(In)Effectiveness of Social Movements in Turkish Democracy: Institutional and Non-institutional Cases
Yıldırım focuses on a number of specific social movements in Turkish political history. He argues that social movements in Turkey were not leading agents in changing the political system until the late 1990s. There are two reasons for this ineffectiveness one connected to the movements themselves and one to the state reaction. Social movements in Turkey always concentrated on the big questions. Rather than focusing on specific issues in society or in democratic culture, the movements attempted to change or save the government itself. The state, on the other hand, responded to these attempts from the foundation of the Republic by emphasising national security rather than the development of democracy. Yıldırım explores how the Islamic and the Kurdish movements, which began their struggle with the state as non-institutionalised movements, were eventually transformed into political parties. The chapter concludes with a discussion of how the successful takeover of power by the Islamic movement eventually meant a redefinition of the state response in the 2000s.