Electoral Participation, Penetration of the State, and Armed Violence in the Turkish Political Crisis of the Second Half of the 1970s

Contribution to the Analysis of Long-Range Political Crisis
By Benjamin Gourisse

This paper makes a contribution to the analysis of situations of long-term political crises characterized by the loss of State capacity to exercise its monopoly of legitimate physical and symbolic violence. It analyzes the Turkish political crisis of the second half of the 1970s. This crisis is characterized by the diffusion of radical antagonist mobilizations and by the routinization of the use of physical violence in a context of disintegrating State monopolies. It shows that this political crisis covers two distinct but related processes, namely changes in the rules of State and in political processes, both of which are caused by the tactical activities of one protagonist in the conflict. It then discusses how, by implementing a strategy of access to power based on a triptych of participation to elections, penetration of the State, and physical violence, the Nationalist Movement contributed to the formation and intensification of the crisis.

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