The Political Causes of Party Closures in Turkey
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Political parties are the integral components of democratic systems. Without political parties, democratic systems cannot function. Yet, not all political parties embrace the existing 'rules of the game'. After the experience with Nazi Germany and fascist Italy during the interwar period, dealing with anti-systemic parties has become a central debate in democratic systems. Even though party closures have taken place in some European democracies, the high frequency of party closures in Turkey raised criticisms that Turkey has become the 'graveyard' of political parties. Since the 1960s, a total of 27 parties were banned in Turkey. The purpose of this article is to provide a comparative analysis of the justifications of party closures in Turkey. In doing so, the article examines two major political causes of party closures on two major party traditions in Turkey: (1) Political Islamists and violation of secularism (separation of religion and politics) and (2) Kurdish left and violation of territorial integrity/national unity.