It will be extremely difficult for Turkey to move forward while the parliamentary system, which was designed to disperse political power and keep the guardianship regime in place, remains intact
With the 2015 parliamentary elections fast approaching, certain groups started talking about the possibility that a coalition government might take over after the vote. The memory of how the parliamentary system led the country to countless failures remains quite vivid among Turkish citizens. The fact that the opposition has no better idea but to push for a coalition government alone demonstrates how the parliamentary system leads to a vicious cycle in the political arena.
The parliamentary system serves as an easily-accessible shortcut to chaos and turmoil in transitioning democracies. Over the past two decades, parliamentarism led to various economic crises, social tensions and other forms of conflict in Ukraine, Italy, Belgium and Greece among others. After suffering from similar problems for half a century, Turkey started to normalize under the Justice and Development Party (AK Party). The party's complex and deep political and social significance, coupled with the fact that it was able to form a single-party government, has been the driving force behind its empowerment and the country's transformation.
There is no doubt that the parliamentary system addresses the problem of representation at a very primitive level. The most recent parliamentary elections, for instance, clearly showed that the 10 percent threshold had become largely obsolete since 95 percent of voters came to be represented at the Parliament. Considering that the remaining, geographically scattered voters would be unable to claim any seats at the legislative assembly even with no threshold, political representation has been nearly perfect. In this sense, the parliamentary system has effectively solved the problem of representation.
Addressing the problem of representation, however, does not necessarily mean that the parliamentary system has developed an additional capacity to address challenges. It is, after all, not always possible to coherently answer the question about executive power and decision-making within the limits of parliamentarism - which does not automatically render political parties able to assume responsibility and execute decisions. As a matter of fact, the parliamentary system often represents an inherently contradictory machine that organizes elections to create a multitude of actors rather than empower elected officials to govern. As such, parliamentarism aims to perpetuate a vicious cycle which reduces representation to elections, the initial stage of democracy, instead of identifying power-holders.
Over the past 13 years, the AK Party created an exception within the parliamentary system to eliminate its aforementioned contradictions by overcoming rather great challenges. The party won nine consecutive elections despite the regime's tendency to disperse political power and proceeded to form single-party governments. Ahead of the 2015 elections, the opposition relies on nothing but the parliamentary system's tendency to generate instability. Briefly put, they are merely interested in becoming slightly more influential in case Turkey's political landscape becomes less efficient and more difficult to govern. At the same time, their current position reflects their ability to exploit loopholes to accumulate political power in the old Turkey era.
Many countries have already transformed their administrative system and implemented new measures while flying below the radar. In future years, Turkey must engage in comprehensive reforms to change its old ways. Otherwise, it will be extremely difficult to move forward while the parliamentary system, which was designed to disperse political power and keep the guardianship regime in place, remains intact. Add an elected president to the mix and the magnitude of Turkey's systemic challenges will become clearer.