Views of people from Turkey and Holland on statements made by Newsweek journalist Fareed Zakaria, Turkish president Abdullah Gül and prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in the Dutch VPRO documentary ‘Turkije – Het Dilemma van de Democratie’: ‘Turkey – the dilemma of democracy’ that was broadcast on 8th of October. Daily at Sargasso from October 5th until October 12th, at 13.00h (Amsterdam time, 14.00h Istanbul time). This blogging project is part of the Dutch democracy week WijZijnDeBaas (WeAreTheBoss): the Dutch contribution to the International Week for Democracy. More information here.
if you end up with a situation where people forget that there are other, large minorities in the country, that feel differently than you and you try to impose your will on them, then, yes, you have De Toqueville’s problem of the tyranny of the majority and that tyranny is as bad for a minority as it were a dictatorship
Emre Kizilkaya | The Istanbulian
turkish journalist, Hürriyet newspaper, blogger.
“Democracy does not have the right to destroy itself. It is not only about elections, but it is also about protecting the minorities and especially human rights. We should not forget that Adolf Hitler was a by-product of a democracy. Tyranny of the majority is as dangerous as a dictatorship, but most of the people generally tend to believe that Saddam Hussein was far more dangerous than George W. Bush or Vladimir Putin is”.
Metin | Talk Turkey
blogger, Metin didn’t directly comment on the statements but contributed several related posts on his blog, this one is on ‘Save Islam from the Muslims’.
“I am a civil and individual libertarian, and fight to protect the rights of even a 1% minority (as is the case of the definition of a ‘Republic’). So long as that 1% does not ‘fundamentalize’ their philosophy over the others or vice versa.
You see, in a ‘democracy. the 51% majority has the right to rule over the 49% minority. But a ‘republic’ is where the 1% still has a voice.
But some well-intentioned ‘democracy lovers for all’ (even some secularists) are people that most want democracy to flourish UNTIL they (the promoters of democracy) become the 49%. And the democracy results in the outcome they do not prefer at the least, and at worst they detest (i.e. Hamas, AKP, Iran, etc.)”.
Erkan Saka | Erkan’s field diary
blogger, thesis on Turkish journalism and the European Union, Ph.D candidate Anthropology at Rice University and instructor at the Public Relations Department of Istanbul Bilgi University.
“But democracy is not the rule of majority per se. It is a common sensical belief that democracy means the dominance of majority but in fact, democracy is the protection of rights of both the majority and minorities. One of the ideas behind democracy is the idea of citizenship and this idea, in theory, includes all those without any discrimination. However, the social conditions we live in necessitate representative democracy in which elections and all tend to give majorities a notion of hegemony. Hence comes the possibility of tyranny of the majority. This could only be prevented with even stronger culture of democracy which by default aims to protect the rights of all citizens without any discrimination… “.
Haluk Direskeneli | Energy Newsletter Turkey
blogger, energy expert.
“That is impossible. There are more democratic forces, legal establishments, universities, individuals other than the people elected for the parliament. One individual with ample experience on legal and constitutional issues can make difference all together”.
Beatrice Vanni | Arabisto and Turkey & My Foreign Perspectives
blogger, lives in Turkey, and helps people gain visibility for their work and attract more clients through high-quality writing, editing and project development.
“When there are masses in a country not heard or dismissed as not important, this creates problems. In Turkey, there are some of these issues still raw within the masses, and they have yet to be addressed in open forums with the country’s leaders. There must be interest in sharing the fruits of Turkey’s democracy and creating a country which is free and equal for all citizens and residents”.
Michael van der Galiën | The Gazette
blogger, frequent visitor of Turkey with interest in the politics and culture of the country, published columns in the Turkish Daily News and is correspondent in the Netherlands for Pajamas Media.
“100% agreed. One of the major problems of full democracy is that it leads to the rule of the mob, the tyranny of the masses. This tyranny is even worse than a dictatorship, because the masses will believe that they have the right to do what they do and there’s no stopping them”.
Hans A.H.C. de Wit | Internations Musings: Istanbul, Florence, Athens, Yerevan and Dubai | blogger, international communication manager, lives in Turkey, cross cultural specialist.
“As long as the rights of minorities are respected, there will be never a tyranny of the majority. Only when Islam steps into politics, like Malaysia, where a Muslim population of 65% dominate social life”.
More views on this statement in Dutch at VPRO Tegenlicht