Development of Citizens's Political Participation in Local Administration System

Author:Mehmet Akif Çukurçayir
The European Citizen and Public Administration
Development of Citizens’ Political Participation in Local Administration
Mehmet Akif Çukurçayır1
Abstract: The foundation of modern local governments in Turkey was laid with an imperial edict in 1839.
This reform also called Gulhane Hatt-i Hümayunu or Tanzimat Edict, paved the way for local and regional
councils. Since the 1850s, the municipalities have been established. However, it is not possible to talk about
the functionality of th ese municipalities in current terms. Since the proclamation of the Turkish Republic,
modern laws regulating local governments were issued. Village Law and Municipal Law are the first
examples of these reformations. With the 1961 Constitution, modern participatory local government approach
was adopted and mayors began to be elected directly by people for th e first time. From 1960 to present, many
local government reforms were made, but none of them were so fundamental as in 2012. With this reform,
local government system has completely changed. Aim of this study is investigation of results of this reform
and find out needs for a new wave of reform. New Metropolitan Mu nicipalities Law is problematic in terms
of local governance and local participation. Although European Charter of Local Self-Government and the
European Urban Charter p aying special importance to citizen’s participation, last developments in Turkey as
a European Union candidate continues in the opposite direction. Therefore, it is necessary to discuss all
aspects of the new regulation. So that, field researches will be analyzed and recommendations will be
presented in the light of these field studies relevant to the reforms.
Keywords: modern local governments; modern laws; local governance
Political Participation
Two basic indicators for modernization of the societies are healthy urbanization processes and
effective political participation processes. Western democracies have experienced the industrial
revolution and political revolution concurrently and achieved today's advanced level of democracy. It
makes sense for the societies outside the western democracies to aspire to idealize the democracy
standards in these democracies and transfer them to their countries. However, the fact that those
countries do not take into account the long-lasting course of revolution undergone by the western
democracies, the transformation of national and environmental factors, is one of the most important
impediments to formation of a political/social structure in those societies at the level of the western
democracies (Steinbach, 10982, p. 7).
Political participation is a modern, democratic institution, which is achieved at the end of such a long
political and societal run, and has a constitutional foundation in the democracies. Participation either
exists or does not exist based on the formation type of the political systems and convention of
formation. If the system limits freedom of the administrators in favor of the administered, there is a
1 Professor, P hD, Department of Public Administration, Faculty of Economics and Administrative Sciences, Selcuk
University, Turkey, Address: Selçuk Üniversitesi, Alaeddin Keykubat Campus, Selçuklu-Konya, Turkey, Tel.: +90.332.350
70 05, Fax: +90.332.351 07 37, Corresponding author:

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