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The postures of the post-1983 parliamentary parties with respect to laicism


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A Thesis

Submitted to the Department of Political Science


Public Administration


Bilkent University

In Partial Fulfilment of the Requirements for the Degree of

Master of Arts


Simten Cosar

September 1991


Master of Arts in Political Science and Public Administration.

Prof. Dr. Metin Heper

i .

I certify that I have read this thesis and in my opinion it is fully adequate, in scope and in quality, as a thesis for the degree of Master of Arts in Political Science and Public Administration.

Dr. Omer Faruk Genckaya

I certify that I have read this thesis and in my opinion it is fully adequate, in .scope and in quality, as a thesis for the degree of Master of Arts in Political Science and Public Administration.


Laiklik ilkesi Türkiye’de bir sorunsal olmaya devam etmektedir. Bu durum gerek Osmanli devlet sisteminden Türkiye Cumlıuriyeti’ne aktarilan degerlei'in - bunicirin arasinda toplumsal

öneme sahip olan Islami da sayabiliriz-, gerekse Türkiye

Cumhuriyeti’nin kurucularinin Atatürk devrimlerini

gerçekleştirirken izledikleri "tepeden inmeci" politikanin bir


1980 sonrasinda siyasal ve devlet seçkinlerinin din konusuna

geleneksel yaklasimlarinda önemli değişiklikler olmuştur. Benzer

değişiklikler, her iki grubun Kemalist ilkelerin ve özellikle

"laiklik" ilkesinin koruyuculuğu rollerinin algilanmasinda da

gözlenmektedir. Bu bağlamda siyasal elitin kurumsal temsilcisi olan

siyasal partilerin laiklik anlayisinin incelenmesi sorunun

anlasilraasina isik tutacaktir.

Bu çerçeve içerisinde, bu calisma 198.3 sonrasi parlamenter partilerin genel ideolojilerine göre laiklik konusundaki görece durumlarini aciklamaya calismaktadir.

Elde edilen bulgulara göre, laiklik ilkesi tura parlaraenter

partilerin gerek programlarinda, gerekse parti delegelerinin

parlamento konusmalarinda genis yer kaplamaktadir. Bununla

birlikte, partilerarasi farkliliklar daha cok bu prensibe


I wish to thank all of my friends who have contributed to my study in one way or another.

I would like to express my special gratitudes to Dr. Omer

Faruk Genckaya who helped and oriented me with valuable


I should also express my thankfulness to Prof. Metin Heper for his encouragements in this study.



1. The Issue of Laicism in Turkey 2. The Concept of Laicism

3. Interpretation of Laicism in Turkish Context a. The Evolution of Laicism in Turkey b. Laicism in the 1980s

4. Problems of Laicism : The Case of Turkey a. Structural Problems

b. Anti-laic Groupings 5. Scope of the Study Chapter Two : METHODOLOGY

1. General Standing of the Parties a. Economic Policy

b. State Figure as Perceived by the Parties c. Religiosity

2. The Understanding of the Principle of Laicism a. Nationalism

b. Laicism

3. Research Questions 4. Data

Chapter Three : FINDINGS

1. The Understanding of Laicism 2. National Education

3. Concern with Anti-Laic Movements

1 1 4 5 8 2 0 24 24 27 31 41 42 44 47 51 63 54 58 62 63 71 72 78 80


Chapter Four : An Evaluation of the Findings 1. The Understanding of Laicism

2. National Education 3. Anti-laic Movements

a. The Presidency of Religious Affairs b. Reaction

Chapter Five : Conclusion BIBLIOGRAPHY 92 92 100 105 106 108 123 129


1.The Issue of Laicism in Turkey

The 1990s seem to be the years of laicism. But, this term does not necessarily presume a positive trend since it alludes to the increase in the questioning of the appropriate practice of laicism within Turkish context.

It can be argued that this problem had long been nurtured by the inherent tendency of the Turkish society toward religion as a value system - as far as the lower and lower-middle class are concerned - which had been on the agenda of Turkish politics long before the 1980s. However, the developments, which can be claimed to have lighted the spark, have taken place not only at the societal level, but also at the level of state and political elite.

At the state level, the post-1980 military regime tended to resort to traditional and religious values to provide for national unity. It even approved religious instruction in primary and secondary schools with the task of holding an eye on religious affai rs.

Along with the changes in the attitude of state elite, the political elite of the 1980s approached to religious issues in a more or less harmonious manner irrespective of their announced ideological posture. This is most evident in the programme of the Turkish United Communist PartyH), whereby it refers to religion in


The change at the level of political elite has been further evinced by the fact that the governing party (Motherland Party) throughout the 1980s have embodied four tendencies within its platform, including the Islamic faction.

In a way, the tendency on the part of the post-1980 political parties to refer to a wide portion of the society has led them to act as catch-all parties, thus preparing the ground for an intra­ party conflict different from the one based on right-left issues. Together with the acceleration in the activities in relation to religious issues at the societal level, this conflict was turned to be one between "laicism" and "religiosity".

The reflections of the changes - mentioned above - at the societal level have been manifested by a number of events, the most prominent of which has been the popularity of Islamic thought across the youth, especially in the universities, by the activities of the orders. One can say that, this expansion is the starting point of the chain reaction which has led to major political conflicts; thus the problem of "turban" which had long dominated the Turkish politica,! scene.

A more contemporary issue is the terrorist activities of the post-1983 era directed against the prominent supporters of the principle of laicism; e.g.the assassination of Muammer Aksoy, Turan Dursun, Bahriye Ucok and Cetin Emec. It is not certain whether the


Turkish laicism is facing a potential danger.

As it was indicated above, the post-1980 state elite gave support to Islam as a possible cure to left-right cleavages. In a way they tried to strengthen Turkish nationalism with the help of

Islamic values presumably entrenched within Turkish society

throughout the history. However, this effort was radicalized under the notion of Turkish-Islam Synthesis, which in turn exacerbated the inherent conflict between the terms "Turk" and "Muslim".

Moreover, such developments in the post-1980 Turkey, as the spread of orders throughout the society in addition to publicly held worship, an immense increase in religious publications^^),

usurpation of religion for political goals as well as the

unprecedented increase in the number of Religious High Schools (Imam Hatip Liseleri) which is accompanied by a parallel increase in the number of their graduates, can be counted in this respect.

1980s are significant to study in relation to the principle of laicism since religious values no longer display their credibility only among the lower and the lower-middle strata, rather what can be observed is the appearance of an economically powerful nascent

Islamic bourgeoisie. As a matter of fact the economic

liberalization of this era has led to the expansion of an Islamist economic sector as well as to the ascendancy of this sector in the political arena(3) which gives a hint in the analysis of the new


state that 1990s are fertile to hot debates about laicism and to searches in order to achieve the consolidation of this principle in the Turkish context, in the real sense.

2. The Concept of Laicism

Laicism is rather a vague concept to delineate, since it means different in Turkish polity from its original meaning in French. The problem also arises when the task of differentiating between secularism and laicism is at hand.

From a historical perspective, the term of laicism is mainly used in the Catholic societies with the initial meaning of publicization. In its more contemporary form, laicism simply means giving the people - who have no religious status - a superior role in worldly and even in religious a f f a i r s . I n other words it simply meant the freing of secular from the the religious in societies where religion had an overwhelmingly predominant posture.

Secularism, on the other hand, has been in the agenda in places where Christianity other than Catholicism is widespread. As different from laicism, secularism has been used to refer to modernization, with a wider understanding.(s)

Within the framework of laicism, there are four basic

interpretations with different perspectives


minimization of the role of religion in societal life.

iii. From a political perspective, laicism simply means the foundation of the state authority and the political power on the people - i.e. the ruled - rather than on spiritual grounds.

iv. And finally, laicism in legal terms means the foundation of the positive law of the state on rational grounds rather than on religious principles.

3,Interpretation of Laicism in Turkish Context

Although the above definition seems to be sufficient to give us an idea about laicism, when applied in different contexts, it

becomes a difficult concept to work with. The best example is the

case of Turkish Republic which tried to adopt this concept as its

raison d ’être. The fact that Turkey has a totally different historical background from the countries which witnessed the birth

of laicism(^l caused a lot of problems in practice. As a matter of

fact, it can be said that the practice of laicism in Turkey has the

implications of both laicism and secularism, since it has prepared the grounds for state supervision on religious issues, while forming one of the basic principles on which the modernization of Turkish society is based -i.e. the predominance of worldly issues in politics, economy, education and family relations as well as in


Before going deep into the problems and the evolution of laicism in Turkey , a brief look at what laicism means for the Turkish Republic, i.e. for M. Kemal Atatürk, is necessary.

In the analysis of Kemalist laicism the fact to be kept in mind is that there was a constant rejection of Ottoman theocracy and hence laicism, as a principle, was a turning point in the all- out transformation in the system, rather than a mere change in the positioning of the state with respect to religion.

In the initiation of the principle of laicism, the founders of Turkish Republic relied heavily on rationalism and hence rejected the determinitive role of religion in social, political, economic

and educational institutions, basing their arguments on the

requirements of modernization.(3)

As a matter of fact, laicism in Turkey has been achieved only to the extent of political and legal grounds. Besides, the

proponents of this principle based their arguments on the

philosophical perspective. But, whether it accomplished the working of the sociological aspect has been a matter of question throughout the history of the Turkish Republic and especially in the last decade.

Atatürk, by laicism, simply pointed at the necessity of leaving religion to the sphere of individual c o n s c i e n c e . T h u s , he tried to show the difference between being faithful and


inherent in this respect. In a way by laicism, he meant a value system independent of religion(s) in the society,

When the practice of laicism is concerned one gets a sense of slight shift from its rhetoric, which may again be attributed to the special conditions under which The Turkish Republic has adopted this principle.

One major factor in the Turkish practice of laicism is the constant reference to the notion of nationalism in order to give support to the former, simply because the founders of the Turkish Republic tried to build up a Turkish spirit in order to fight back the "traditional Islam-Ottoman foundation"(^2 ), which assured an effective role in the society. Behind all these, was the attempt to establish a political unit which depends on nati< lal rather than religious bonds.

Another significant point in the case of Turkey, is the

overtly strict control of the state over religious affairs. This has to do with the elitist approach of Turkish bureaucracy with an emphasis on education to bring the Turkish people to the level of

political participation; and until that level is reached to

safeguard them. Thus, the Kemalist laicism built up an

administrative mechanism which gave the state the opportunity to

interfere with the functioning of religious institutions. (^^


beliefs and under state supervision. This tendency on the part of the state elite to have control over religion may be attributed to the concern about any possibility of the abuse of the peoples’

religious beliefs as an extension of the aspiration for the laicization of not only the state or the politics, but also of the society. Thus, the Turkish State also assumes the role of the sole guarantor of freedom of faith and conscience.

Finally, the principle of laicism in Turkey is widely referred

as an alternative to Islam which has a potential for

ideologization. This can be attributed to the fact that, Islam as a religion does not acknowledge the separation of religious issues from either politics or worldly affairs and that it automatically tends to regulate all the spheres of social, political and private


a. The Evolution of Laicism in Turkey

The claim that political power in the Ottoman Empire was legitimized both by tradition and by religion^^^) does not rule out the effective control of the Ottoman statesmen over religion. As a matter of fact, the Sultan had full control over both the executive and the judicial issues, while the slaves (kuls) -responsible for the judicial functions- were supposed to refrain from interfering


attributed to the incorporation of ulema into the State bureaucracy.C ^ ) Thus, as the instrument of social order statecraft had possessed two sanctions : the authority and the power of the ruler and the divine reason -i.e., Shari’ah, whereby the ulema emerged as one of the politically influential groups in the capital possessing the authority to express and apply Islamic commands. C l

The conjunction of religious and secular elements in the Ottoman ruling tradition was very well manifested by the right of the Sultans to enact laws which might have been in conflict with the Islamic law.C^) Called as Islamic/Imperial laws these were derived directly from the sovereign will of the ruler.c®) On the other hand, it was generally the state which made use of religion for the sake of loyalty and obedience of the Muslim population that the enactment of imperial laws was justified on the grounds that

they were necessary for the well-being of the Islamic community; a

fact which indicates the dependence of the legitimacy of political action on religion. This is directly linked to the social and political stratification of Ottoman Empire on religious grounds, especially until nineteenth century.(20)

The first signs of laicization in the Ottoman State can be found in the Westernization attempts of Selim III Era (1789-1807), whereby a sense of the essentiality of rapid and progressive change


foremost, the modernization of the Ottoman military along with the Western standards; he nevertheless introduced sciences, training procedures and uniforms of Europe which have led to multi­ dimensional reactions - both at the state and societal level - to culminate in an uprising by the Janissaries in 1807, to which joined the ulema and the masses. ( 2 1 )

The extensions of the initial attempts of Selim III era were to emerge later in the Tanzimat period within the structure of an imperial rescript (1839). Although the disregard of religious and imperial laws was severely condemned in the rescript, (2 2 ) -jt, in essence, contained radical principles.

To begin with, as parallel to the ideas of equality before the law and the security of life , honor and property for all subjects,

discrimination on religious grounds was ruled out.(23) Besides,the

secularization of public institutions led to the removal of the barriers to non-Muslims in entering public service and later the politics.(24) The modernization attempts were also visible in the education sphere that special secular schools were established with

the mere aim of moulding out a body of Westernized civil


This period also witnessed the first use of the notion of ”0smanlilik"(26), in order to impose the feeling of unity upon the peoples. But here one major drawback should not be neglected that, in this period state administration was still declared to be dependent upon the rules and regulations which would be established


on the basis of Shari’ah. <27) addition to this drawback, the lack of appropriate cultural and social milieu(28) prevented the

Ottoman Empire to complete this modernization process. The

testament was to be the major concern of the Turkish Republic.

The last attempts in the Ottoman era, in the way of

laicization can be seen in the thirty year reign of Abdulhamid (1876-1909), After the unsucessful experience of the first Ottoman constitutional government wwhich had ended in 1878, the Sultan was forced to restore it in July 1908.(29) within the framework of the new constitution the Sultan no longer acquired the absolute power, especially after the elction of the Chamber of the Deputies (December 1908). In this instance, the Committee of Union and

f'ogress (CUP, an underground organization) should also be

mentioned as a "behind the scenes” actor.(^o) However, this was a

brief and relatively unsuccessful period of laicization process, to last only till the dissolution of the CUP in 1918, which would lead a political vacuum to be filled by the restoration of Sultan- Caliph’s absolute power.(3i)

The period between 1919-1922 were the years of the "War of Independence", whereby the ideology of nationalism would provide not only national independence against imperialism, but also the rational grounds on which the principle of laicism was to be

based.(32) on the other hand, the- same period also bore the

implications of the problématique relation between the terms


newly-born Turkish Republic.(33)

Single party period, in the Turkish Republic, was

characterized by the measures taken to consolidate the Kemalist

principles. Laicism had a significant role among the other

principles, since it was perceived to be the building stone of the

grounds on which the legitimacy of the State lies.(34)

This period was also marked with considerable resistance coming from within the ranks of the GNA, represented by those who were assumed to be among the supporters of Atatürk, but who were at the same time loyal to the institution of the Sultanate and the Caliphate. But, this resistance did not prevent the founders of the Republic to pursue their "strict secularization programme(35)".

A chronological ordering of the major steps in the laicization programme of the single party period may well illustrate the radical nature of those measures especially when the Islamic tradition , so deeply entrenched within the society is taken into account.

Beginning with the 1921 Constitution, the fact that

sovereignty was vested in the hands of the nation signified the acceptance of a thought which had formed the laic state notion in the French and American Revolutions.<36)

The abolition of Sultanate (1 November 1922) and the

establishment of Republic (29 October 1923) were two radical steps in the practice of laicism. Aside from that, the abolition of the Caliphate (1 March 1924) signified the destruction of a political


rather than a religious problem in the establishment of the superiority of the notion of sovereignty of nation over the notion of "Theocratic State" (Din Devleti).

In 1924, the Presidency of Religious Affairs was founded as merely an agency of public service and not the supreme spiritual body of a religious community, whereby it was presumed that noone

would be authorized to interfere with matters of individual

c o n s c i e n c e , l

With the Constitutional amendment of 1928, two articles which were in total controversy with the principle of laicism were abolished. Thus, this amendment outlawed both the statement that "religion of the Turkish State is Islam" and the article which attributed the Grand National Assembly the function of running the government in accordance with the prerequisites of the Shari’ah order.

The Constitutional change made in 1937, included the principle of laicism into the body of the principles of the Turkish Republic.

In the following year, the establishment of political parties on religious grounds was declared to be illegal. This measure further strengthened the earlier ban on the abuse of religious sentiments for political ends.

In addition to these constitutional amendments, to spread the practice of laicism, the founders of the Republic introduced a radical education policy out of which came the abolition of medreses and the initiation of the Law on Unification of Education


(Tevhid-i Tedrisat Kanunu,1924). In 1928, Latin Alphabet, by which the underlying aim was to loosen ties with the Ottoman-Islam tradition, was adopted. Furthermore, the main transformation in the education policy was the outlawing of religious instruction in the primary and the secondary education which accompanied the closing down of the Religious High Schools, in the early 1930s. This mentality assumed that religion as a private value system should be shaped by the necessities of a democratic national culture and

those of science and technology.(3S)

Accordingly, the coming years would witness the extension of this education policy by means of the entrenchement of the notion of nation into the minds of the people in order to replace the feeling of congregation and thus the Islamic tradition extending throughout the Ottoman Era.

Actually, all the other reforms of the single party period were to accomplish the consolidation of the principle of laicism

both politically, societally and culturally. Besides, the

authoritarianism of the single party period eased the initiation of

the reforms from above and hence succeeded in the

institutionalization of laicism at the level of polity.<39)

The strict secularization programme of the single party period showed a slight decline in the political liberalization atmosphere during the period of transition to multi-party politics(1946-1950). Both the governing party (Republican Peoples Party, RPP) and the main opposition party (Democrat Party, DP) displayed a rather mild


posture with respect to religious affai rs. This was further evinced by the foundation of eight political parties with explicit

religious themes in their programmes, ( ^) Besides, the new

atmosphere which made the governing party - proclaimed to be the loyal guardian of Kemalist principles - run into a competition with the other parties, led to a softening in its radical posture with respect to laicism. l''^)

Democrat Party, on the other hand, was careful not to

disregard the official constraints on religious issues while

building up the image of the defender of religious sentiments of the people -a factor which supplied it with sufficient propaganda-.

Following the first competitive elections in Turkish politics, 1950s were the years of the DP government which displayed a more tolerant attitude toward Islam, when compared to the single party period. As a matter of fact, this era ended the phase of militant secularism in Turkey. It should also be mentioned that the relative freeing of the Islamists in the political sphere in the post 1945 years which were marked with the popularity of democratic values in Turkey has helped them to criticize the Turkish practice of laicism on the grounds that it had led to the crushing of the "national conscience" of the Turkish people.

Despite constant attacks by the RPP on the opposition with the accusation that Kemalist principles were being neglected, the DP government transformed Imam Hatip courses into regular Imam Hatip Schools, gave an end to the ban on cal1-to-prayer in Arabic and


provided for religious programmes in the state radio. All these measures signified a religious stimulation, but did not reach to such extents as to split away from the principle of laicism. (‘*^1 This was evident in the enactment by the parliament under the dominance of the DP deputies which banned the exploitation of

religion for political propaganda.

At the societal level, 1950s also witnessed the growing effect of the rural areas on Turkish politics and hence of the priority of

traditionalism over national ism. This was accompanied by the

reactivation of religious orders with an increasing electoral influence. This may also be seen as a motive for the governing party to rely on religious issues in order to consolidate its authority and hence there is the politicization of religion.

Interestingly, after the 1960 military intervention, the military paid special attention to avoid an anti-religious public image. On the other hand, while returning to multi-party politics in 1961, the military arranged an intra-party meeting whereby the decision for not to abuse religion for political ends was enforced upon the p a r t i e s . O n e major drawback to this decision was present in the 1961 Constitution itself, which allowed for genuine political association and thus which led to the mushrooming of organizations including the religious ones into the political arena. The 1960s also witnessed significant increase in the number of pilgrims as well as those who are on fast. Besides, there was a corresponding increase in the membership to orders and to other


religious organizations. One should also mention about the reservation of special departments in the parliament and in the

government bureaus to worship.

From 1965 onwards, with the end of the coalition governments laicism reappeared as an important political issue. The Conference on "Divinity and Laicism", (1966) whereby harsh criticisms against the practice of laicism took place, further signified this fact.

In this period, the traditional posture of the RPP and of the main oppositionary party (Justice Party, JP) - which replaced the DP - did not change. The statements of the leaders of both parties

indicated this situation very well. The leader of the RPP, Mr.

Inonu attacked the reactionary movements while Mr. Demirel, the leader of the JP, was talking more about religious freedom and accusing the government - though not overtly - of political repression with the claim that the government perceived even the practice of religious freedom as a reactionary movement.

It should also be noted that, in late the late 1960s the role of religion in political arena was extended. In this respect, one major development came about with the participation of Alevis in multi-party politics by their own party (Türkiye Birlik Partisi, The Union Party of Turkey, UPT), rather than within the body of the RPPor the Turkish Labor Party (TLP) which had long been the case.(48) Moreover, this time it was not only the rumors of 1950s -

about the links between the DP and the Nurists-, but the


affect the politics. The initiation of the notion of Turk=Islam Synthesis by a group of professors and politicians in their fight against Marxism and socialism further exacerbated the conflict- prone relation between the principle of laicism and religion. As a matter of fact, such activities would extend throughout 1970s with the task of establishing Islamic political institutions,

The unionization of religion was not only at the political level, but also at the societal level. The fact that the first boycott of the Turkish universities was in the name of "turban"(15 April 1968) and that the so-called "Bloody Sunday" event was an outcome of the clash between the leftist and Islamist groups further illustrates the societal reflections of the politicization of Islam.(5°)

The most prominent example of Islamic political institution, the National Order Party (NOP), which was founded under the leadership of Necmettin Erbakan(1971), was banned by the military government of 12 March 1971 with the accusation of exploiting religion for political goals. But, in a rather short period of time, National Salvation Party (NSP), under the same leadership compensated for the NOP and gained a considerable place within the post 1973 coalition governments. The party with its official

ideology of "National Outlook"(Mi 11i Gorus) stressed a break from

Westernization and a turn to Muslim world in order to achieve

rapid industrialization. (5^) It was very well established at the societal level by means of its bonds with the Naqshiband order. It


had a youth organization (Akincilar), an affiliated labor union (Hak-Is Confederation) as well as a newspaper (Mill! Gazete) which

symbolized an effective patronage network. As far as the

composition of both parties is concerned, we see that they

represented mainly the declining petty bourgeoisie of Anatolia, which was no longer abided by quietism and thus wanted material salvation.(^2 )

Within this schema it should also be included that the National Action Party(NAP), under the leadership of Alparslan Turkes; pursued a policy of compromise with Islam, thus forming one

wing of the movement which represented Islam in politics.

To sum up, 1961-1980 period in Turkey witnessed an escalation of the role of religion in social, political and educational spheres. This was due to both the economic factors - i.e. the problems of rapid economic d e v e l opment^> - and the evolution of democracy, the abuse of religion being one of its shortfalls. The increased role of religion let it out of the confines of the individual sphere into all spheres of societal life, a tendency dating back to the Ottoman -Islam tradition. From this viewpoint, one can say that especially beginning with the 1970s the grounds on which the Turkish practice of the principle of laicism rested began to disintegrate.


b. Laicism in the 1980s

1980 military intervention and the era opened with it has

been marked with significant changes in the issues related to the principle of laicism especially with respect to the attitude of the military. In addition to a milder approach to Islam, the post-1980 military regarded the official religious instruction as a means of coping with the fundamentalist movements as well as the extremist ideologies. Besides, the military was more congenial on the issue of the societal significance of religion than the post-Ataturk state elite had ever been.i^^l

Briefly, it is argued that along with the change in the perception of Kemalism - a technique rather than a political manifesto-,(5®1 laicism has also been reinterpreted by the post- 1980 military with particular attention on the traditional and

social role of r e l i g i o n .on the other hand, it continued to

reject the politicization of religion and took severe measures to prevent any such possibility. The outstanding one of these measures was the restriction on the organization and the activities of

political parties and voluntary associations, that political

parties were banned from establishing affiliated organizations at the societal level and from forming organic ties with interest groups (See 1982 Constitution, Articles 68,69). Additionally, the voluntary associations were also banned from engaging in political activity. In this context it should also be mentioned that the measures designed against the establishment and/or administration


of the institutions with the aim of basing the social, economic, political or legal structure of the State on religious principles, were further intensified, as materialized in Article 163 of Turkish Criminal Code.^^s) Thus, the penalty for such acts was increased from 2-7 years to 8-15 years of heavy imprisonment in 1983.

With respect to this issue, the closing years of 1980s have also witnessed an atmosphere of hot debate in the name of basic rights and liberties. Introduced first by the rejections to the Articles of 141 and 142 of Turkish Criminal Code, which outlaw both

the foundation of institutions and propogandizing with the aim of

destroying a social class and/or any existing economic and social system in the Turkish Republic and which subject any such action to serious penalties including the death penalty; this debate in the name of basic rights and liberties came to embody the concern with Article 163. This, in turn, paved the way to a new sphere to focus on, since it supplied the Islamist figures with the opportunity to extend their claims on the abuse of "laicism" as a principle to supress the freedom of religion and faith.

Despite all these measures embodied within the articles of the

1982-Constitution and other post-1980 legislations; the basic

aspiration of the military for a fresh start to democracy was not a success, that the traditional link between the old and the new parties continued. As a matter of fact, this period is marked with two general tendencies as far as the party formation is concerned. First of all the parties which were established at first hand, were


merely of a pro-September 12 era pholosophy. Secondly the coming years witnessed the rise of such parties which were essentially the inheritors of the pre-1980 period.

On the other hand, the era between the years 1983-1986 can be termed as a consolidation period whereby the subsequent rise and

decline of various parties as well as frequent inter-party

transfers were observed.

Initially, the Nationalist Democracy Party (NDP) was founded under the leadership of ex-army general Turgut Sunalp which was to be followed by the Populist Party (PP), under the leadership of Necdet Calp. The two parties can be referred to as merely instruments for the experience of transition to democracy, since the first used to be a devoted adherent of the September 12 era, while the latter assumed the status of a loyal opposition which was in line with the interests of the military.

The Motherland Party (MP), on the other hand, can be claimed to have initiated a clear picture of catch-all party model into Turkish Politics, that it embodied four divergent tendencies within its structure : the Republicans, the pro-JP figures, as well as the ex-members of both the NSP and the NAP. Moreover, the party did not lose its prominent status within the political sphere, despite the emergence of such extreme right-wing parties as the Welfare Party (WP)(®1) and the Nationalist Work Party (NWP) which in a way posed a threat to the Islamic and neo-fascist support base of the party.


Democracy Party (SDP) of Erdal Inonu and the Great Turkey Party (GTP) -established by the prominent members of the defunct JP and which preceded the foundation of the True Path Party (TPP) in June 1983- were two additional, but numerically ineffective actors in the political arena. The coming years would witness the merge of the PP and SDP into Social Democratic Populist Party (SDPP, November 1985) as well as the transfer of the NDP deputies to either the MP or the TPP ranks, as a result of its self-dissolution on 4 May 1986.

In the meantime, there has emerged such parties to be

established on a temporary basis, like the Free Democracy Party (FDP,1986) -to be dissolved in November 1986, resulting in a deputy transfer to the ranks either of the MP or the TPP-, the People’s Party -which had a two-days life-, and the Citizen Party -a six- month personal party of Vural Arikan-.

To conclude with, it can be said that the period that is analysed (1983-1987), was a trial period not only on the part of the military, but also on the part of the post-1980 political parties. As a reflection, in this period, the GNA witnessed a huge wave of party transfers which far exceeds those in the previous multi-party period (1946- 1980). (^2 ) jh-js should give an idea about the ideological commitment of the party deputies, since a number of the transfers happened to be not only among the right-wing or the


4. Problems of Laicism: The Case of Turkey

Turkey has its unique problems with respect to the

consolidation of the principle of laicism. The underlying reasons can be classified into two categories :

a. Structural Problems

b. Anti-laic Groupings

a. Structural Problems

Turkey is a special case in the practice of the principle of laicism. Its speciality begins with the fact that it is the only Muslim country which took such a radical step in the problematic relation between the religion and the State. Some might perceive this task as relatively easier since in the antecedent Ottoman tradition the decisions of the administration had a slight priority over the religious authorities. However, this did not mean an

overall dominance. Instead, the resort to religion by the

administration, in order to provide public support both showed and increased the critical role of religion in the society.

As a matter of fact, Islam is referred not just as a religion; but also as a means of social identity, that in addition to its regulatory function with respect to the relation between God and the man, it also designs how the relations among men should be. AS a result of the intertwined nature of religious institutions with the political, legal and educational units, it describes the


general features of an ideal society, protects the individual, provides the path to be followed in worldly issues, shapes the ideological and cultural values for the society and through the orders compensates for the intermediary structures between social

and political spheres. )

When the fact that in Turkey the traditional style of life has its inherent links with religion, is added to this picture, the structural problem of laicism in Turkey becomes c l e a r e r . T h e main evidence for the existence of such a problem is that, during the years of the "War of Independence" the shared belief among almost all parties was that the main goal of the liberation movement would be the salvation of the Sultanate and the Caliphate. This belief had caused problems in the process of establishing a government detached from the Ottoman Empire. Even the so-called "westernizers" were those who aspired a constitutional regime together with the Sultan and the Caliph.!®®)

As far as Kemalism and the way the founders of the Turkish Republic tried to adopt laicism are concerned, one comes across two outstanding theses :<®7)

i. Kemalism failed by suppressing the ideologies which had the potential to fight back Islam -as an ideology.

ii. Kemalism failed to play against Islam as a rival ideology. This viewpoint is based on the argument that the extremely elitist attitude of the Kemalist elite toward the society decreased the possibility of closing the gap inbetween. Besides, the practice of


the principle of laicistn only to the extent of politics further exacerbated this situation and gave the proponents of anti-laicism a chance to strike the principle from within.

Accordingly, the Republican elite managed to shape the

mentality of the educated segment of the society; but they had never been so successful with respect to the villages and those living in the countryside, as a result of the limited opportunity for e d u c a t i o n . A n extension of this problem is very well manifested, when the Republic had tried to adopt the family structure according to Swiss Civil Code. The adoption was overtly successful. But, the inter-family ties continued to be based on authority, and religion continued to be perceived as a security m e c h a n i s m . i

As far as the practice of laicism is concerned, Ataturk had put forth a series of administrative mechanisms which enabled the state to interfere with the religious institutions directly. This provides an explanation to the question why in Turkey there has never been a complete separation of state affairs from the religious affairs, that although the state 'refrains itself from theological principles it acts as a supervisor over religious issues with the proclaimed task of preserving freedom of faith and worship. This critical relationship between the freedom of religion and the separation of the realm of religion from the state has been the main factor leading to the abuse of the notion of laicism by the proponents of anti-laic movements, who base their arguments on


the grounds that state should also leave religion to its own

sphere. From a different perspective, it can be said that the

incorporation of religious institutions into the state structure works in the way that can ease the permeation of the state by the proponents of anti-laic movements.

A more up-to-date problem, as far as the consolidation of the notion of laicism is concerned, has been the unprecedented economic and social changes, that the widening of the gap between the rich and the poor drew the latter to religion. However, the revival of Islam took place not only among the poor, but also made itself felt

among the rich as symbolized in the emergence of Islamic

enterprises, thus the emrgence of a new Muslim bourgeoisie with ample room for political maneouvering. Moreover, the accompaniment of political discontinuities to the changes at the economic level has helped the searches for alternatives to the laic structure of the Turkish Republic.

b. Anti-Laic Groupings

The problem of laicism in Turkey has been as much a result of the claim that religious freedom is not practiced in full, as of its indigenous contradictions. Besides, these shortfalls have been abused by the proponents of anti-laicism who believe that the main reason behind the contemporary problems of Turkey is the imposition

of Westernized laic political structure and the resultant


such Western, and especially American, values as laicism, freedom of morality, sexual freedom, materialism and the particular place given to the individual within the social structure. < ^) In a way, they accuse Kemalist reforms of destroying religious institutions and cultural values and of making up of an elite totally distinct from society and thus which have no opinion about the latter’s preferences.( )

The Islamic movement in Turkey, which outstandingly leads the anti-laic activities, pursues a revolutionary strategy aspiring a society which is mainly Muslim. The Islamic groups certainly believe in the impossibility of the existence of any domain of life independent of the influence of Islam. But, on the other hand, they do not deny the necessity of technological development any more. Rather, they put emphasis on the prerequisite that technological development should be limited in accordance with the requirements of the "Muslim society".(73)

The Islamic movement in Turkey can roughly be categorized as follows ;(74)

i. Traditional Islamic groups ii. Fundamentalists

Both the traditional and the fundamentalist Islamic groups sincerely believe in the unpopularity of the practice of laicism among the majority of the Turkish population and thus, are committed to the establishment of an Islamic State, though through different methods.


More specifically, the traditional Islamic groups try to permeate the state and all the secular institutions from within rather than pursuing a once-and-all revolutionary strategy, which can be interpreted as the tendency to acquire legitimacy for the time-being. This strategy is very well acknowledged by the fact that in Turkey considerable number of the prominent members of Islamic groups are positioned in secular professions. The Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of Education as well as the State Planning Organization make up good examples in this respect, as far as the civil bureaucracy is concerned.

Fundamentalists, on the other hand, mainly organize in orders which are the mere unifying force behind the "Volk Islam". These illegal institutions spread their anti-laic ideas by means of their journals. They are also in constant competition with the

state-controlled Presidency of Religious Affairs.(^6) sharing

almost the same ideology and the strategy with the other

fundamentalists abroad, they support the policy of radical change in the laic structure of the Turkish Republic. As an extension of this posture, they severely reject any bases of authority, other than the God and the Prophet Muhammed.

As a matter of fact, the reflections of the objectives of the fundamentalists at the institutional level can be found within the structure of the Rabitat-ul Alem-ul Islam ; as giving an end to the Western influence on the polity, economy and culture of the Muslim world, rejecting that kind of nationalism which is incompatible


with the principles of Islamic State, consolidating Shari’ah in each and every Muslim society, establishing Islamic State which

would unite all the Muslims of the world.

The credibility of the threat posed by the Islamic trends against the principle of laicism may also be attributed to the revival of Islam which began with the transition to multi-party politics and which continued to occupy the scene throughout the decades with an accelerating fashion. This revival is partly due to the continuation of the feeling of congregation even under the

Republican regime. This is clear in the resort to religious

rhetoric by the traditional socio-economic sectors when they face the danger of both economic and social extinction as a result of lacking behind modernization and W e s t e r n i z a t i o n , T h i s is the time when religion begins to play its role as a security mechanism.

To sum up one can argue that, there are a number of factors which either directly or indirectly affected the rise of Islam as an ideology to its peak, especially in the late 1970s and throughout the 1980s. Late 1970s were the years when political and social crisis has reached its limits as a result of the terrorism by the activities of the extremist groups, with the accompaniment

of Islamic Revolution in Iran and the acceleration in the

fundamentalist movements in the Middle East as two, more or less, effective outside developments, which would coincide with the ideological vacuum of the 1980s and hence reinforce the moulding of Islam as an alternative ideology.(8°)


However, when the issue turns to be the question of whether there is a real danger of an Islamic revolution in Turkey, one gets the sense that it is destined to attract negative responds. This can be attributed to the seemingly widespread agreement about the fact that the notion of laicism as well as the mechanism of a laic order has been entrenched within Turkish democratic regime!®''! and guaranteed both by the Civil Code and by the Turkish Military which still perceives itself as the main guardian of Kemalist principles.

Nevertheless, it should not be neglected that the "War of

Independence" was not of a religious nature and thus the Turkish Republic was built merely upon national values which were tried to be freed from religious sentiments.

5.Scope of the Study

This study aims to give a brief picture of the post-1983 pariiamentary parties in relation to the accelerating debate on the issue of laicism in Turkey. Political parties are important in this case, since -as indispensable elements of the democratic political

system- they continue to be the most« outstanding actors of

organized political contest in Turkish politics. Consequently, the political parties can be termed as crucial elements through which one can penetrate the policy making and policy implementation processes. Furthermore, the emergence of a party elite as different and vis-a-vis the traditional state elite in the post-1983 era enhanced the key positions of political parties in the state


affairs, even in the way that some of the state policies -including

those in relation to the principle of laicism- have been

reformulated by the party elite, despite resistance from the state levels.

The study consists of five chapters, including the

introduction whereby an insight to the term laicism with respect to both its literary meaning in general and its Turkish version are given. Additionally, the first chapter contains a historical backdrop of the issues related to laicism since the foundation of the Turkish Republic up to the 1980s. Ottoman past is also briefly mentioned to clarify why laicism in Turkey had followed a different path. The first chapter ends with the problems which put the consolidation of laicism in Turkey into difficulty.

The following chapters focus on the parliamentary parties more comprehensively. Hence, the second chapter contains an analysis of party programmes in order to get a clearer picture for making comparison in relation to their manifest ideological preferences as well as to their reference to the principle of laicism within the context of their programmatic commitments.

In Chapter III the relevant statements made by the party

deputies on the basis of the Records of the GNA are analysed.

Chapter IV provides an evaluation about the postures of the parliamentary parties as regards to the issue of laicism.

Finally, Chapter V contains conclusion whereby an overall discussion on the basis of the information gathered throughout the



(1) Amerikan G1z11 Belgelerinde : Türkiye’de İslamcı Akimlar. (Istanbul : Beyan Yayınları, Ağustos 1990), p.85

(2) Server Tanllli, İslam Caglmı'za Yan1t Verebilir m1?,______ (Ankara: Say Yayinlari, Nisan 1991), p.221.

(3) Amerikan Gizli Belgelerinde, op.cit., p.83.

(4) Niyazi Berkes, Türkiye’de Çağdaşlaşma, (Dogu-Bati Yayinlari, 1973), p.16,

(5) Ibid.

(6) Mustafa Erdoğan, "Laiklik ve Turk Uygulamasi

Üzerine Notlar", Türkiye Gunlugu, 13, Winter 1990, p,54. (7) In those countries where the notion of laicism has first emerged, the mechanisms of the state and the religion were institutionalized in separate bodies, whereas in the Turkish case religion used to be incorparated into the state structure as a result of the significant role it played at the societal level as a value system.

(8) Berkes, op.cit., p.20.

(9) Ozer Ozankaya, Türkiye’de Laiklik : Atatürk Devrimlerinin Temeli, 4^^*^ ed. (Istanbul : CemYayinevi, 1990), pp.168-171.

(10) Ibid.

(11) Berkes, op.cit., p.512. (12) Ibid., p.526.

(13) Amerikan Gizli Belgelerinde, op.cit., pp.29-30. (14) liter Turan, Westernization and Secularism in______


Contemporary Turkey, Occasional Paper, Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik, Ebenhausen, Germany, May 1989 p.8.

(15) Halil Inalcik, "Traditional Society (Turkey)," in

Political Modernization in Japan and Turkey, Dankwart A.Rustow and Robert E. Ward, eds. (Princeton : Princeton University Press, 1964), p 4.

(16; Binnaz Toprak, "The State, Politics and Religion in Turkey," in State, Democracy and the Military rTurkey in the 1980s, Metin Heper and Ahmet Evin, eds. (Berlin Walter de Gruyter, 1988), p.121. (17) Inalcik, op.cit., pp.3,6. (18) Turan, op.cit., p.8. (19) Inalcik, op.cit·, 18. (20) Turan, op.cit., pp.18-19. (21) Inalcik, op.cit·, pp.10, 11, 12. (22) Ibid., p.17. (23) Ibid., p.19. (24) Turan, op.cit., p.20. (25) Inalcik, op.cit., p.22. (26) Berkes, op.cit., p.211. (27) Ibid., p.208.

(28) In the Ottoman era the masses were, most of the time, subject to domination by ayan, as well as by agas and the clerics who found it to their advantage to keep the populace attached to the traditional institutions (See Inalcik, p.24).


As far as the intellectual level is concerned, the nascent Ottoman-Turkish intellegentsia -i.e. Young Ottomans- who aspired the preservation of the Islamic-Turkish culture,

formed one of the main blockades to the modernization attempts of this period (See inalcik, p.23).

(29) İlkay Sunar and Binnaz Toprak, "Islam in Politics : The Case of Turkey," Government and Opposition, Autumn 1983,

Vol.18, 4, p.425. See also Feroz Ahmad, "Politics and Islam in Modern Turkey," Middle Eastern Studies, Winter 1991, p.3.

(30) Ahmad, Ibid.

(31) Ahmad, op.cit., p.6.

(32) Muzaffer Sencer, "Din Devlet IIiskileri/Din ve Toplum," Cumhuriyet Donemi Türkiye Ansiklopedisi, Vol.2-3, 1983 ed., p.564. (33) Ahmad, loc.cit. (34) Ozankaya, op.cit., p.193. (35) Toprak, op.cit., p.123. (36) Ozankaya, op.cit., p.192. (37) Toprak, op.cit., p.122. (38) Ozankaya, op.cit., p.243.

(39) Amerikan Gizli Belgelerinde, op.cit., p.33. (40) Toprak, op.cit., p.123.

(41) The RPP government enacted laws for the establishment of Imam Hatip Courses and Faculty of Theology within the body of Ankara University. Furthermore, the government allowed for


religious instruction in the primary education and let the reactivation of the orders. All these simply represent a slight reversal from the measures taken to consolidate the principle of laicism in Turkey.

(42) Amerikan Gizli Belgelerinde, loc.cit. See also Ahmad, op.cit., p.10.

(43) Ahmad, op.cit., p.9. (44) Ibid., p.10.

(45) Amerikan Gizli Belgelerinde, op.cit., p.36.

(46) Serif Mardin, "2000’e Dogru Kultur ve Din", Türkiye Gunlugu, 13, Winter 1990, p.10. See also Ahmad, op.cit., pp.10-11.

(47) Mete Tuncay, "Din-Devlet Iliskileri/Laiklik," Cumhuriyet Donemi Türkiye Ansiklopedisi, Vo1.2-3. 1983 ed. p.576.

(43) Amerikan Gizli Belgelerinde , op.cit., p.35. (49) Amerikan Gizli Belgelerinde, op.cit.,p.24. (50) Tuncay, op.cit., pp.576-577.

(51) Toprak, op.cit., p.125. (52) Ahmad, op.cit., p.13. (53) Tuncay, op.cit., p.578.

(54) 1960s witnessed an accelerated process of change with rapid growth and industrialization which in turn caused great dislocation throughout the society. The political reflections of this era can be seen in the fragmentation on the right as well as in the change of the policy of the RPP


which ended its links with the military bureaucratic elite. (See Ahmad, p.14) This situation would culminate in the coalition governments of the 1970s in which the NSP gained a prominent place.

(55) Metin Heper, The State Tradition in Turkey, Walkington, England : Eothon Press, 1986), p.134.

(56) Metin Heper, "State and Society in Turkish Political Experience" Metin Heper and Ahmet Evin eds. (1988), p.8. (57) Metin Heper, "The State, the Military and Democracy in Turkey", Jerusalem Journal of International Relations, Vol.9, No.3, 1987, p.61.

(58) Article 163 of Turkish Criminal Code confines the penalty for propogandizing through religious means to such goals as the achievement of political ambition and personal interest. (59) The annullment of Articles 141,142 and 163 of Turkish Criminal Code was published in the "Official Newspaper" (Resmi Gazete) on 12 April 1991, under Article 23 of "Law Against Terror" (Terörle Mücadele Kanunu).

See Ozankaya, op.cit., p.7, and Ahmad, op.cit., p.9. (60) For the details on the post-1983 political parties inter alia., see Ustun Erguder, "Post-1980 Parties and Politics in Turkey," in Perspectives on Democracy in Turkey, Ergun Ozbudun ed. (Ankara : Turkish Political Science Association, 1988) and liter Turan, "Political Parties and the Party System in Post- 1983 Turkey," in Heper and Evin eds.


(61) Welfare Party was founded on 19 July 1983 and

appearantly took over the mentality of the "National Outlook". One can say that the WP displays no such outstandingly

religious posture as far as its programme is concerned. On the contrary, both in the party programme and in the speeches of

its prominent members the loyalty to Kemalist principles and thus to the principle of laicism is taken as the starting point. However, the inherent Islamic tendency specific to the party should also be noted.

(62) Omer Faruk Genckaya, "The Impact of Organizational

Attributes on Legislative Performance: A Structural-Functional Analysis of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey, 1983-1987", Unpublished Ph.D. dissertation, (Boğaziçi University,1990), pp.52-53.

(63) Ibid.

(64) Serif Mardin, Din ve ideoloji, 3^*^ ed., (iletişim Yayinlari, 1986), pp.60-67,110.

(65) Dogu Ergi 1, Atatürkçü Toplum ve Siyaset Felsefesi_______ Acisindan Laiklik, (Ankara : Adalet Matbaacilik Ltd., January

1990), p.41.

(66) Berkes, op.cit., p.475. (67) Ibid., p.111.

(68) Amerikan Gizli Belgelerinde, op.cit., p.31. (69) Mardin, op.cit., pp.25-26,58.


(71) Amerikan Gizli Belgelerinde, op.c i t., p. 17. (72) Ibid., pp.63-64.

(73) Ozankaya, op.clt., p.51.

(74) Amerikan Gizil Belgelerinde, op.cit., pp.69-90. (75) Ibid., p.71.

(76; Ibid., p.76.

(77) Nokta Dergisi, 16 June 1985, pp.30-31. See also Server Tanilll, op. clt., p,209; Bahriye Ucok, RGNA, Vo1.38, Sess.86, (April 1987), p.547.

(78) Mardin, op.cit., p.111. (79) Ergll, op.cit., p.43.

(80) Amerikan Gizil Belgelerinde, op.cit., pp.49-54. (81) Doğu Ergil, "Cumhuriyetin Ana Siyasal Felsefesi : Laiklik," Gunes Gazetesi, February 15^^^, 1991, p.11.



In order to delineate the postures of the post-1983

parliamentary parties as regards to laicism, one must define the relative positions of each and every party on the ideological spectrum according to their programmatic commitment.

Parliamentary parties relatively have more opportunity for

direct participation in the policy making and implementation

procedures -either at the government or at the opposition level-, when compared to the political parties outside the parliament. Aside from that, they gain an overwhelming prominence at the level of political participation in Turkish context as a result of the

low level of organization -numerically insufficient and

functionally ineffective- at the other societal sectors.

Therefore, here only those parties which have been able to form parliamentary groups during the course of 17^·^ GNA (1983-1987), are taken as units of analysis, -i.e. the Populist Party (PP), the Social Democratic Populist Party (SDPP), the Democratic Left Party (DLP), which are presumed to reside on the centre left, and the Nationalist Democracy Party, (NDP) the True Path Party (TPP) and the Motherland Party (MP) on the centre and/or centre-right of the ideological spectrum, on the basis of the image they draw in their programmes.


the period between 1983-1987, which can be refered as a transition

period. This period is also significant to study since the

parliament has begun to embody such deputies with low level of seniority among the ranks of mostly the new established political parties.

Taking the party programmes as basic reference sources for their manifest ideology, in the following paragraphs the general standing of the parties in relation to their position on the right- centre-left dimension, is presented. Later on, the approaches to the principle of laicism within the same framework, are analysed. However, it should also be noted that party programmes do not necessarily represent the actual posture of the parties. Rather, they are seen more as instruments to attract as much electorate as possible(2), which in turn increases the possibility of bias in the analysis.

1.General Standing of the Parties

In this section three criteria will be the main focus of attention in finding out the differences among the parties as a result of their ideological preferences^^) along the right-centre- left dimension :

a. The Economic Policy as Stated in the Party Programmes

1. State-Run Economy : The state is perceived not only as a regulator, but also as an active partner in the running of the economy; with an overall dominance.


ii. Free Market Economy : The state is seen just as a supervisor in the conduct of free-competition and hence it is expected to refrain from interfering with the conduct of market operations in the way of

constraining, organizing or facilitating any individual initiative.

b. State Figure as Perceived by the Parties^'·) i, A Dominant State Figure in the Societal Life ii. Priority to the Promotion of the Individual c. Religiosity(S)

i. Emphasis on the Importance of Spiritual Values in Public Life

ii. Tendency to Link the Religious Values with the Nationalistic Posture

The underlying reason in choosing the above mentioned criteria lies in the fact that the main divergence among the parties -as far as their programmatic rhetoric are concerned- comes about, firstly, in relation to the economic policies offered.

On the other hand, the issue of "State figure" is significant in the sense that the historical background which proceeded the establishment of Turkish Republic had one of patrimonial state system which necessitated the presence of a strong state over and above the society. Moreover, the founders of the Turkish Republic, despite the proclamation that it was established on the grounds of national sovereignty, initiated a totally dominating state figure


with the aim of consolidating the new system. Thus, state in Turkish context, -both at the societal and institutional level- has been one of a respected figure, while holding the ropes in its hands.

It should be clear why religiosity has been one of the major issues in this study; that the standing of each and every party in this respect provides the researcher with additional information in the way of getting an insight to their relative postures as regards to laicism.

a. Economic Policy

To begin with, all the three parties which assume a left-of- centre position -i.e. the PP, the SDPP and the DLP- tend to give support to state planning in the economic sphere. However, they differ in relation to the nature and extent of the state’s role in the running of the economy.

In this context the PP has the most extreme disposition that it holds the state responsible for the task of directing the economy to the advantage of the society.

As parallel to the PP, the SDPP, too, approves the

essentiality of state planning in almost all sectors ranging from agriculture to transportation and foreign trade, while severely rejecting private entrepreneurship in energy production as well as in the exploitation of natural resources. However, it should also be noted that the party -not surprisingly- avoids any extreme


industrial sector, and/or as a catalyst in the market operations. <>

The other extreme figure within the left-wing is the DLP,

whichy totally condemns both the state-run and the free market

e c o n o m y . M o r e o v e r , the party refers to the notion of invisible hand as the instrument of monopolistic capital which can attract state support by means of pacification of the public s e c t o r . A s an extension of the proclaimed tendency of the party to approach

each and every issue from a democratic and liberitarian

perspective, in the party programme, an all-out domination of the importance is given to the public sector. Thus, the state is perceived just as an instrument in the economic sphere which would handle the regulation of the economy through public participation and to the benefit of the society.

One significant point in the party programme is the weighty presence of the reference to the necessity of long range economic planning under state supervision, but of course, by means of

democratic and active public participation. Accordingly, the

programme presupposes that the targets of the planning be

designated at the centre and together with the participation of economic and social public organizations as well as organizations of the private sector and local administrative units. H D


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