Prof. Dr. Durgun: "The concept of democracy has changed in meaning"
Istanbul University, Institute of Ataturk's Principles and History of Turkish Revolution, held the 46th of Near Term Turkey Talks online via the zoom. Prof. Dr. Şenol Durgun, who participated in the interview, in his speech titled “Uniting the Republic with Democracy: Intellectual Difficulties” said: “Democracy has undergone changes in meaning from the 18th to the 20th century. Now limited liability government transformed into an administrative system that includes human rights and rule of law.”
Prof. Dr. Durgun, who is the author of many political sciences books such as Modernization and Politics, Contemporary Political Systems, Turkish Nationalism Portraits, Nation Building and Nationalism, and the Transformation of Politics of the Republic, made most of his speech titled “Uniting the Republic with Democracy: Intellectual Difficulties” on the definitions of liberal an the Republic and their mutual relations and in light of them made assessments on th Trukish practices.
Stating that unlike liberal politics, there is no individual in Republican politics, Prof. Durgun said that liberal politics preferred the good person, and republican politics preferred the good citizen. Emphasizing that the republican politics is based on the French J.J. Rousseau's concept of general will and aims for the common good, Durgun added that by the time, the general will turn to the national will as it is known in Turkey, that takes into account the past-future-state national will, and that the concept of popular will of democratic politics is based only on the moment.
According to Prof. Dr. Durgun, evaluating the development of the republic and democracy in Turkey in terms of 1923 and after “Qanun-i Asas Turk” there are “Guest Turk/Semi Turk and Real Turk/Perfect Turk.” He also stated that Republican politics is based on two types of opposition such as anti-sultanate and theoretical opposition, and is shaped on four concepts. These concepts were one homeland for common benefit (Anatolia), one society (Turkish), One thought (nationalism), One goal (independence). More importantly, he stated that official nationalism has two aspects such as civilizationism and nationalism. Durgun finished his words stating that since 1947 allowed democracy is practiced in Turkey and the Constitution of 1961 was in tendency with the Left and also it was tutelary constitution.
“THE CONCEPT OF THE REPUBLIC IS THE REASON OF EXISTENCE OF ALL POLITICAL LIFE”
The Institute Director from Istanbul University Prof. Dr. Mustafa Budak made important statements in his speech. He continued his speech, which he started on the concept of republic, as follows:
“The only thing that represented the complete break from the Ottoman period was the regime of the new state. The concept that is constantly emphasized in the new state has always been the republic. When the republic needs to be protected, glorified and assured that it will exist forever, the concept of republic has constituted the reason for the existence of all political life and the only legitimacy source of political behavior. Political parties which are indispensable elements of political life are established to protect the republic in Turkey and to glorify him. Especially in the interim periods, some politicians or political parties discuss "the values of the republic" and the protection of these "values".”
Prof. Dr. Budak, who said that the Turkish Armed Forces had always been an actor of Turkish political life during the Republican period and that the Turkish Armed Forces had protected the republic and intervened in the normal functioning system, added: “Seeing this in this way is because the Republic, which is actually an administrative form, has also been transformed into a means of achieving "progress" and "modernity". This outlook leads us to a distress inherent in Turkish modernization, the tension between the Republic and democracy. The intellectual and social projection of this can be found in the difficulty of uniting the citizen of the Republic and the individual of democracy discursively and fictionally. This problem is the blocking of the modernization process with the spread of a modernization project belonging to the early Republican period and the citizen-individual identification specific to this project by the modernizing state and intellectuals to all periods of the Republic.”
“THE REPUBLIC AND DEMOCRACY ARE RIVAL MODELS”
Lastly, Budak, who stated that the republic and democracy are two models of political and social order that are not compromise but actually rivals to each other, ended his words as follows:
“These developments occurred at a time when (in an era where the danger of extinction of the republic) had been built in the Republic of Turkey. It has two functional meaning of the republic in Turkey. First of all, a new nation-state was being established, and in this context, the founding cadres saw that the republic was incomparably functional with its prioritizing social structure in the process of the formation of the nation sought for the new state.
In particular, the liberalization process initiated in the neo-liberal period after 1980, Turkey has undergone drastic changes. After this period, the country partially raised its own liberal individual and this new human typology started to question the republic understood as a style of politics.
The new individual who finds the pursuit of personal benefit more meaningful does not find it as meaningful to pursue the republican common good design as it was before. In today's democratic managerial approach in line with rising demand in Turkey it has taken a more dominant qualities.”