Civil Society Perspective in the Development of Democratic Culture: The Case of TÜSİADAysun Dukul
Democratic practices can develop by reproducing themselves in societies with an immanent culture of democracy. The rate of electoral thresholds, which is seen as an important criterion in the democratic performance of countries, affects the culture of democracy, with its effects on political representation and participation. Non-governmental institutions and organizations are indispensable elements of democracies. In this study, the role of non-governmental institutions and organizations in realizing the elements of political representation and political participation in Turkey will be examined in terms of TÜSİAD, based on the media representation of election thresholds. TÜSİAD, a non-governmental organization, was selected for this research because nearly half of the non-governmental news about election thresholds in all newspapers comes from the organization. Other factors in the selection of TÜSİAD for this research were its political and legal studies and recommendations, including the election threshold, and its ability to create public opinion by having its proposals discussed by all social and political actors. This research aims to shed light on the representation of election thresholds in the media (in the field of civil society) using the important and original approach of analyzing TÜSİAD's press releases. Within the scope of the research, four national newspapers with different publication policies were selected in order to base the representation of civil society in the media on the findings reflecting the current situation. Attention has been paid to the fact that the newspapers, which are considered the media representation of civil society, have been published since 1983, when the election threshold came into effect. The data obtained through the election threshold theme in the research were digitized using the SPSS-based R Studio program infrastructure, which is a new qualitative data analysis program. The aim was to reach a conclusion about how much the need of democratic culture is met in Turkey by examining the content produced by TÜSİAD on media visibility and election thresholds. In addition, by analyzing media representation, the aim was to understand and make sense of the reflections of the quality and structure of Turkish political culture and civil society on democratic culture. As a result of the research, findings were reached on the relationship between the quality of civil society and political culture in Turkey and the democratic role of civil society in democratic development processes in the country.
Demokratik Kültürün Gelişiminde Sivil Toplum Perspektifi: TÜSİAD ÖrneğiAysun Dukul
Demokrasi, bir yönetim biçimi olmasının yanı sıra içinde barındırdığı ilke ve değerlerle kapsayıcı siyasal bir kavramdır. Demokrasi pratikleri ise sosyal ve ekonomik olduğu kadar kültürel temellere de dayanmaktadır. Demokratik kültür, içinde bulunan toplumun tarihsel geçmişindeki siyasi kültürün içinde şekillenir. Osmanlı’da Batılılaşma tercihi, Cumhuriyet’in kurulması ve 1980 sonrası meydana gelen küresel ve ulusal gelişmeler, Türk demokrasi kültürü konusunda yenilenmeyi içeren bir ivmelenmeyi ifade etmektedir. Bugün ülkemizde var olan siyasi kültür, tarihsel süreçte süregelen elit siyaseti, patrimonyal ilişkiler, nepotizm, kliyentalizm, uzlaşma ve hoşgörü kültürünün eksikliğinin yanı sıra parti demokrasisi kavramına uyan demokrasi pratiği ile şekillenmektedir. Kanıksanmış siyasi kültürümüzün demokratik kültürü inşa edememesi sorunsalının hangi etkenlere dayandığı ise oldukça karmaşık, paradoksal ve iç içe geçen sosyal sistemlerin yanı sıra birçok yapısal ilişkiler yumağının çözümlenerek incelenmesini ve araştırılmasını gerekli kılmaktadır. Siyasal insanın bilinçli yurttaşlara dayandığı öncülüyle, demokrasilerin vazgeçilmez aracı oluşumlarından sivil toplum kurum ve kuruluşlarının, ülkemizde siyasi temsil ve siyasi katılım unsurlarını gerçekleştirmekteki eksiklik ve zayıflıkları, demokratik kültürün yerleşmesi ve gelişmesini destekleyecek özelliklere sahip görünmemektedir. Türkiye'de siyasi kültürün toplumdaki tüm iktidar alanlarına olduğu gibi sivil toplum alanında da etkileri bu anlamda önemli olmaktadır. Demokrasi tarihimizin siyasi kültür temelinde, neden demokratik kültürü inşa edemediği ve neden sivil topluma ihtiyaç duyulduğu bu makalenin konusunu oluşturmaktadır. Bu bağlamda, içinde bulunan toplumun siyasi kültürü ile şekillenen sivil toplum yapılarının niteliği ve demokratik kültüre olan etkileri seçim barajlarının medya temsili baz alınarak incelenmiştir. Bu nedenle,1983-2021 yılları arasında önemli siyasal gelişmelerin yaşandığı belli tarihlerde, en fazla sayıda haberleştirilen sivil toplum kurumu olan TÜSİAD'ın haber içerikleri, gazetelerin hangi sayfalarında ve ne şekilde verildiği analiz edilmiştir. Seçim barajı konusundaki TUSİAD haberleri, yeni nitel veri analiz tekniği programlarından SPSS tabanlı R Studio programı kullanılarak sayısallaştırılmış, demokratik kültüre olan yansımaları değerlendirilerek, özgün bir sonuca ulaşılmaya çalışılmıştır.
In addition to being a form of government, democracy, with its principles and values, is an inclusive political concept. Democrati cpractices are based on social and economic as well as cultural foundations. Democratic culture is shaped within the political culture in the historical past of the society in which it exists. The preference for Westernization in the Ottoman Empire, the establishment of the Republic of Turkey and the global and national developments that took place after 1980 express an acceleration that includes renewal in Turkish democratic culture. Today, Turkish political culture is shaped by the absence of elite politics, patrimonial relations, nepotism, clientelism, and the lack of a culture of reconciliation and tolerance, as well as a practice of democracy in accordance with the concept of party democracy. In our political culture, the causes of the problem of not being able to build a democratic culture, which is taken for granted, necessitate the examination and investigation of many structural relations as well as very complex, paradoxical and intertwined social systems. With the presumption that it is based on conscious citizens, political people constitute non-governmental institutions and organizations, which are indispensable elements of democracies. The deficiencies and weaknesses of civil society in Turkey in realizing political representation and political participation do not seem to have the features to support the establishment and development of democratic culture. In this context, the effects of political culture in civil society, as well as in all areas of power in society, are important in Turkey. The subject of this article is why our history of democracy was not able to build democratic culture on the basis of political culture, and why civil society is needed.
Electoral thresholds are seen as a criterion for the democratic performance of countries. The 10 percent election threshold, which came into force after the 1980 military coup and is the highest election threshold in the world, has been implemented in all elections in Turkey since 1983. In this context, the quality of civil society structures shaped by the political culture of the society and their effects on democratic culture are examined based on the media representation of election thresholds. For this reason, the news contents of TÜSİAD, which was the most-reported non-governmental organization when important political developments took place from1983-2021, were analyzed, including on which pages and how the news was published in the newspapers. In the research, four national newspapers with different political orientations and which are still in publication were selected in order to obtain results reflecting the current situation in media representation. In addition to its quantitative superiority in the number of newspaper appearances, TÜSİAD has also been analyzed because of its effective power in the politics and media agenda, which no other non-governmental organization has. By examining the contents produced by TÜSİAD on the election threshold in print and internet newspaper scans, we aimed to reach a conclusion about how much the need of democratic culture is met in Turkey. TÜSİAD news on the election threshold was digitized using the SPSS-based R Studio program, a new qualitative data analysis technique, and we attempted to reach a distinctive result by evaluating its reflections on democratic culture. The ideological and political tendencies of the newspapers, which continue their publication life and have different political stances, are also reflected in the media coverage of TÜSİAD and the content it produces. It has been noted that the expressions highlighted in the discourse of news texts or published in headlines change according to the publishing policy or ideological stance of the newspapers. With the results, we tried to determine the mutual relationship of civil society institutions in Turkey in producing a culture of democracy. In the representation of TÜSİAD news regarding the election threshold, we reached important findings on the effects of the quality of civil society in Turkey on democracy and democratic culture, whether it meets democratic needs in Turkey, its relationship with political culture, and whether it fulfills its public duties in its relationship with democratic development processes in Turkey.
In addition to being a form of government, democracy is an overarching political concept with its principles and values. Democracy practices are based on social and economic as well as cultural foundations. Democratic culture is shaped according to the political culture that lies in a society’s history. With the premise that the political man is based on conscious citizens, the deficiencies and weaknesses of non-governmental institutions and organizations, which are indispensable intermediaries of democracies, in realizing the elements of political representation and political participation in our country do not seem to have the features to support the establishment and development of democratic culture. In Turkey, the effects of political culture in the field of civil society, as in all areas of power in society, are important in this sense. The subject of the article is why our history of democracy did not build a democratic culture based on political culture and why civil society is needed. In this context, the quality of civil society institutions that are shaped and structured by the political culture of the society and their positive or negative effects on democratic culture will be examined based on media representation. Within this context, the characteristics of the non-governmental organizations, which are shaped and built according to the political culture of a society, and their impacts on the democratic culture have been examined from the perspective of media representation of the electoral thresholds. For this reason, several news articles related to TÜSİAD (Turkish Industry and Business Association), which is one of the most newsworthy non-governmental organizations in Turkey, have been analyzed. The news articles were selected from the dates between 1983 and 2021, and their tone of voice and on which pages these articles were published have been examined. The news articles about TÜSİAD and the electoral threshold have been digitized by using R Studio, an SPSS-based qualitative data analysis program, and the reflections of these articles on the democratic culture have been evaluated for this research for an inventive conclusion.
According to the findings of the research, the reflections of Turkish political culture and political sphere in the democratic context also manifest themselves in civil society. In the analysis performed on TÜSİAD, it has emerged through the data that the Turkish democratic culture’s need for civil society cannot be met even in media representation. The fact that nearly half of all civil society news belongs to TÜSİAD again contradicts the pluralistic structure of civil society. TÜSİAD has contributed to democratic processes in the election threshold debates with its political studies, published opinions, and recommendations. As a result of the research, it is seen that TÜSİAD can create public opinion by influencing many political and social actors with its political work, including the election threshold. However, the results show that civil society is not able to maintain pluralism in media representation. Civil society can serve democracy through the representation and participation of different interests and demands in a pluralistic structure. For this reason, other non-governmental organizations and institutions should work to support democratic culture in order for democratic civil socialization to take place and for the democratization of Turkey’s socio-political structure. Especially in important social and political processes, the representation of the work and activities of different non-governmental institutions and organizations in the media is valuable and important in terms of contributing to democratization.