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Political Parties, the Political System and Turkey

Even though they are not the sole forms of organization in a democratic system, political parties constitute the most effective bodies of people’s will. A large volume of empirical research has been conducted for a concrete clarification of the cyclical relationship between the types of election system, political party system and political system. This paper aims to examine this relationship by focusing on different states, with a special focus on Turkey. It is argued that the more democratic a political system is, the more democratically political parties will have to function, and that the higher the eagerness of political parties to function democratically, the more the democratic capacity of a political system will expand.

Political Parties the Political System and Turkey
President Erdoğan meets with the leaders of the three main political parties, Binali Yıldırım of AK Party, Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu of CHP and Devlet Bahçeli of MHP. AFP PHOTO / KAYHAN ÖZER

Even though they are not the sole forms of organization in a democratic system, as the late French jurist Georges Bourdeau put long ago, political parties constitute the most effective bodies of people’s will. With these features, political parties prioritize the institutions envisioned by the Constitution; and modern democracies without political parties are unthinkable. In this respect, political parties both sustain democracy and owe their existence to democratic systems. For this reason, democratic systems are obligated to provide both a legal and a political ground necessary for political parties to represent people. On the other hand, political parties should not harm this base to which they owe their existence and should not see it as an instrument only to meet the demands of their partisans.

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