Turkey and Factionalism

Last night, we read federalist paper number 10 by James Madison. This paper talked about how factions can cause damage, but they are inevitable because people will naturally form different opinions based upon their interests.1 However, to abolish factions would be the same as to expel the freedom of assembly, and also man’s liberty.1 Madison describes more powerful factions versus less powerful ones and the importance of electing representatives to promote the greater good. He offers that the best way to suppress violence in factions is to grant every citizen a perpetuating commonality – the Union.1

I read an article in the New York Times called “Can Turkey Overcome Its Bitter Factionalism?” It explains the uncertainty of how the 2018 election will play out (which is now in the past), because of how highley factioned the country is. Turkey has not formed a unifying identity that includes all of its citizens, such as the Union Madison talks about. Turkey is split between many religious and ethnic interest groups.2 Factionalism is also abundant because institutions in Turkey mostly protect the interests of the state and lack civil society.2 Therefore, citizens are forced to turn to their own backgrounds for support and inclusion.2

Hypothetically, how could Turkey utilize it’s factions to protect a greater number of societal interests?

One way for all factions to be represented in government is through the use of a PR system. This is a great way for minority representation. Although it would worsen ethnic divisions and violence, it would allow for more of these interests to be regarded. The other option is through an SMD system. This would be most beneficial if all members of the same group were congregated in a distinct area. However, governments and parties must be more institutionalized for this to be successful. Turkey is still a developing democracy, and democratization takes a very long time, especially in a divided area with numerous parties.

1 James Madison “The Same Subject Continued: The Utility of the Union as a Safeguard against Domestic Faction and Insurrection” Comparative Politics: Classic and Contemporary Readings (2017).

2 Jenny White, “Can Turkey Overcome Its Bitter Factionalism?” The New York Times (June 18, 2018) https://www.nytimes.com/2018/06/12/opinion/turkey-election-erdogan-opposition.html

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