What is a republic? A regime in which the political authority does not belong to a certain dynasty and is possessed and used based on equal citizenship. The first part of this popular definition, namely the aspect of it not belonging to any political authority, is quite clear. However, we cannot say the same about the second part. How can people possess a political authority and utilize it? Are rules and procedures determined and settled for these? While the "yes" answer to the second part will lead us to democracy, the "no" answer, on the other hand, leads to the dictatorship called a republic. Let us take an example: Nasr, who committed a coup against King Farooq, became the state president and declared the country to be a republic. But did Egypt really become a republic? After Nasr, Anwar Sadat took over the power and then Hosni Mubarak. There was no role for people in any of these authority periods. In that case, would it be proper to call Egypt as a republic back in time? What about now? Is Sisi"s Egypt a republic?
Similar questions can be posed for Turkey, too. Was a republic founded in 1923 in this soil? If so, what kind of role were the people given and identified, especially from 1925-1950? Or, did the authority elites, instead of being elected by people, appoint themselves and inject the people with the idea that they were their guardians?
After questioning this, it becomes clear that in 1923 a republic, which is identical or intertwined with democracy, was not founded. Rather, the path for a single party dictatorship was taken.
Anyway, let us leave this out and take what was established in 1923 as the example of a republic. Certainly, what was established was not a democratic republic. In the next 90 years, significant incidents took place and important upheavals occurred in the qualities of the regime. The change began in May 14, 1950. Turkey overthrew the single party dictatorship through the May 14 elections at least formally.
(That"s why the Association for Liberal Thinking celebrates May 14 as the festival of freedom) Speaking in terms of its content, Turkey went into a process that would gradually cleanse the dictatorship. Hence, it is possible and meaningful to regard the date May 14, 1950 as the beginning of the second republic.
Turkey could not obtain a strong and stable democracy in 1950 and in its aftermath. The "active powers" of the old regime engaged in a war with implicit and explicit sides against the new regime and the new authority owners. The coups in 1960 and 1980 were the peak of these wars. Each coup was followed by a constitution prepared by the deep state. In other words, the anti-democratic aspect of the republic was nurtured. It narrowed the field of democratic politics in favor of the politics belonging to the state.
It divided the sovereignty between the elected parliament and the democratic authority, which sourced from the parliament and re-produced itself as a field of bureaucracy and political authority.
The objective of this design was to operate Turkey in a single party regime with the ornate cover of a democratic country. The elected politician had to know that he had a limited area of authority and that the real authority belonged to the republican bureaucracy. If he went over his limits, he would be tutored about his limits. This half-public and half-private political design at the core of the military bureaucracy the big capital, media and universities formed the pillars of the state authority.
This design failed so badly. However, politicians, who possessed the democratic authority, pushed the limits from time to time. Accordingly, a serious rush came forward by Turgut Özal in the 1980s. Özal tried to bring down the state from the head of the people to underneath their feet and he partially succeeded. Therefore, he was never liked by the bureaucratic authority groups. Ironically speaking, he was accused of having an inclination of dictatorship and the desire of being one man by those who claimed the most evil memories and institutions of dictatorships.
Rumors were born saying that he was the richest Prime Minister – state president in the world and that his family achieved a great wealth through illegal means.
When we keep a distance from the daily debates, which pull the wool over our eyes, we find that against the administration of tutelary bureaucracy, a great challenge occurred at the time of AK Party administration.
AK Party administration took many steps towards democratization of the political system. It made mistakes too. It absolutely could do more but despite all this, its achievements cannot be disregarded. AK Party carried the religious conservative who were excluded from the authority in certain degrees and formed the fundamental ground of the society. It mollified the anti-democratic and radical inclinations in the Islamic community. It backspaced military tutelage. It ended monologism in media and pluralized the media in an unprecedented way. It started the process of returning the rights and properties of non-Muslims to themselves. However, the most important was its commencement to the still ongoing resolution-peace process in order to solve the Kurdish question with taking great risks, which turned the whole country into a rotten plane tree. Despite his language style errors and unnecessary harshness, the Prime Minister relatively made fewer mistakes in his executions and he knew how to step back when it was proved to be wrong. Including the last policemen-judiciary coup attempt, he responded to all the attacks through democratic means, with the ballot box and overcame the plots through the votes of citizens.
With the elections in August 10, AK Party made a great step in converting the system. It converted the office of presidency, which was once assigned to the bureaucrats in bureaucrats tutelary system and tutelary minded politicians with unprecedented rights in the parliamentary system, to an office of Presidency the owner of which was made known by via of public elections and saved it from hanging like the sword of Damocles over democracy.
The screams, such as "the republic has been overthrown" of the bureaucratic tutelage mentality representatives" media outlets, witness the accuracy of this implementation and its significance. In fact, if there is anything overthrown, it is not the republic, but the still standing leftovers of the authoritarian-totalitarian tutelary system.
Do you think that Turkey has passed into the third republican period after August 10?