Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Political Science

Document Type



A transformation from parliamentarism to presidentialism has been an important debate in Turkey since 1980s. After 2010, discussions turned to creating a Turkish-style presidential system which brings many uncertainties for Turkey. Different scholars and politicians focus on the adaptation of presidential system; however, none of these studies provide any empirical work. They only evaluate the literature and conclude that a presidential system will provide political stability and improve Turkey’s economic, political, and social development. In order to fill this gap, this dissertation examines the applicability of a presidential system in Turkey by using quantitative analysis and country-based comparisons. The political instability issue has been the central topic of regime transformation. I evaluate this instability and parliamentary system puzzle and argue that the instability problem is not a result of the current parliamentary system; instead, it is based on the electoral system and highly fractionalized party structure. I further explore the relationship between government system and political, economic, social development in a time-series analysis covering the period from 1975-2010. The results suggest strongly that parliamentary systems have important advantages over presidential systems across a wide range of indicators of political and economic development. However, the results in these areas are not equally impressive for presidential systems. Lastly, I provide a country-based comparison in which Turkey is compared with other states that have or have tried a presidential system since 1975 by examining social, economic, political variables. It appears that each country has its own characteristics and may have different factors that affect its economic or political success. In other words, it is not proper to expect that a regime transformation to a presidential system will, per se, dramatically improve Turkey’s economic, political, social development. I find as well that there may be some difficulties with Turkey’s parliamentary system, but these alleged problems do not warrant a whole system change. It is important to analyze all the processes and develop a very well organized plan based on the features of Turkey. Because of the 1982 constitution and a new election procedure for president, it is crucial to focus on a new constitution.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Clark, William