Transformation of Politics in Turkey: from the ‘Strong State Tradition’ to ‘Total Politics’Şükrü Mutlu Karakoç
This article aims to conceptually analyze the transformation of politics, as a state-society relationship, in Turkey from the 1990s until today. To do this conceptual analysis, firstly, a detection of the founding parameters which describe the dominant political structure of Republic of Turkey is done. For the detection of founding parameters, the settled conceptual models that have been developed previously to analyze the politics of Turkey are consulted. As the settled conceptual models, the models of Şerif Mardin’s “centerperiphery”, Metin Heper’s “transcendent state – society”, İdris Küçükömer’s “Proponents of westernization/ secularist - Proponents of easternization/Islamist” front and Emre Kongar’s “statist preeminent - traditionalist liberal” front are analyzed. Then, the changes in the structure of the post-1990 politics of Turkey is analyzed with reference to founder parameters which are detected from the settled conceptual models. The major argument of this article is that the dominant political structure of the Republic of Turkey, overall changing around political reforms after 2000, has transformed at the institutional level from the “strong state tradition - based” political structure to “total politics - based” political structure. In this context, this study explores how the strong state tradition transformed and the social groups turned into an actor in Turkish politics.
Türkiye’de Siyasetin Dönüşümü: ‘Güçlü Devlet Geleneği’nden ‘Total Siyaset’eŞükrü Mutlu Karakoç
Bu makale Türkiye’de “devlet – toplum ilişkisi olarak siyaset”in 1990’lardan bugüne dönüşümünü kavramsal olarak analiz etmeyi amaçlamaktadır. Bu kavramsal analiz için öncelikle Cumhuriyet Türkiye’sine hakim siyaset yapısını tanımlayan kurucu parametrelerin tespiti yapılmaktadır. Kurucu parametrelerin tespiti konusunda literatürde Türkiye siyasetini analiz etmek üzere daha önceden geliştirilmiş olan yerleşik kavramsal modellere başvurulmaktadır. Bu kapsamda yerleşik kavramsal modeller olarak Şerif Mardin’in “merkez – çevre”, Metin Heper’in “aşkın devlet – toplum”, İdris Küçükömer’in “Batıcı laik – Doğucu İslamcı” cephe ve Emre Kongar’ın “devletçi seçkinci - gelenekçi liberal” cephe modellerinin literatür analizi yapılmaktadır. Ardından, yerleşik kavramsal modellerin analiziyle tespit edilen kurucu parametrelerden hareketle Türkiye siyaset yapısında 1990 sonrası yaşanan değişim incelenmektedir. Çalışmada Cumhuriyet Türkiye’sine hakim siyaset yapısının, genel olarak 2000 sonrasında gerçekleşen siyasal reformlar etrafında değişerek, kurumsal düzeyde “güçlü devlet geleneği”ne dayalı siyaset yapısından “total siyaset”e dayalı bir siyaset yapısına dönüştüğü iddia edilmektedir. Bu bağlamda ilk olarak ekonomi alanında, yeni üretim ilişkileri, sermaye aktörlerinde çeşitlenme, sermayenin toplumsal alana yayılması etrafında dönüşümün ekonomi boyutu incelenmektedir. İkinci olarak toplumsal alanda, sivil toplum alanının genişlemesi, kimlik politikalarının yükselişi, sosyal gruplarda aktörleşme etrafında dönüşümün toplumsal boyutu ele alınmaktadır. Son olarak siyaset alanında güçlü devlet geleneğinin kurumsal olarak çözülüşü ve sosyal grupların davranış - etkileşimleriyle biçimlenen yeni siyaset yapısı ortaya konmaktadır.
In the Republic of Turkey, politics has been generally regarded as a state or political power practice based upon the heroic deeds of a single actor for a long time. Moreover, the political actors have understood politics as state-centered power politics by pushing the social and cultural factors aside. Therefore, politics in the Republican Period has actualized as a state-centered social integration, cultural consolidation and modernization process. Thus, politics has been formed as power politics resting on state/society antagonism in terms of institutional and cultural mechanisms. This antagonistic structure of politics entered into a process of transformation especially in the sphere of society and economics throughout the 1990s. In the 2000s, this political transformation acquired an institutional dimension and produced a new political power structure over the past few years.
The aim of this article is to make a conceptual analysis of the transformation of politics as state-society relations from the 1990s until the present day. In this article, the founding parameters which define the dominant structure of politics have been initially determined. To that end, the settled conceptual models developed in the literature to analyze Turkish politics have been employed. Within this scope, as settled conceptual models, Şerif Mardin’s “center-periphery”, Metin Heper’s “transcendental state- society”, İdris Küçükömer’s westernist secularist- Easternist Islamist”, Emre Kongar’s “statist elitist- traditionalist liberal” models have been evaluated. Subsequently, the article focuses on the transformation in Turkish politics after the 1990s on the basis of the founding parameters determined through the analysis of the settled conceptual models which have been mentioned above. In the analysis of the socio-political transformation, this study, using the pluralist group approach, discusses how the social groups in Turkey have become political actors depending on political source accumulation and how this process reflects on the general structure of Turkish politics.
The article argues that the dominant political structure in Turkey has deeply changed by political reforms institutionally from “strong state tradition” into “total politics” in the 2000s. “Strong state tradition” denotes the establishment of state apparatus around the dominance of the bureaucracy as entity distinct and autonomous from the social groups and society as a whole. Moreover, “strong state tradition refers to the dominance of the state center in the spheres of society, politics and economics; the weak position of social groups in the institutional design and decision-making processes and dualist power structure based on state/society antagonism. This study examines the economic, social and political transformation from the 1990s to the 2010s and analyses the “disintegration of strong state tradition” and the “relative actorness process of social groups”. In this sense, first of all, the article concentrates on the economic dimension of the transformation around the new relations of production, diversification of actors of capital and the distribution of capital to the different segments of society. Secondly, this study deals with the social dimension of the transformation with reference to the expansion of civil society, the rise of identity politics and the developing actorness of the social groups. Lastly, it presents the institutional disintegration of strong state tradition and the formation of new structure of politics by behavior and interaction of social groups. The new structure of politics refers to multi-layered power relations and politics in which cultural identity based social groups play an important role, how the relations between society and politics become transitive and the dependence of bureaucracy on civil politics.
The article offers the concept of “total politics” as an alternative conceptual model to explain the newly shaped political life in Turkey. Total politics offers an analysis framework which is plural, multi-actored, civil, cultural identity and group based. It argues that the politics in Turkey has been formed around intra-group and inter-group power relations in the society actualized on the levels civil society and political and power spheres within the scope of total politics. In this sense, it has been indicated that politics has been produced on the basis of multi-layered, multi-actored parameters and the “multi-variable alliances” among the actors. Therefore, this study underlines the spheres of state and power relations as the place of both reflection and reproduction of power relations among different social groups within the framework of total politics analysis.