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

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. This commentary proposes a historical examination of the debates and also aims to present a clear perspective on the nature of the present ground of debate over the presidential system.

Turkey s Proposed Presidential System An Assessment of Context and
President Erdoğan delivers his speech in a symposium about the presidential system organized by SETA Foundation, on May 25, 2015. AA PHOTO / KAYHAN ÖZER

Introduction

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.

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