Turkey: Let's close the chapter of coups

The government should have a well-developed plan for dealing with the country's major issues.
Turkey's overcentralised administrative system creates an incentive for groups first to increase their presence within the state apparatus and then to dominate it, writes Dalay [EPA] by Galip Dalay. Galip Dalay is senior associate fellow on Turkey and Kurdish Affairs at Al Jazeera Center for Studies.

Since the failed coup attempt, Turkey has been struggling to deal with the aftershock, grieving for the loss of more than 250 lives and caring for more than 2,000 who have been injured.

The country, however, has emerged more cohesive, with shows of unity across almost the entire spectrum of political and social classes.

Political classes of all stripes have rejected the coup attempt by the rogue Gulenist network, which has been designated as a terrorist organisation by Turkey since 2014, and celebrated the nation's sense of ownership of Turkey's democracy, which contributed to the failure of the attempted coup.

All these are encouraging. The nation's sense of ownership and the maturity of the political classes underpin Turkey's democracy.


These are necessary but not sufficient conditions for permanently closing the door on the age of coups, and terminating the shady and illegal activities of rogue elements within the state. More is needed.

Three measures in particular are vital to achieving a coup-free political future for the country and disincentivising any rogue group seeking first to dominate state institutions, and then to abuse the power that it acquires through this domination for its own parochial group agenda.

Structurally, the overcentralised nature of the Turkish state makes it easier for the would-be coup plotters to achieve their goals and for a well-organised rogue element to exercise a disproportionate level of power.

Ideologically, Turkey's overcentralised and ideologically proactive state creates incentives for sociopolitical or religious groups to seek a presence within it and influence it through public institutions and state machinery in order to fulfil their sociopolitical designs for the state and society at large.

Politically - or in terms of political culture - the lack of proper political interaction, dialogue and problem-solving mechanisms between the ruling parties and other opposition groups has paved the way for actors to gain a non-democratic foothold in the political sphere and acquire political power, which they have invariably abused.

Turkey's overcentralised administrative system creates an incentive for groups first to increase their presence within the state apparatus and then to dominate it.

In most indicators of centralisation, Turkey is far above the OECD average. For instance, the central government collects almost 70 percent of total revenues, far more than the OECD average of 58 percent (PDF).

Even more strikingly, 85 percent of public servants work for the central government in Turkey, while only 15 percent work in local government. This is the highest ratio among OECD countries.

Disproportionate power

In an overcentralised system, it is relatively easier for certain groups to wield disproportionate power over the system.

Once you control key positions in some of the key institutions, you can project influence incommensurate with your actual size or support. The case of the Gulenist network and its actions within the state machinery confirm this point.

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Haberi 20 Ağustos 2016, 04:45 tarihinde R. Ercan BİTİKÇİOĞLU eklemiş,  ve 0 yorum yapılmıştır.
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