Turkey is a Republican Parliamentary Democracy. Essentially, that means that the people elect representatives in parliament, and parliament elects government officials. They are a mostly democratic society with a few authoritarian traits lingering in their culture and government system. These traits have been decreasing over time. Turkey is also considered a collectivist culture. They scored a 37 on Individualism based on Hofstede’s 6-Dimensional model for analyzing different culture, and a 37 is considered a low score on the scale. Turkey’s economic system also reflects their government system. They have a market economy, and they are ranked 70th in the world in freest economies on the 2015 Index of Economic Freedom, which raise the question: what kind of political system govern the Republic of Turkey?
Turkey is a democracy, but it has taken a lot of trial and tribulation to reach the political system it has today. It used to have an Islamic-oriented government but has struggled to “westernize.” There have been military coups in 1960, 1971, 1980, and 1997 to name a few, and Turkish citizens have fought for representation, especially the Kurdistan People’s Congress (KGK). Since the late ‘90’s, political instability has more or less subsided. Turkey has a president (chief of state) and a prime minister (head of government). The president, currently Tayyip Erdoğan, is in charge of executive decisions and is a symbol for and of the Turkish people. He was the former prime minister and was elected into presidential office in 2014. Presidential terms are five years long, and the president can run for reelection. Ahmet Davutoğlu is the current prime minister.
In fact, The Turkish prime minister is appointed by the president from members of parliament whom main job is to create and manage laws and represent the Turkish people.Indeed, there are 550 seats in parliament whose position is elected by popular vote for 4 year terms. Turkey has a very multi-party system with 61 parties, of which there are 11 significant parties. The three with the biggest representation in parliament are the Justice and development party (AKP, 326 seats), Republican People’s Party (CHP, 135 seats), and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP, 53 seats). Turkey has a unicameral legislature, so parliament acts as what would be the American Senate and Congress. Voter turnout in Turkey in 2014 was 74.13%, 20% higher than the American voter turnout in 2012, which was 54.9%. Turkey has a parliamentary democracy, compared to the U.S. presidential democracy.
Having explored the political system, we still need to have a depict of the Turkish legal system in order to know how to set up a business in the midst of all the regulations and laws.
The Turkish legal system is in fact a civil law system that is based on various European legal systems notably the Swiss civil code. Unlike the US legal system, the Turkish court system does not recognize the concept of a jury. Verdicts for both criminal and civil trials are reached by a judge or usually a panel of three judges, who have to base their verdicts on the law and their conviction. Dispute resolution in Turkey is a fundamental duty of State. For any dispute arising from a legal relationship between the concerned parties, application to the state courts is the initial and essential judicial remedy. When it comes to employment relationships, they are regulated by the Labour Code and its relevant regulations. On that account, Employment contracts are governed by the law chosen by the parties, however If the parties have not chosen any law, the employment contract is governed by the law of the employee’s habitual workplace.
Basically, intellectual property rights have been protected under the general rules of Turkish law since the beginning of the Turkish Republic. However, special regulations came into force during the last decade, and now trademarks, patents and other intellectual property rights are protected in particular. The Turkish Patent Institute registers trademarks, patents, license agreements and such rights upon application. The application is made in writing via uniform documentation of the Turkish Patent Institute.
Having explored the political system in Turkey, we need to identify how involved is the government in regulating the economy.
Turkey is said to have a free-economy, but it is fairly close to a mixed-economy, similar to the United States. The government has intervened to implement some changes that can be traced back to the 1980’s, which include reducing government intervention; implementing a flexible exchange rate policy; liberalizing import regulations; increasing exports; encouraging foreign capital investment; establishing free trade zones; deregulating financial markets; privatizing State Economic Enterprises, and decentralizing government activities. An aggressive privatization program in Turkey has reduced state involvement in most basic industry, banking, transport, and communication. Emerging entrepreneurs are adding dynamism to the economy and expanding production beyond traditional textile and clothing sectors. Automotive, construction, and electronics industry have surpassed textiles within the export mix. Exports are increasing in Turkey through the Free Trade Agreements that are in place, and many more are in the works. Recent actions by the government to reduce trade deficit and current account deficit are to increase exports and have an export-oriented manufacturing strategy. However, both the United States and Turkey are importing more than they are exporting. The United States economy and Turkey’s economy are striving for the same economy with a laissez faire approach with intervention only when required. Which makes it legitimate to ask, what was the consequence of this government intervention on the economic development.
Turkey is an active trading country. Since it joined to World Trade Organization and EU Customs Union Agreement in 1995th the volume of trade increased dramatically. After joining WTO Turkey started actively implement trade policies and standards recommended by WTO. In this process, establishing open market economy and involvement into international trade showed great interest of Turkey to become a part of integrated part if world. To accomplish it Turkey as an emerging market needed to implement more liberal policies in trade compared with other potential new markets. As a result of adoption open and liberal foreign trade Turkey became one of active trade countries in the world. Particularly, in 2010 the trade volume reached $ 299.4 which is increased from 30.9% in 1994 to 40.9% in 2010. As a part of openness and integration Turkey sign a number of Free Trade Agreements. Besides Turkey’s biggest FTA partner – EU, there are number of countries with which Turkey has special trade benefits. For example, in Europe there are Macedonia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Albania, Serbia and Montenegro signed FTAs with Turkey which gave to both of side a lot of preferences in trade. Georgia, Israel, Egypt, Tunisia, Syria, Jordan and Chili are another strategic trade partners which provide approximately 30% of Turkey export.
Even though Turkey is considered to be and economically prosperous country, It still face some political instability. Thus, a wave of demonstrations in Turkey began on 28 May 2013. The conflict was formatted by the protests against civil removing of Taksim Gezi Park and replacing it with a mall. Therefore, the protests were sparked by the violent behavior of the police toward the sit in protesters.
The action s of the police during the demonstration showed inhuman behavior. They used live ammunition and tear gas to the protesters. Moreover, they used sexual assault to the women protesters in order to decrease the tension of the conflict. Therefore, the Amnesty International organization stated that Turkey still faces human rights issue including human rights violations on a massive scale shown during the demonstration.
Nowadays, Turkey faces a number of human rights issues. The tension between Kurdish and Turkish people is still a problem on the Turkish territories. Turkish government sees the expression of Kurdish identity as a threat to Turkish unity. Another issue that Turkish society faces is the issue of LGBT minorities. The fact of having a different sexual orientation is not a crime in Turkey; however, it is only on the paper. There were different cases when LGBT activist were killed because of their view on the LGBT issue. Thus, Human Rights Watch published a 123-page report that discusses the history of the Turkish society violence toward the sexual minorities. Another aspect of minority issues include the violence toward women, disabled people and religious minorities. Even thought, Turkey was one of the first countries that gave full social and political rights to women, it still deals with domestic violence, forced marriages, and so-called honor killings.
Analyzing the social issues of the Turkish nation, one can assume that Turkey still has corruption and bribery issues. Turkey faced biggest corruption scandal in 2013. The article stated that “On Dec. 17, 2013, police officers raided several homes, including two belonging to the families of the ruling elite. In the course of the investigation the police confiscated some $17.5 million in cash, money allegedly used for bribery: $4.5 million was found at the residence of Suleyman Aslan, the director of state-owned Halkbank, and $750,000 at the home of Baris Guler, son of the former minister of the interior”. Now Turkey faces a tremendous race of the corruption and place 53th out of 177 by the global corruption index.