Politics, religion, and culture where East meets West

True Turkish liberals?

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It is a crucial question whether these people exist in Turkish politics, and to what degree they understand the meaning of “liberal democracy.” Mr. Erdemir seems genuine enough, but his education and party affiliation suggest that he is indeed a rare case, and not a very influential one.

A Turkish Liberal Democrat?
Claire Sadar; Atatürk’s Republic; Oct. 4th, 2013

A true liberal democrat is a rare species in Turkish politics but it appears that they do in fact exist. Last week I attended a talk by a Turkish MP from Bursa Aykan Erdemir. Erdermir is an interesting figure: a young Harvard PhD and former professor who was elected as  a CHP MP from the AKP dominated district of Bursa in 2011. His talk, titled ”Prospects for Pluralist Democracy in post-Gezi Turkey” painted a clear-eyed picture of the causes of the Gezi protests and real problems Turkey faces if it is to become a truly liberal democracy.

Erdemir identified a number causes that worked in conjunction to create popular uprisings in Turkey this summer. He believes demographic changes that Turkey has been undergoing for the last several decades are central to growing political discontent. The shift from large, extended families to small, nuclear ones has changed a formerly heavily patriarchal society into what he dubbed a “child-archal” society. Erdemir believes that the patriarchal state is out of sync with the changing family dynamic; a dynamic which has resulted in an more individualist world-view amongst the younger generations. He also mentioned the population shift from rural to urban areas, the growing export based economy and the increasing educational attainments of the average Turk as factors that have resulted in a significant societal shift.

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Written by M. James

October 5, 2013 at 12:05 am

Posted in Politics, Turkey

Tagged with , ,

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