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In the National Youth and Sports Policy Document (Ulusal Gençlik ve Spor Politikası Belgesi), participation is defined as “being included in the social process in the broadest sense”. Starting from this definition, the participation concept was not restricted only to political participation, but also it was addressed in a wider perspective. In the background of this view are the political and social transformations encountered in Turkey as well as throughout the world.
Despite some earlier attempts, the Republic of Turkey switched to the multi-party system permanently in 1946. From this date on, the youth has always had an interest in institutions of representative democracy which will be addressed later herein, especially the political parties. Besides, the young people, who have been visible in the daily life with active participation in social movements since sixties, started to participate in social processes more actively and more consciously and in a well-organised manner with the impact of the recent transformation in communication technologies.
The government structure of Turkey is based on the article 123 of the constitution of the Republic of Turkey (Türkiye Cumhuriyeti Anayasası). In accordance with the Article 123: Integrity of the Administration and Public Legal Personality; “The administration forms a whole, with regard to its constitution and functions, and shall be regulated by law. The Organisation and functions of the administration are based on the principles of centralisation and decentralisation.” Article 126 of the constitution regulates the central administration and article 127 regulates the local administrations.
Within the framework of abovementioned provisions of the constitution, Turkey is a country dominated by parliamentary democracy system which is based on the central administration principles. In the context of central administration, there are Ministries and related and affiliated organisations in the Capital and provincial and regional directorates of the Ministries in the country. In the context of local administrations, there are municipalities, provincial special administrations, villages and neighbourhoods.
Grand National Assembly of Turkey (Türkiye Büyük Millet Meclisi) is the constitutional state body of the Republic of Turkey which was founded on 23rd of April 1920 with the national will and has legislative power. All regulations between the articles 75 and 100 of the Constitution of the Republic of Turkey are related to the Grand National Assembly of Turkey. Grand National Assembly of Turkey consists of five hundred and fifty members of the parliament who are elected in general elections.
In local administrations, there are municipal councils which are established with the Municipality Law No 5393 (5393 sayılı Belediye Kanunu). In accordance with the article 17 of this law; “The municipal council shall be the municipality’s decision-making body and comprise members elected according to the principles and procedures provided for by the relevant law”. General Provincial Council is the decision making body of the provincial special administration and consists of members elected on behalf of the districts by the electorate in the province in accordance with the procedures and principles indicated in relevant laws.
D’Hondt method with 10% threshold has been used in all general elections which have been held in Turkey since 1983. Election principles in Turkey are:
- Overall vote,
- Equal vote,
- Secrete vote,
- Open counting,
- Direct election.
Terms to vote in Turkey are;
- Being a citizen of the Republic of Turkey,
- Being over 18 years of age,
- Being registered in the electoral register,
- Not being restricted,
- Not being prohibited in public services.