Must try harder
ithout a shadow of a doubt, democracy in Turkey has made huge strides since the founding of the republic in 1923. In the 21st century in particular, acknowledgement that the country is not a monolithic Sunni-Turkic entity is increasingly common, bringing with it greater recognition for minority groups. But the process of democratization from the country’s authoritarian roots to the modern day republic has not been uninterrupted, nor does its path continue to run smooth. This issue Turkish Review addresses Turkey’s democratic report card, and finds much room for improvement.
An opinion piece from Assoc. Prof. Oğuz Dilek (Zirve University) questions the maturity of Turkish democracy, discussing what he describes as the “historic opportunity for a more inclusionary form of democracy” that has presented itself in recent years.
A report from researcher Lisa Reppell, meanwhile, looks at Turkey’s track record with the European Court of Human Rights, and what it reveals about the health of Turkey’s justice system -- an indispensible element of the country’s democratic apparatus.
Moving from Turkey to the greater region, an article by Prof. Howard J. Wiarda (University of Georgia, Center for Strategic and International Studies) and Megan Lounsbury (University of Georgia) addresses the possibilities for democracy in MENA, Turkey included.
Remaining in the Middle East, a report from Asst. Prof. Sotiris S. Livas (Ionian University) reviews media coverage of Turkey there, and what it says about the evolution of Turkey’s reputation and status in MENA.
In Departments, Staff Writer Yonca Poyraz Doğan speaks to Joost Lagendijk, columnist at Zaman and Today’s Zaman, and lecturer at Süleyman Şah University, and Prof. Levent Köker of Atılım University’s Law Faculty about Turkey’s democratic credentials. The Last Word features Prof. Dr. Sami Selçuk (Bilkent University), who discusses the relationship between democracy and the rule of law.
And finally, Staff Writer Asst. Prof. İsa Afacan (Turgut Özal University) presents three reports on Turkey’s democratic credentials for Think Tank Tracker: the European Commission’s 2014 Turkey Progress Report; a report from Carnegie Europe (a division of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace); and an article within an edited volume by Istituto Affari Internazionali (IAI).