoil caused by the coalition rule and political crises fueled by the president’s selection by the parliament have been the driving force behind the debate over the governmental system. Furthermore, the fractured nature of political parties and clashes between different ideological and ethnic groups caused political instability which resulted in the military and bureaucratic tutelague. The military overthrew democratically-elected governments four times, suspended democratic system and closed down all democratic institutions. Each military intervention reset the political system, closed political parties, dissolved the parliament and thus prevented the consolidation of a democratic culture in the country.
It was clear that it was impossible to consolidate the democratic structure under the parliamentary system. Therefore, since the 1970s, different political figures have been calling for a reform in the governmental system of Turkey and the adoption of presidentialism in order to solve political, economic and social problems associated with the parliamentary system. Since then, the arguments on the change of the political system may be divided into three phases.