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  • What does democracy mean?
  • Democracy is a form of government in which all members or citizens in the world have equal rights to shape organization or state policy. It derives from the Greek word (δῆμος, ie dimos, populist, people + κράτος, kratos, power). Universities, workers ‘and employers’ organizations and some other civil institutions and organizations can be managed by democracy, although they are often regarded as state governance forms.


  • The mainland was criticized by the philosophers of Aristotle and Plato in Ancient Greece and was characterized by humiliating concepts such as the “rule of the foot” in the public. But democracy has become the most widely used state system in today’s world. Now, politicians have entered into debates about which democracy is better than which system works better, and liberal, communist, socialist, conservative, anarchist and fascist thinkers have tried to bring the virtues of their systems to the forefront. For this reason, many different definitions of democracy have emerged.


  • Definition of Democracy
  • The debate on the definition of democracy is still an ongoing debate. This may be due to the use of the definition of democracy in order to justify the views of some institutions in the country, the efforts of non-democratic states to promote themselves democratically, and in fact the use of the general concept of democracy alone (constitutional democracy, social democracy, liberal democracy etc.). Democracy has different references:


  • Management of the majority
  • Management that assures minority rights;
  • Poor management;
  • Management struggling to eliminate social inequality;
  • Management that is trying to establish equality of opportunity;
  • Management based on the support of the public to be in public service.


  • People
  • The commonness of democracies, whether minority, poor or rich, depends on the people. In daily life, people are supposed to cover all people living in a country, but since the time of democracy in practice – even if it has been enlarged in heart – a limitation has been placed on the public. For example, the right to vote in the elections held after the French Revolution was only known to the citizens who could pay a certain amount of tax, and in the US the first time the black race in the southern states voted for the first time in 1960s. The right to choose for women was first given in New Zealand in 1893. The right to full participation in elections has not been given in any country until the 20th century. We will also add to these notions of the unresponsiveness arising from the will of the individuals who make up the people; In practice the population turns into a majority.


  • As seen in the references made to democracy, the self-rule of the people is the basic basis. This is achieved through direct influence, such as referenda, as well as indirect means such as rallies and demonstrations, as well as voting, which allows them to choose the people to make their own decisions.


  • Theories of democracy
  • There are two different theories of democracy about democratic states.


  • Normative democracy theory
  • According to this theory, in order for the democracy to be fully realized, decisions must be satisfied with the whole of the people. But in real life this is impossible. Because each individual has different expectations, wants and needs; It is impossible to please everyone at the same time. Throughout this theory is an ideal and utopian theory. Nowadays it is not applied in any state.


  • Empirical democracy theory
  • According to this theory, democracy tries to please as much as possible, not the whole of the people. The goal is to please as many people as possible, not everyone. Therefore, it is the most possible theory to apply in real life. Robert Dahl calls democracies designed according to this theory ‘polyarchy’. The criteria that determine whether a democratic state is a democratic polyarchy are:


  • Persons to use senior political authorities (President, prime minister, ministers, etc.) shall be elected.
  • Selections are made periodically, seamlessly.
  • Opposition parties are given the opportunity to seize power. (For example, the election threshold is kept low or the election of the same president over the top is prohibited.)
  • There is no single party administration. Multiple parties are allowed to be established.
  • Basic human rights are guaranteed by the constitution.
  • Elections are free; No voter is forced to vote or not.
  • Robert Dahl does not consider democratic states that do not fulfill these conditions.


  • Democracy history
  • Antiquity
  • Democracy was first applied in Ancient Greece, in the city states. This system, which is very close to democracy, is also known as Athens democracy. In theory, all citizens had the right to vote in the parliament and to speak the opinion, but according to the circumstances of that day, women, slaves and those who were not born in that city state (metics, established foreigners) did not have these rights. If we consider Athens as the most powerful practitioner of this system: BC It is estimated that the population in the 4th century is between 250,000 and 300,000. It is estimated that 100,000 of this population is an Athenian citizen, and among the citizens of Athens there is an adult male population with only 30,000 voting rights.
  • The state system applied during the Roman Empire period was close to representative democracy. Democratic rights were generally shaped by social class distinction and power was in the hands of the elite. However, systems applied in some regions in Old India are likened to representative democracy. Parallel to the Roman Empire, it can be said that the existence of the caste system is in the hands of a wealthy and noble minority.


  • Middle Ages
  • The greatest event in the development process of democracy in the Middle Ages is the signing of the Magna Carta Libertatum (Great Contract), which confines the king’s powers in England to the clergy and the people. In line with this document, the first elections were held in 1265. However, due to restrictions, only a small proportion of the people could participate in these elections.


  • In many countries, there were occasional democratic practices in state administration. For example, in small urban areas in Italian city states, Scandinavian countries, Ireland and in different countries, there were practices like the election of the principles of democracy and the formation of parliament. But in all, participation in democracy was restricted to standards such as being a man, a certain amount of taxation.


  • 18th and 19th centuries
  • In the 18th and 19th centuries, democracy has become a rapidly rising value through the American Declaration of Independence and the Declaration of French Human and Citizen Rights. Before these centuries, democracy was referred to as a form of government that conformed not only to large states but to small communities, and was essentially defined as direct democracy. The system formed by the providers of the establishment of the United States can be described as the first liberal democracy. The american constitution adopted in 1788 provided for the elections of the governments and the protection of human rights and freedoms. Many colonies in North America were democratic before colonial times. The colonists had the right to choose the white men, who were able to differentiate the colonies, give a certain amount of tax in all, or meet some desired qualities. After the American Civil War, amendments made in the 1860s allowed slaves freedom and one of the basic principles of democracy, the right to vote, was recognized by the Fifteenth Constitutional Amendment, but in the southern provinces, blacks were not allowed to vote until the 1960s.


  • In the French Revolution of 1789, a constitution was drafted and a ruling parliament elected by the people was divided among the king. The National Convention government came to the general election and a two-point election. But in the years that followed, Napoleon’s success in democracy was far removed.


  • 20th century
  • In the 20th century, democracy showed a rapid change and development. At the turn of the century, with the collapse of the Austro-Hungarian and Ottoman empires at the end of World War I, many new states emerged and the state governments of these new countries generally had methods that could be considered democratic in that turn. During the Great Depression, which emerged in 1929, dictators emerged in many countries in Europe, Latin America and Asia. While fascist dictatorships emerged in Spain, Italy, Germany and Portugal, non-democratic governments came to power in the Baltic and Balkan countries, Cuba, Brazil, Japan and Soviet Russia. For this reason, the 1930s Dictators are described as the age.


  • II. After World War II, the understanding of colonialism was over and many independent countries emerged again. Democratization movements concentrated in Western Europe. In Germany and Japan, dictatorships ended, instead of the policy of arms, II. At the end of World War II, the agreements signed with the aim of being a welfare state.


  • One of the biggest contests in the 20th century was the Cold War between the non-democratic Soviet bloc countries and Western democracies. The struggle between Soviet Russia, which is trying to spread communism, and the western group of the US leadership, which is trying to spread liberal democracy out of other kinds of democracy, ended in 1989. In Francis Fukayama’s “The End of History“, the end of the Cold War, liberal democracy is spread throughout the world. As a matter of fact, this process of democratization continues with the recent Rose Revolution in Georgia, the Orange Revolution in Ukraine.


  • Democracy models
  • The systems applied in the history of democracy are quite diverse. These can be briefly grouped into five groups:


  • Classical Democracy
  • It is based on ancient Greek city-states. It is also called the Athens democracy because of its best practitioner and the strongest city of Athens at that time. “All major decisions were taken by the council or the Addisation, to which all citizens belong. This assembly was meeting at least forty times a year. When full-time public officials were needed, they were selected by lot or alternation to be a small sample representing all citizens, and their mandates were shortened to ensure the widest possible participation. The council had a council of five hundred citizens operating as the executive committee, and a committee of fifty people prepared proposals to the council. The committee’s mission is just a diary. The only exception was the possibility of reelection of the ten generals in military matters.
  • The characteristic of Athens democracy was that its citizens wanted to participate broadly in political responsibilities. Of course, the most important reason for this was democracy, a system of slavery that was implemented in a contrary manner. Thus, Athens, who has the right to vote, has put a great deal of daily responsibilities of all men over twenty years old at the back of their slaves. Apart from this, women in democracy in Athens, meticulars (non-urban) and slaves were not allowed to vote.
  • The application of classical democracies, which can survive in the small cantons of Switzerland today with the popular assemblies, is not preferred due to technical reasons to be applied in larger countries.


  • Protective democracy
  • The Europeans who tried to get out of the medieval administrations saw democracy in the 18th and 19th centuries as a way of protecting themselves from the tyranny of the government.
  • Conservative democracy offers a limited and indirect model of democracy. In practice, the residence of the rulers is ensured by regular and competitive elections. Political equality thus becomes a technical concept expressing equal voting rights. Moreover, voting is not enough for a real democracy. In order to protect individual freedoms, it is essential to establish a system based on separation of powers through legislative, executive and judicial powers.


  • Developmental democracy
  • It considered the development of the individual and the society as essential. The most radical of such democracies is voiced by Jean-Jacques Rousseau. According to him, individuals can be ‘free’ only if they participate directly and continuously in shaping the decisions of the society they are in. From this point of view, democracy is defined directly, and the general will to be formed in this way is divided into the claims that citizens will have freedom if they obey.
  • The more moderate form of developmental democracy, liberal democracy, was spoken by John Stuart Mill. According to Mill, the greatest benefit of democracy is the strengthening of their understanding and sensitivities by providing citizens with political participation. So, if you are a poor woman, you should have the right to vote. But he did not defend his right to vote as ‘equal’. For example, unskilled laborers argued that one vote-qualified worker should have two votes, well-versed profession owners should have five votes, and thus be able to get rid of the fear of “tyranny of the majority” in the democracy. He simply stated that while everyone is advocating for the right to vote, decisions made by the majority may not always be right.


  • Liberal democracy
  • It has been argued throughout history that democracy should be accorded freedom or equality, and history has often encountered efforts to produce a system theory that will hold these two together. Liberal democracy is one of them. Liberalism, which he has in himself, represents equality with the concept of political equality in democracy. When we think about this, we must separate liberalism in the discipline of economy from liberalism in the discipline of politics.


  • Simply liberal democracy; We can define it as a political system in which the people determine the power, but this power is limited to individual freedoms.
  • Liberal democracies are the main characteristics of liberal democracy and the introduction of elected representatives through elections held in the principles of tolerance and all the ideas of competition and political equality.


  • Social democracy
  • This concept includes a variety of democracy in communist regimes. Although there are differences among themselves, it is a strictly contradictory line with liberal democracy systems. They have argued that social democracy and economic equality must be provided in addition to political equality in general.
  • Karl Marx argued that after the fall of capitalism, the revolutionary dictatorship of a temporary proletariat would become a communist society by the system of proletarian democracy. The idea of ​​the system of democracy seen in the communist states belongs to Lenin rather than Marx.
  • In these countries, there is widespread criticism that the unchecked power of parties leaves democracy in the shadows.






  • Concepts related to democracy
  • Republic with democracy
  • The Republic is a regime and democracy is one of the forms of the republic. Besides the democratic republic, there are religious republic, oligarchic republic and socialist republic. In democratic republics, the presidency of the legislature and the country is periodically elected by the people. While this system is generally accepted in the Land of Europe, for example, in the UK it is ruled by the people (oligarchic democracy) even though there is a king or queen apparently not elected by the people at the head of the country.
  • “In order for a republic to be a fully democratic republic, it is necessary to ensure that all sections of the people of that country, which coexist with voluntary associations, have a multidisciplinary, multi-faith, multi-ethnic identity with all democratic institutions, organizations and staffs, And a state structuring that allows various cultures to coexist together to form a mosaic.


  • Secularism with democracy
  • Secularism emerges as the general name of the idea of ​​the separation of religion from politics, which is brought forward by liberal democratic thinkers. Liberal democrats view the state as a necessity to stay at the same distance from all religions in order to prevent democracy from turning into ‘the tyranny of the majority’.
  • Although religious scholars and religious scholars of different religions oppose secularism in a spiritual sense in terms of various religions, these issues are often controversial. However, religious plenary democracy is generally accepted, and even some anti-secularist clericalists have argued that democracy can exist without secularism.


  • Separation of powers
  • The principle of separation of powers means that legislative, executive and judicial institutions are held in different organs of the state, preventing the power from being collected in one hand, and that these three institutions can supervise each other. “The approach of the state division of powers and the way they should be given to separate organs is also based on the classification of political regimes. According to this, the regimes in which the legislative and executive powers are gathered together are called the “forces union” and the systems in which these powers are given to independent bodies are called “systems of power separation”.
  • John Locke distinguishes the power of power as legislative, executive, and federative. “Here, federal power is expressed as the power to do all kinds of things with all groups, communities, wars, peace, unity, alliance, and the state.”
  • Thanks to the sharing of power, those who came to power through democratic means tried to prevent the establishment of their tyranny. The importance of mutual control with the principle of separation of powers, in particular II. It increased after the advent of Adolf Hitler before the World War by democratic means.


  • Tools of democracy
  • Establishments and institutions aiming at the development of democracy, which provide the formation of democracy, are also present in many political systems. Although each state has a constitution or political party in every country, its names are changed as administrative forms. Because what is important is the relationships between these institutions.


  • Parliament
  • Democracy is an institution created by representatives of the people with parliament, competition and equal voting principles. Parliamentary systems have developed differently in each country, both in quality and quantity.
  • We can generalize it as a single-council system, a dual-council system and a presidential system. Again, as a task, we can generalize the powers as the institution that makes life in the first place. Functions of assemblies: legislation, representation, supervision and legitimacy.


  • Political parties
  • Parties are the means of representation. In democratic countries, the political party is one of the most important areas in which the individual will actively engage in politics. A two-party system or a multi-party system is formed according to the electoral systems in the countries.
  • The systems in which the two parties are predominant, as in the UK, are inclined to lead to a concentration in the ‘middle part’ of the majority of voters and to exclude more radical ideas. It is assumed that each party represents a large number of views.
  • In multi-party political systems, thoughts are more directly represented. There are parties who think they represent religious, ethnic or classroom considerations. While this popular sovereignty provides more reflection of the parliament, it is difficult to achieve stability because there are many parties with different opinions in parliament.


  • Constitution
  • The Constitution is a written document that determines how a basic state’s institutions will function. In addition, the rights and freedoms set out in this document determine the limits of what is in power in a society governed by the majority. It is regarded as a state body to prevent the tyranny of the majority by the Democratic thinkers.


  • Civil society organizations
  • Civil society organizations are not an organization that emerges with democracy, but it has gained importance with democracy. ‘Civil society is a way to hear the voices and wishes of the groups formed by people with common goals in common, while democracy gains the meaning of democracy in the modern manpower while solving the problems of participation in civil society. For example, businessmen struggling to reduce the state’s participation in the economy have gathered for various purposes, such as organizations aiming at equality in the social services of the state and unions attempting to increase the quality of life of workers or civil servants, and have strengthened democratic participation for this purpose. Moreover, they have been able to control representatives of the people for their own purposes, Are groups that try to create public opinion.


  • The nature of NGOs is that they have a pluralistic structure. According to Larry Diamond, “civil society makes this pluralistic structure incompatible with ethnic, religious, revolutionary or authoritarian organizations trying to control the political sphere.


  • Law enforcement agencies
  • It has always been a matter of debate how much army and police forces are in democracy and how much they should be. The discovery of police weapons monsters in the interior of the army against external threats made them necessary for democracy, as well as discussing them with the power to abolish or disrupt democracy.
  • In developed democratic countries, civilian politicians are both legally and actually above the army, and the army is involved as little as possible into the political decision-making mechanism. Particularly, the superiority of civilian politicians after the Cold War is increasing.
  • In democratically underdeveloped countries, the military is in direct or indirect decision-making with the councils. The common feature in such countries is; It is the most advanced institution among the institutions in the country and the closest institution to the modern world. ‘The military usually intervenes politically, usually due to economic backwardness, increased internal conflicts, loss of legitimacy of civilian administration, dispute between army and government, or a positive impact of international public opinion on the coup.’
  • The police are on the minds of the thinkers as to what happens if they start to move in the interests of the ruling class. Who will keep Aristotle from the ‘guards’ question? Despite the fact that the police force can not restrict the rights and freedoms provided by democracy and can account for the judiciary when necessary, there are disagreements about how and how much it should be done, even though the democratic thinkers are a common attitude.


  • Development of rights in democracy
  • Human rights
  • Human rights are based on the understanding that all people are born equal and free in terms of rights and dignity. Human rights give each individual freedom to make independent choices and to develop their skills. Because of its similarity to the definition of classical democracy, human rights and democracy are often used together today.


  • The precise complementarity between human rights and democracy: if human rights are a necessary condition for the complete development of the individual, a democratic society is a necessary condition for the exercise of these rights in order to constitute the framework for the development of the individual, and a democratic society voluntarily gives for the life of the community of individuals Human rights based on support are seen as a precondition for such a society


  • Womens and democracy
  • Even if political equality in democracy is fundamental, women can earn this equality only in the 20th century. Those who support the participation of women in political life; When it said that it would develop political ethics, the opponents voiced the idea that the family structure would deteriorate.

The dates for women in some countries to obtain equal voting and nomination rights for men:

Date Country Date Country Date Country
1893 New Zealand  1928 United Kingdom 1950 India
1906 Finland 1934 Turkey 1956 EgyptSuriname
1913 Norway 1937 Philippines 1962 Algeria
1918 GermanyRussia 1944 FranceBulgaria 1971 Switzerland
1919 BelgiumUkraine 1945 GeorgiaItaly 1974 Jordan
1920 AlbaniaUSA 1947 ArgentinaJapan 1976 Portugal


  • Also according to 1999 statistics:
  • 13 out of every 100 parliamentarians in the world
  • In the world, 5 out of every 100 people who are state or government head
  • 12 out of every 100 ministers around the world
  • The proportion of women in the parliaments outside the 16 parliaments in the world is below 25%
  • In democracy, women should not be reduced to the right to choose. Effective participation of democracy has also been tried by feminist NGOs.


  • Minorities
  • Groups that are separated from their common ethnic, religious or sexual partnership are the minority status of a society. Defenders of minorities more democracies than other groups are generally accepted in society where democratic transitions from authoritarian state structures are common. In addition, minority rights are important criteria in democracy level assessments made by international institutions.


  • Different opinions and criticisms in practice
  • Pluralist view (Pluralist)
  • The pluralist point of view is based on Montesquieu and Locke. James Madison’s system in the Federalist Manuscripts. According to Madison, the democratic system away from the control could turn into a “majoritarianism” system in which individual rights would be violated. To prevent this, the principle of separation of powers is federalism and a form of bipartisan government. ‘Madison’s model is the first developed expression of pluralist democracy since this system recognizes the difference in society and the existence of’ multitude ‘, and sees such a multiplicity as desirable.’
  • Noam Chomsky, criticizing the Madison model, was founded on the premise that the main task of the government was to protect the wealthy minority from the majority, as James Madison emphasized in the US Constitutional Conference in 1787. That is why the only semi-democratic country Warned that if the people of the community were given the right to speak in public affairs, the people could make reforms or other monstrosities about equality and that the American system should be vigilant in the face of attacks on property rights that need to be defended (in fact dominated). “


  • Selective view (Elitism)
  • The most typical representative of this view is Plato, who wants the philosophical kings to be in power (427-347 BC). Classical elitism argues that elite rule is an inevitable and irrevocable fact of social life in the sense that it is a phenomenon that is more than a prescription. Vilfredo Pareto (1848-1923) and Gaetano Mosca (1857-1941) are classic theorists of classical elitism.


  • While Mosca distinguishes two classes as “ruled” society, Machiavelli’s atifta is likened to “foxes (cunning) and lions (forcible use)” while Pareto describes two features of the ruler.


  • In the modern era, the elite opinion, the competitive elitism (democratic elitism) is more common than the other elite views. According to this, the voters will again vote, but this is only to choose which elite to direct themselves. Competitive elitism is portrayed as a weak image of democracy because it contains some of the democratic rights.


  • Marxist view
  • Marxism thinks society is class-based and claims that real democracy can only happen when class differences are abolished. So; For democracy, political equality is not enough, besides, social equality must be provided. The Marxist approach is closer to popular democracy with respect. It criticizes more liberal democracy and bases its criticisms on the contradiction of liberal democracy’s political equality and the social inequality that the capitalist system creates.
  • According to the neo-Marxist Jurgen Habermas and Claus Offe, on the one hand, the democratic process forces the government to meet public demands to fulfill its economic and social responsibilities; On the other hand, the financial crises that it may cause are threatening the system. In other words, the risk of a legitimacy crisis for capitalist democracy is constantly present. This view is also used in the field of international relations.


  • However, Mao Zedong put forward an opinion in the name of New Democracy, and stated that democracy should aim at feudalism or its extension to overthrow feudal socialism and achieve independence from colonialism. According to Mao; It is necessary to divide the proposal for fighting against the bourgeois class, which Karl Marx and Vladimir Lenin pointed out, into a broader share. According to this idea which contains Marxist-Leninist theories; There is a need for the coalition of the “working class“, “peasant class“, “city petty bourgeoisie” and “national bourgeoisie” who struggle with the old dominant order to reach socialism directly and in this way the old capitalist scheme must be struggled. This coalition will be guided by the working class and its predecessor, the communist party.


  • Corporatist opinion
  • The fact that corporations that organize people together with all the members of the profession according to their positions in the division of labor, as opposed to individual or classroom views as a basic unit in society, are essential to the organization of society and that there is a harmonization of interests between individuals and individuals and the state instead of individual and class interests. And solidarity.
  • For the corporatist state structure, Mussolini said: “The corporatist state liberal capitalism-this economic system emphasizes the individual profit-is the end, and marks the beginning of a new economy that emphasizes the collective interests of the collective interests of the producers, By corporatift system.I do not mean only the employers when the producers say, the workers are in it


  • Corporatist thinkers argued that individuals who are affiliated with the individual are increasingly represented in democracy because of increased efficiency in the political decision-making process; Argues that powerful and effective organizations can break political equality because they will act in their own interests in the decision-making process, or that the government can grant privileges to self-organized organizations.


  • Democracy in international relations
  • Democracy has especially expressed republican liberal thinkers in the discipline of international relations. In general, ‘democratic, liberal republics will not fight each other‘ can be explained by the statement. The rise of liberal democratic states, arguing that democratic republican governments attach greater importance to resolving mutual respect and disagreements through peaceful means, is seen as a guarantee of widespread international peace.
Author: wik Date: 5:50 pm
History, Social sciences and society

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