Turkey’s Proposed Presidential System: An Assessment of Context and Criticisms


Insight Turkey Volume 18 No. 4, 2016

In recent years, Turkey has discussed the issue of its system of government at both intellectual and political levels. Debates over presidential, semi-presidential and parliamentary government systems have continued unabated in Turkey for almost 50 years; however, the future of Turkey’s system of government no longer constitutes a ground for theoretical argument, but, rather, is a political reality shaping the agenda of the country, especially in the wake of the election of the president by the public on August 10, 2014. Consequently, a substantial amount of literature has accumulated about which system of government is better for Turkey, in general, and about the merits or drawbacks of presidential system specifically.

Conversely to the ongoing debates and analyses about the structural properties of various government systems, and their pluses and minuses, this analysis will evaluate the current transformation already under way in Turkey. The actual socio-political process in which the presidential system is discussed, and within which these discussions are framed, provides a logical basis from which to pass judgements on prospective changes to Turkey’s political system. Hence, the following analysis proposes a historical examination of the debates and practices relevant to any such discussion. The analysis also aims to present a clear perspective on the nature of the present ground of debate over the presidential system.

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