Turkish Political Culture and Civil Society: An Unsettling Coupling
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AbstractThis paper attempts to analyze Turkish politics in the post-1980 period with a special reference to the relationship among the state elites, political elites and societal actors and its impact on the constitution of civil society in Turkey. After the 1980 military intervention, the political and economic realms of Turkey witnessed a relative degree of liberalization through Üzal's neo-liberal policies. The January 24 economic decisions paved the way for economic liberalization as well as letting new economic and societal actors emerge. These new economic actors were different from the prevailing economic actors which used to enjoy having a considerable amount of opportunity spaces in the economic sphere. Together with the Üzal governments, Islamic segments started to become powerful in both political and economic realms. This paper analyses the chief traits of Turkish politics and economics and their impact upon civil society aftermath the 1980 coup in general, and the relationship and/or interaction among the state elites, political elites and societal actors in particular. The engagements of newly-emerging societal and economic actors into Turkish political scene and the challenge of these actors against the so-called 'Kemalist-Republican' elites are also illustrated in the paper. Moreover, state-Islam interaction, politics-Islam interaction as well as Kemalism-newly-emerging societal and economic actors interaction will be studied with a special emphasis to the post-1980 period. The major argument of the paper is that, in Turkey, both civil society issues and political issues reveal outcomes which are primarily shaped by the nature of the relationship between state elites and political elites in general and by Turkish political culture in particular.