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Gilles Dorronsoro and Elise Massicard

Being a Member of Parliament in Contemporary Turkey
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The aim of this text is to launch a collective work on MPs in Turkey for a thematic issue of the European Journal of Turkish Studies to be published in September, 2005. This text is not definitive, but a work in progress. It is intended as a general framework for reflection to be discussed collectively. It aims to give a state of the research and to suggest possible directions for research. Its main concern is to relate, in the Turkish case, two main perspectives in legislative studies : analysis in terms of resources and approaches in terms of social roles.

Since the end of the Ottoman Empire, the MP represents the most important political figure in Turkey. Unlike in the United-States, there are neither governors nor a President elected by universal suffrage. Each party leader is working as a MP, including the Prime Minister, even if ministers are not necessarily MPs. Therefore, the Turkish political class is primarily composed of MPs and former MPs.

[2] Moreover, the centralisation of the political system reduces the influence of local councillors and, more importantly, of mayors. Local councils do not have any real influence. Decentralisation projects might complicate the situation ; as a matter of fact, mayors of big cities (büyük?ehir belediyeleri) are already national personalities since the 90?s. Nevertheless, the MP is an essential component in the relation between the electorate and the central power. He is able to pass on demands from the population to the centre, even if the impossibility to assume several (local + national) mandates at the same time limits in practice the influence of MPs. First of all, let us consider the influence of the Parliament and the one of the MPs in the institutional system.

[3] Since the beginning of the Republic, the institutional system has gone through many changes. The absence of continuity between the different constitutional periods makes it difficult to build statistical series. Those breaks, in general coups d?état, have weakened the Parliament in the mind of the population and of the politicians themselves.

[4] The global evolution has tended towards a "rationalised parlementarism", which spread over Europe after WW2. Today, the National Assembly can be described as a dominated actor within the institutions. Indeed, organisations controlling - directly or indirectly - the Parliament have increased in the last decades. In the case of Turkey, both the 1982 Constitution and the Rules of Procedure adopted in 1996 aimed to increase the efficiency of the Parliament, thereby limiting the autonomy of the MPs (Gençkaya 1999).

[5] Since the multiparty system (1946), the Parliament is an institution with a limited autonomy. After the first competitive elections, the Parliament became the centre of the political life during several decades, in spite of the coups d?état in 1960 and 1971. The 1961 Constitution set up institutions to counterbalance the weight of the Parliament, notably the MGK (Milli Güvenlik Kurumu). The system was bicameral and until the 1971 coup d?état, a part of the Senators were nominated.

[6] The1982 Constitution introduced a kind of "rationalised parlementarism" in a securitarian regime built on a double control, with a kind of parallel government. For instance, the military budget remains outside the control of the Parliament and questions related to the "national security" (defined in a very extensive way) are decided by the MGK. Moreover, the President became a more important actor, having the right to veto any passed law, to appeal to the Constitutional Court, and so on. The relation between the executive and the legislative branch shows a strong and increasing influence of the President (Tachau 1980 ; Heper, Ç?nar 1996). This evolution depends of course on the balance of power. For example, Demirel had less influence than Özal, and the weight of Sezer was linked to the support of the military apparatus.

[7] A discredited or inefficient Parliament does not necessarily mean that MPs are not individually influent. It is known that in some circumstances, members of the Parliament benefit from the antiparlementarism of the electorate. Sometimes, polls indicate a important difference between popularity ratings of the Parliament and of the members of the Parliament themselves (for instance in the United States). However, according to the polls published in media and in reports of the European Commission (European Commission 2002 : 29), there appears to be a bad image both of the Turkish Parliament (47% tending to trust) and of the MPs, even more so of the parties in general (16% tending to trust). Yet, as far as we know, there are no studies about the image of the MPs nor about his relations with the electorate of his constituency.

[8] From that point of view, it is interesting to notice that MPs are rarely, and less and less, re-elected (Massicard 2003). The duration of their mandate is precarious, since it depends on the rhythm of the elections, and on political reversals. In this respect, we should point out that early elections are usual in Turkey: since the beginning of the multiparty system in 1946, ten out of fifteen legislative elections were early elections and since the 1980 coup, all legislative elections were. In its article n°77 however, the 1982 Constitution brings the term of legislature from four years- as it was since the Ottoman Empire- to five years. This instability is a permanent feature, but it is amplified since the 90?s by important swings in the election results, showing the rejection of the parties in power. We can explain this by the increasing fragmentation of the political system due to the increase in the number of parties ; but it might also be related to the incapability of most MPs to gain a local foothold.

[9] Primary qualitative sources about MPs and parlementarism are relatively numerous in contrast to the weakness of statistical and quantitative data ? that are difficult to access for researchers anyway. Besides minutes of debates in Assembly sessions (which have hardly been exploited), primary sources are made up of publications from TBMM, official bulletins as well as the series of ?Turkey in statistics?. There are also lots of autobiographies (Kiri?çio?lu 1968 ; A?ao?lu 1969 ; Burçak 1976 ; Perin 1990 ; Kocao?lu 2003). Finally, there are biographies of famous politicians - mostly party leaders - written by journalists, which do not concentrate on the Parliament, are not very reliable, and seem quite questionable from a sociological point of view.

[10] On the statistical level, biographical data are unsatisfactory. About the Ottoman Empire, the work of Devereux (1963) gives a distribution by religion, ethnic group and occupation of the MPs of the 1877 Assembly (elected by a very limited college), but there is no more precise information. About the second constitutional period, from 1908 to 19181, some works also give a distribution of MPs by religious and ethnic groups (Tunaya 1998, Turhan 1991:98). Afterwards, we have diverse statistical works, the major empirical study being Frey?s (1965), which was used latter in numerous studies. It gives a set of biographical information about MPs, essentially about their professional background. A database should be created to have a really useful documentation. We are planning to build such a database within the Institut Français d?Etudes Anatoliennes (Istanbul).

[11] Otherwise, it is noticeable that many political scientists have lost interest in the functioning of the Parliament and the office of MP, except Gençkaya, Hazama, Kalayc?o?lu, Özbudun and Turan. This tendency might reflect both the objectively weak position of the institution and the own research tradition of Turkish political science. The Parliament is studied mainly within the framework of systemic analyses, as one element of the balance between the different institutions. Therefore, there is no study about the practices of MPs within the Assembly. For instance, Sar?bay?s work of political sociology (1994) doesn?t address the political elite nor activities of politicians, which reflects a more general tendency in political science related to Turkey. However, there are some local studies, sometimes of great quality, describing the notables - some of them being MP - in a more anthropological way (Unbehaun 1994).

[12] Finally, a great part of the writings about MPs studies the relation between the political field and the society through the socio-professional status of MPs, in general in a developmentalist framework. Most studies about MPs consist of producing and analysing statistics about their social characteristics, generally limited to their job. Most of those works were done in the 60?s and 70?s, and since then on there are very few studies. The two dominant paradigms in those studies, Marxist and developmentalist, share the same methodological presuppositions and most of the time, their results are compatible.

[13] The study of Ünsal (1982) concerning the profiles of the 1977 MPs falls within the scope of a critical Marxist sociology. Through the analysis of the social background of the MPs, the author notes a difference between the social composition of the Assembly and the society at large, notably the under-representation of the working class within the Assembly. The underlying idea is the denunciation of the confiscation of the political power by the elite (K?z?r 2002).

[14] Other authors have tried to show the gradual diversification of the political elite since the beginning of the Republics, in a developmentalist ? thus fundamentally diachronic ? way : ?Stages of political development, if not actual distributions of power, may be marked by regularities in the differential participation in formal politics of distinctive social groups? (Frey 1965: 180). They are based on the idea that there might be a relation between macro-social changes and the sociological profile of the MPs. By using statistical data concerning the social status of the MPs (essentially their occupation, education, sex), researchers try to underline political evolution, like the institutionalisation of the political field, the professionnalisation of the political elite, or the increasing pluralism among the social groups represented in the Parliament (Tachau 1980). Those results can be summed up in two statements: the diversification of the elite, and the opposition between the statist elite and those coming from other social groups.

[15] Starting from the relation between social profiles and the membership of a party, several authors (Tachau 1980, Heper and Ç?nar 1996) notice an opposition between a group of bureaucrats and a political elite coming from the middle-class. Both social groups, through ?their? parties, fight for state resources. The (implicit) scheme is often the idea that the bureaucracy might represent long-term interests of the country and have a stabilizing influence on the political system. Then, general interest is considered as being objective more than a social construction, and bureaucrats as its best advocates, because they are preserved from ?populist pressure?.

[16] The second statement is the diversification of the elite. Ünsal starts from the hypothesis of an opposition between a provincial and a national elite. According to Tachau (1980: 220), ?localism? ? which he defines as birth in the represented district - is increasing, and the Demokrat Parti represents the interests of provincial middle-classes. The rise of new social groups (engineers, etc.) and diversification of elite have been analysed since the 70?s. After the 80?s, a significant ratio of religious figures (imams or graduated from imam-hatip schools) are to be found in the different parties run by Erbakan. Starting from that statement, some works are inspired by the theory of social coalitions (Tarrow 1977) assuming that a political party gets the power when it manages to build an ?inter-class coalition?, to pose as the representative of one or several social groups.

[17] We might call into question this paradigm through two main critics. First, data processing seems questionable. On the one hand, the construction of long statistical series, when the political system has been disrupted several times, is sometimes not even commented. In some cases, data concerning non-competitive and competitive elections period are used as if they were homogenous although continuity cannot be established between the one-party system and the multi-party period. On another hand, data are insufficient : for example, the plurality of professional experiences is rarely mentioned, and some pieces of information are not reliable. Simplified socio-professional data are favoured to the detriment of those linked to practical experiences, which refers to implicit hypothesis about the relation between politics and social issues (see infra). Moreover, the coherence of categories used to establish biographies is not called into question. For instance, the status of a profession can change in a significant way in the course of time (several decades), and the stable presence of a certain among of MPs coming from one professional sector can hide changing social dynamics. Finally, the selection of relevant elements in biographies is very simplified and static, because it does not describe trajectories. Therefore, the evolution of the MP during his mandate is not taken into account, whereas fame and personal enrichment for example can alter the MP?s social position during his mandate.

[18] These statistical constructions are a consequence of the general hypothesis concerning the political and social fields. Developmentalist and Marxist theories tend to postulate simple relations between social groups and political representatives. The political system appears like a (relatively) transparent mechanism dealing with the demands of social groups. Even when speaking about professionalisation and institutionalisation, the autonomy of the political field and its capacity to transform social resources are put in brackets.

[19] Therefore, the opposition between the bureaucratic elite and the one coming from the middle-class can be deceptive. The election of bureaucrats can be the result of their bigger capacity to mobilise State resources and to build a clientele in this way, which qualifies the idea that bureaucrats are immune to "populist" drifts. In another way, local elites (provincial notables) are constituted in relation to the State (Meeker 2002). Besides, this duality does not work anymore in the 70?s, since there is an extreme politicisation within the institutions themselves (a "crisis" in the sense of Dobry 1986). As a consequence, the hypothesis of a diversification of the elite led by the political development in Turkey has to be questioned. All those elements challenge the idea of a transparency between society and politics.

[20] Choosing MPs as the object of study opens different theoretical choices. In order to simplify, we distinguish theoretical approaches leading to analyse MPs under two points of view: resources and the profession of MP.

[21] First, socio-historical analyses attempt to account for the process of professionalisation, i.e. of monopolization of a given professional activity by a limited group, with the establishment of models of legitimacy in order to justify this monopoly. Some groups manage to monopolize a particular knowledge and to make out of its possession something rare and prestigious, for example by controlling the access to the profession. In this perspective, the analysis of the trajectory of politicians highlights the readjustment of personal resources which permits to enter the political field (Best, Cotta 2000).

[22] Second, the political occupation is the object of an important tradition of research. In France, the first works go back to the 80?s, with the studies of Garraud (1989, 1991) and the group of research led by Jacques Lagroye, who published an issue of Politix about ?Le métier politique? (1994), dealing mainly with local politics. Besides, the work of Michel Offerlé (1999) about the evolution of the political field and the professionalisation has shed new light on changes of the occupation of elected member.

[23] The term of ?occupation? refers to all practices of a specialized professional activity. For one and the same occupation, there are many practices. For instance, the concrete relations of MPs with their peers and with their publics are constitutive of the occupation. Elected people are interacting in different social spaces, which are not necessarily structured by specifically political principles. The concern for the effective conditions of the practice of an occupation leads to an analysis in terms of "social roles" and to stress the learning of behaviours according to norms considered as legitimate (Briquet 1994: 17-18 ; Müller, Saalfeld 1997). ?The concept of ?role-set? is to be distinguished from the concept of ?multiple roles?, which are associated not with a single social status but with the various statuses in which individual operates. Empirical evidence suggests that the problem of disturbances in role-sets is a very real one for modern Members of Parliament...? (Saafeld 1997: 39-40)

[24] Our endeavour is to link the question of resources with the question of roles. In a first step, we shall see how the political field is characterised by mechanisms of selection and transformation. To a certain point, it is producing its own elite, notably by the professionalisation of elected representatives, which can indicate a kind of autonomy from the rest of society. The analysis of the trajectories of MPs, through their initial resources (before their election), the accumulation of specific resources during the mandate, and then their possible retraining afterwards, is intended to test the hypothesis of the ?autonomisation? of politics, and its modalities: are the political resources per se (party loyalties for instance) generally more important than other, non political, resources (economical ones for instance) ? In a second step, we will deal with the complexity of the role of MP, which can be analysed through three perspectives: within the party, within the Parliament, with the electorate. From this multiple role, we will question the relation between the resources of MPs and the way they play their roles. Because of the many institutional breakdowns, the temporal scope of the core analysis begins after 1980, even if a broader historical perspective has to be taken in account. Thus, we shall be careful to stress a specific temporality. Let us first present the resources perspective, then the approach in terms of roles, knowing that this distinction is only analytical, without meaning a determinist causal relation.

[25] The perspective criticised above uses biographic data concerning MPs. It links their belonging to a professional group to a social group and a political party, and formulates the hypothesis of a diversification and a professionalisation of political elites. However, since the 80?s, it is more difficult to assign a social group or even a coalition of social groups to a political party. Therefore, it seems important to address the issue of the professionalisation of politics on new basis. Two perspectives seem relevant here : first, the importance of political / party resources in the selection of MPs (which is not necessarily linked to the level of economic development) ; second, the trajectories of MPs after their mandate. On this basis, we shall then question the professionalisation of MPs.

[26] Non-political resources used in the political field are mainly economical capital, proximity to State institutions, education, activism, social capital, local roots, - generally inherited - religious charisma, and family membership. These resources work in different ways according to periods and places. In that sense, available data are often insufficient to give a clear view of these resources, and their reduction to the very profession is deceptive.

[27] Thus, we shall try to take into account the transformation of resources as a dynamic and temporal phenomenon. Therefore, the transformation of resources during the mandate of MP, the accumulation, but also the lost, of resources should be questioned.

[28] How are initial resources of MPs, principally the professional resources, used in the political field ? According to the results of Frey (1965), completed by latter studies, three professional groups are over-represented within the Turkish Parliament: bureaucrats and lawyers in the early Republic, and engineers since the 70?s. The number of civil servants is important during the one-party period before decreasing regularly, whereas liberal professions experience a parallel rise, notably just before the multi-party system (Tachau 1980: 207). Within this group, lawyers are the most numerous, except in 1957.

[29] We can challenge the explanations given by Frey (quoted by Tachau 1980: 208) to explain the importance of the lawyers (capacity to resume one?s initial job and "natural" link between the occupations of lawyer and of MP). Instead, we shall question social dispositions and professional habitus gained through accomplishing a profession, and their latter use in the political field. So, we can analyse how specific resources linked to the profession of lawyer are reinvested in the political field. Some studies show the mechanisms of entrance of lawyers in the political field in the French 19th century (Dorrandeu 1994). In a diachronic perspective, we can ask why certain kinds of capital are more easily transferable in the political field according to socio-economical situations. For instance, the presence of engineers is probably linked, more than to a questionable rise of the middle-class, to a change in the organisation of this profession and to the emergence of a technicist discourse in politics (Göle 1990).

[30] Localism is a complex resource, varying according to local configurations. Thus, it seems relevant to think about the local use of national resources and vice-versa. According to Tachau (1980), MPs are increasingly oriented towards ?localism?, because they are more and more born in the constituency where they are elected. This fact is difficult to interpret, because it postulates the natural character of the relation between place of birth and local roots, but this link with the department is more complex and constructed. To ask the question in a different way, the ?local? can be constituted as a resource in two different ways : first, the emergence and construction of ?local? as a legitimising category as a in political discourses and media ; second, the establishment of hem?ehri associations through the party apparatus, or links between both (Schüler 1998, Kurto?lu 2004). In that way, a pitch-forked candidate can take benefit from a strong local presence if he enjoys the support of a political apparatus.

[31] Besides, Tachau (1980) underlines the differentiated profile of the MPs according to the level of development of their constituency. The choice of this criterion is problematic, since it turns down the possibility of local/regional political systems, which are defined by more complex criteria than the mere level of development. Here comes the question of the varying political value of resources in different contexts. For instance, inherited charismatic religious capital is largely confined to some regional (mainly, but not only, south-eastern) and social (rural or little cities) contexts, while other resources seem really national. Politicisation varies according to regions. For instance, in the south-east, militants without notoriety or social capital can be elected to a major city like Diyarbak?r on the list of a Kurdish nationalist parties. Thus, there seems to be a local/regional political subsystem, where resources have a specific value. Belonging to a mezhep (Alevi or Sunnite) can constitute a major resource as well in contexts of differentiation or tension (Cumhuriyet 1977 for some constituencies). So, the belonging resource has a specific sense in some, mostly local, configurations.

[32] Therefore, we should question the local use of national resources (and vice-versa). Can metropolitan municipalities be springboards for national responsibilities (for example Recep Tayy?p Erdogan) ? To which extend an d in which conditions can MPs be pitch-forked? This question notably refers to the strength of local parties? apparatus.

[33] Which kind of resources do parties provide to candidates? Parties benefiting from important local political apparatus should be distinguished from others. We should also differentiate analytically between parties on national and local levels. Are parties? local wings controlled by MPs ? If a MP breaks with his party, can he maintain the loyalty of the local militants ?

[34] The profile of independent MPs, that is to say the ones who do not belong to a party, can be used here to test the importance of political apparatus as a resource. First, we shall deal with the fluctuation of the number of independents MPs2. Then, we should underline specific resources of these candidates according to local contexts.

[35] In a dynamic perspective, we should analyse the mandate - especially the first of a MP - as a period when his social status is changing. From an anecdotic point of view, former MPs? visiting cards almost always mention this glorious past, which indicates a willingness to put forward the social capital associated with it. In this period, resources can increase or, in some cases, decrease. Investing in politics represents a risk. For instance, a notable - with an important initial social capital - whose passage in politics is marked by scandals can lose part of his respectability, without profit of any kind.

[36] Resources accumulated during the mandate may vary depending on how the roles have been fulfilled. In general, we can assume an accumulation of social capital, because the role of the MP puts in contact individuals and institutions. The MP benefits from a modest wage and numerous advantages in nature (a car, mobile phone, accommodations -recently withdrawn). But more important economical capital can be acquired illegally, for example through public contracts (ihale), a possibility which may not be accessible for all MPs, but only MPs from the party in power.

[37] The mandate as a MP is often only a moment in a personal trajectory. How do MPs take advantage of the resources accumulated during mandate afterwards? Answering these questions should permit to determine more concretely resources accumulated by MPs and their transformations.

[38] The existence of an specialized political field permits to consider the professionalisation of political agents through a set of questions. Can we observe the monopolisation of properly political activities by some given social groups? If this is the case, when and in which circumstances? Do we notice the formation of specific political interests and relatively autonomous logics of running the political game?

[39] Periods of crisis in the sense of Dobry (1986) and periods of routine should be distinguished, since they do not implicate the same ways of working nor of autonomy of the political field. Crisis of the political system (declining ?objectivisation? of social roles, frequent institutional breakdown, etc.) notably permits a ?dedifferentiation? of the fields. In other words, in spite of the tendency toward a professionalisation of political elites, the inverse mechanism can then be observed, with the opening of the field to outsiders. The 2002 legislative elections, with the multiplication of parties and an important turnover of MPs, can be an example. Thus, we might find an important opening of the field in those contexts: the investment of resources in the political field is then facilitated, the entrance ticket is low, even for the creation of parties, and non-political attributes are valorised (Cem Uzan). Can we find a correlation between periods of crisis and representatives benefiting from non political capitals (for instance economical capital or notoriety acquired outside the political field etc.)?

[40] The professionalisation of politicians, the rationalization of this occupation, and institutional specialisation, should be distinguished. It seems important to determine the role of parties in professionalisation. Whereas professionalisation is generally linked to the central rule of parties, notably in Germany (Saafeld 1997), rationalization as an expertise - mobilisation of specific techniques requiring important resources showing through notably during election campaigns, political marketing etc. - may not be necessarily linked to parties. In some cases, candidates benefiting from enough resources can have the same level of rationalization than candidates supported by a party, for example on a local basis, or relying on lobbies or corruption. Independent MPs may permit to check the hypothesis of a rationalization without organisation.

[41] We shall now see in how far resources may influence the ways the occupation is practiced, and roles are fulfilled by MPs. Turan (1985) in the same perspective, has linked the practise of transfers with the ressources of the MPs. We do not to consider the MP?s practices as a set of timeless know-how. Roles are determined first by the logic of the political competition itself, but also by local configurations in which MPs are acting and the practices valorised there. As such, they are not inevitably homogeneous at the national level. Behaviours expected from a MP is a product of a particular, sometimes localized, configuration, whereas they might appear weird in another part of the country.

[42] The political occupation leads to interact in several social worlds (Lagroye 1994). Practising this occupation implicates being able to play different roles, which may also appear to be contradictory (Briquet 1994 ; Müller, Saalfeld 1997). One may observe them through the succession of behaviours and ways of being in everyday practices of MPs, obliging them to resort to different legitimacy registers. Thus, MPs use different know-how, practices and beliefs, which they cannot forget without taking the risk to offend one of the publics they are in relation with. Whatever the MP?s dominant characteristic (a grassroots candidate or a candidate supported by a party), the role he is said to incarnate or the one he is favouring, he has to take into account the plurality of his roles.

[43] In his everyday practice, a MP is constantly compelled to signify his conformity to a set of norms that define his role. Ways of playing the political game are marked with models and references prescribed to representatives. Entering the role implicates having the practical knowledge of what is convenient to do when one has to fit into successive interactions. These ascriptions of roles are multiple and heterogeneous since roles are defined by formal and informal ascriptions from different actors, juridical norms, etc. The ascriptions of roles are contextual: they depend on the characteristics of the publics to which one is confronted. Which processes determine what is convenient to do when one is elected? Where are the origins of constraints defining the occupation of MP to be found?

[44] First, there is a juridical definition of the role of MP. Legal norms define institutional roles (regulations of parties about the designation of candidates, poll systems, degree of ?rationalization? of the parliamentarian system, etc). Therefore, the decisive weight of parties in the German political system centres the occupation of MP on the role of party member (Saafeld 1997). In a poll system in which the party holding the majority in one constituency gets all seats (as in the 50?s in Turkey), the party?s result determine a candidate?s election, more than his personal resources. This influences behaviours, insofar as the major step for the MP is then his nomination by the party more than the electoral campaign itself. When the ratio of renewal is high, as it is the case since fifteen years, very few MPs are assured of being re-elected: the threat of a removal by the electorate, by the party, or that their party doesn?t reach the 10% threshold, influences their behaviours.

[45] The ascription of roles also comes from the representations affecting the MP. What are they in contemporary Turkey? First, there are representations of politics by those who practice it, elected representatives themselves, through their discourses in terms of moral obligation or service (hizmet), or their believing in legitimacy given by election. Ethnographic studies also show the influence of the representations of power on MPs? behaviours (Abélès 1989, 2000). But there are also representations about efficiency, the aims of policies, about what is licit and what is illicit among the electorate (Lagroye 1994: 5). These representations are also constructed by the media, which should be analysed. The construction by journalists of the occupation of MP is of great importance in the formation of the ascription of roles, even if representatives themselves are far from being passive. Turkish MPs are relatively absent in the media, except party leaders and when some incidents like scuffles occur in Parliament.

[46] What is convenient for a MP is also produced by the available know-how and political technologies (of governance, communication, persuasion). These technologies are superposed to know-how constitutive of this profession: personal contacts and exchanges of services, close relations with the associations, periodical and selective use of ideological arguments.

[47] MPs have a large room for manoeuvre concerning those ascriptions, at least because these are often contradictory. We aim to understand both social and political conditions of their constitution of roles, and their practical uses in their diversity and flexibility. Therefore, the way of playing these roles also depends on the type of resources in the hands of the elected representatives, linking the behaviour of a MP within the Parliament to his place within his party.

[48] The occupation of MP can be understood as the articulation of three potentially conflicting roles: member of a party, of an institution, and representative of the electorate,. The ways to fulfil these roles depend notably on the resources of MPs, leading them for example to search or to escape public meetings, to engage more or less in legislative work, etc. Therefore, new social profiles among MPs can lead to changes in the ways to practice this occupation (Norton 1997).

[49] Relations between MPs and their parties are partly defined by the mechanisms of selection and ?labellisation? of the candidates by political organisations. General processes affecting the political competition or party organisation have repercussions on the occupation of MPs (Lagroye 1994: 8-9). In which occasions and in which contexts are MPs in touch with their party during their term of office? What is their weight within the parties, in the decisions, in the definition of the political line? How are parliamentarian groups organised within the Assembly and what about their work? It is not supposed here that every party is organised in the same way, the importance of elected members is obviously different for instance in ANAP and MHP and may evolve in both parties. We shall deal with the issues of how parties control MPs (notably through the nomination of candidates), and the autonomy of MPs in its most radical expression, the transfer. Finally, historical cases of tension between parties and MPs can be analysed.

[50] The designation of the candidates by the parties highlights the dependence of the representatives (in relation to their re-election), which affects their behaviour within the Parliament (discipline of vote). How do MPs move from the status of "candidate to the candidature" - which requires fulfilling some forms - to that of "candidate to MP", designated by his party? In this respect, Turkish electoral history contains multiple experiences. In particular, there was a procedure in which the electorate was able to express his preference for one candidate. This system was in force during the 1961, 1973, 1977 and 1991 legislative elections, and was then abolished. After 1961, the electoral law compelled the parties to organize internal elections to design the candidates, and only exceptionally allows designation by the direction of the parties - in case of lack of local candidates or deficiency of the local organisation. Nevertheless, since 1986, this obligation has been abolished. Now, every party can design candidates either directly or by internal elections. However, internal elections are nowadays an exception, which paves the way to party oligarchy. Despite of sporadic protestations, directions of parties remain almost omnipotent in this domain, which may explain the fact that lots of candidates are pitch-forked and that directors of local branches of parties are often bypassed concerning the nomination of candidates. Mechanisms of negotiation between parties and candidates to the candidature during pre-electoral periods should be analysed more thoroughly. Thus, the eventual re-election of MPs is submitted to the approbation of their candidature by the direction of the party, which is not automatic. So, candidates have to stay in good terms with the direction, which can influence behaviours: a former MP told that he had not managed to collect the five necessary signatures for the presentation of a relatively provocative proposal of law, because the direction of his party could have disliked it. He explains the behaviour of his former colleagues (yet sharing his political positions) by their fear to displease the direction of the party, and not to be renewed as candidates3. In the same way, many clues indicate that parties constrain MPs? behaviour, at least concerning the discipline of vote.

[51] Another important factor in the relation between MPs and their party is the common practice of transfers since the beginnings of multiparty politics. The elected representatives are able to move quite easily from a party to another, for instance if they think that they are not positioned at an eligible level on the list, or that their party won?t go through the 10% threshold (Massicard 2003). At least before 1980, party changing appears to improve career prospects (Turan 1985). This phenomenon should be quantified and its evolution questioned. Turan (1985) provided a first account of the specific porfile of the party changers. In the case of individual transferts, party changers tend to come from small and least developped constitutencies. Analysing independent MPs and their room for manoeuvre compared to partisan MPs shall allow to grasp the constraints introduced by parties.

[52] A way to understand how parties influence the practices of MPs is to analyse the discipline of vote. By doing so, we should keep in mind that the parliamentary history, during the post-1980 period, is marked by the importance of - most of the time instable - coalitions. Indeed during these coalitions, dissidence could take a considerable importance. During which vote was party discipline respected or not, and which logics governed those votes?

[53] Crucial votes as in 1955 should be analysed in this respect when the government failed to have a law concerning a land tax increase passed in the Parliament (McCally 1956). In 2002, when the Ecevit government was particularly weakened, lots of MPs - quite independently of their party membership - asked for early elections. When the decision was taken, the main issue became their date of report, as well as the modification of the rules of the game (10% threshold, number of polls). MPs who hadn?t got good positions on party lists constituted the informal group of kü?kün, (or ?angry ones?). This group was supported by parties threatened of not getting 10%. The massive transfers both of MPs and of potential candidates sometimes seemed improbable in regard to any ideological coherence. MPs moved to other parties, and new formations were created. During the whole campaign, some parties lost MPs, whereas others became real magnets, according to the anticipations of politicians concerning the chances of the parties to pass the 10% threshold.

[54] Finally, the first March 2003 vote also seems interesting top analyse in this respect. Despite of the AKP majority, the Assembly rejected the government proposal of law about the cooperation with the United States in the Iraq invasion by a close vote.

[55] Another important part of the MP?s role is his relation to his constituency. Do MPs often go to their constituencies and what are they concretely doing there? Are MPs always re-elected in the same constituency? Is some kind of localism entertained by elected members, even pitch-forked ones? When and in which circumstances are the ?local? label and the fact to come from a region constructed as a political resource? In regard to those questions, clientelism seems a rather insufficient conceptualisation of the relationship between the MP and his constituency.

[56] Since the 70?s, studies about MPs and their electorate refer to the clientelism perspective. But works of Sayar? (1977) and Özbudun (1981) assert the existence of clientelism, but do not explain what is exchanged, nor how: the phenomenon itself remains a black box. From that point of view, localised studies like those of Güne?-Ayata (1990), and Unbehaun (1994) represent a noticeable progress. Without focusing on the local role of MPs, they set on MPs in a context of interaction among bureaucrats, local politicians and notables. By doing so, they give sometimes sketchy, but interesting indications concerning the role of MPs in their constituency.

[57] However, almost all these case studies deal with rural Turkey or small towns. But in a widely urbanised society, it is risky to generalise clientelist relations, which are by definition encompassing and undifferentiated. Modalities of exchange are probably different in urban contexts. Attempts to grasp them there in a more precise way (Erder 1996, Schüler 1998, Kurto?lu 2004) have not really dealt with MPs and their role in the relation between electors and parties. Now, how can we define relations of MPs with their electorate?

[58] One of the principal roles recognised to MPs consists of transmitting individual requests - in general, but not exclusively, from their electorate - and answering them. This role is both legitimate (a MP has to be at the service of the people and accessible to its requests) and illegitimate (as far as these practices are often disparaged as being particularistic, flouting the public good and the general interest) (Güne?-Ayata 1994 :62). Despite of this ambiguity, it is quasi institutionalised, since parliamentary sessions start at 15 pm, and mornings are devoted to visits. One may observe queues of unequal size, but sometimes really impressive, in front of MPs? office. This role of resort is all the more marked since MPs are often seen as being very powerful, although themselves are quite aware of the limits of their power. It would be important to grasp more precisely exchanged services, given favours, forms of interaction through individual requests, as well as their possible answer. How does one come into contact with a MP? Which ones are much ?demanded?? Which factors may explain this matter of fact: belonging to the majority, to the party controlling the aimed ministry, social status, accessibility, community of belonging, possibility to be an intermediary (Fliche forthcoming), existence of personal resources, district of origin? Are MPs able to refuse and how? In which conditions do they answer to a request? How do they negotiate with institutions to solve problems and get favours? Are these relations sporadic, or is there also a follow-up? Which resources and legitimacy can MPs get from their activity of mediation or from the satisfaction of the requests? In some particular cases, can this activity also constitute a risk, i.e. lead to the loss of respectability or social capital of a MP?

[59] On a higher level, do MPs work as intermediaries for the requests and interests of their constituency to the centre? Do they lobby, with whom, and in which conditions? Which relations do they have with local businessmen, local administrators (vali, kaymakam, mayors), with hem?ehri associations in Ankara and everywhere? It has been argued that the level of contacts of Turkish MPs with collective actors is inferior to that of other European MPs (Loewenberg, Kim 1978). Even if the methodology of the research is debatable (one interview of 90 minutes, no direct observation), it seems necessary not to presuppose that Turkish MPs are necessarily more accessible to particular interests than their European counterparts.

[60] Parliamentary work is the last, and the most public, role of MPs. In some cases, behaviours of MPs within the Parliament can interfere with the voters? requests and their responsibilities in their party. Sometimes, parliamentary sessions start late or are cancelled because of the absence of quorum, or because MPs, busied by some other tasks, are not available.

[61] Legislative activities of MPs are constituted as follow: work in parliamentary commissions - with the possibility to belong to several commissions at the same time -; parliamentary debates (when and how MPs intervene in the proceedings?), speeches from the desk (written and oral questions to the government) (Bak?rc? 2000). Which MPs are more active in this respect and why? Is their legislative activity correlated to their place in the party? To prepare their interventions, MPs can use the documentation service of the parliamentary library, which provides files about different matters. An assistant and a secretary with the status of Parliament employee assist MPs in their tasks. What kind of work are they doing ? These activities should be described in detail and possible behaviours characterised, as well as the different ways to behave in the Parliament itself. A quantitative analysis of the discourses of a number of selected MPs in the Assembly, currently under way, could permit a characterization of MPs? discourses according to different variables.

[62] Conducts within the Parliament are highly ritualised. The way they behave and speak can aim to demonstrate or, on the contrary, to hide the distance between them and their interlocutors. We should also take in account how people apply to MPs, which honours they provide them, and the place of MPs in official events and on less official occasions.

[63] Parliamentary debates are broadcast on TRT, but they rarely appear in newspapers. Violence ? verbal, but also physical - occurs from time to time, leading to scandals: it is perceived as such a transgression of the proper behaviour of a MP that it is then broadcast in the news bulletin. Through those performances, representations of elected members that are constraining their behaviours, should be defined more precisely.

[64] Are there norms constraining the interactions between members of the Parliament, be they from the same party, from the same constituency or not? Are there associations of MPs or former MPs? For instance, interactions in the Parliament?s restaurant should be observed to question the existence of a feeling of belonging to a particular profession, may be beyond party limits. How are these norms interiorised? Is there an informal transmission between the re-elected MPs and the newcomers, for example within parties ?

[65] Ascriptions of roles only define partially the political occupation. Roles are not repertories of actions provided to elected people and from which they should benefit. How do individuals take prescribed roles up, or let roles catch them? Answering this question does not imply studying all the kinds of elected people but to observe some of them, the way they act in various situations of interaction. The question is not to wonder about the ?room of manoeuvre? tolerated by a role, since it differs from a role to another, from a situation to another, and according to the social status and resources of individuals involved (Lagroye 1994:6). We aim to formulate some proposals concerning the way they play these roles and about their relations. Party configurations, political stakes, proprieties of political opponents and their supports; also constrain practices of the occupation and models to which elected people can refer.

[66] MPs learn on the job (Kocao?lu 2003) ; thus, the learning process varies from an individual to another: it depends on the conditions of access to deputation, according to whether they have been active in a party and assumed responsibilities in it, whether they have involved in the associative or trade-union work, or whether their good fortune is due to supports outside the political field. Thus, the apprenticeship of the roles also depends on the social properties of the candidates, because they predispose them more or less to assume the prescribed rules, to play naturally the game. It also varies according to places. Meetings ? sometimes informal - of elected representatives and what happens behind the scene (?kulis?) permit the circulation of practical know-how, warnings and advices. Information and knowledge necessary to fulfil obligations linked to the roles are thus transmitted (Lagroye 1994: 10-11).

[67] The process of learning to be a MP is comparable to the apprenticeship of know-how and of knowledge constituting roles, which catch MPs with variable intensity and different kinds of obligations according whether they subscribe to it with conviction, reason or duty. Therefore, ascriptions of roles are constraints for MPs, their personal history having prepared them more or less to accept. The conditions in which MPs learn the political occupation show that the socialisation can only be limited and that habitus are only marginally modified. This leads us to suggest the hypothesis that initial resources of MPs explain to a certain extend the way they fulfil the occupation and play the roles. In the Turkish case, is it possible to present a typology of MPs according to the way they play their roles? One may for example think about an ideal-typical opposition between on the one side MPs coming from a partisan background engaging strongly into legislative work (universalist discourses), and on the other side MPs having initially mainly non-political resources and investing less in legislative work, but more in particularist interventions? Can these differences be explained by the MP?s resources, their relations with his party, or their presence or not in the government?


General studies

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TTTBMM Ayl?k Bülten

Memoires of MPs

A?ao?lu, Samet (1969) Babam?n arkada?lar?, Istanbul, Baha.

Burçak, R?fk? Salim (1976) Yass?ada ve öncesi, Ankara, Çam.

Kiri?çio?lu, Nusret (1968) Kayseri Cezaevinde bir Y?ldönümü, Istanbul, Baha.

Kocaglu, Emre (2003) Sözüm Meclisten içeri : acemi milletvekilinin Ankara an?lar?, Istanbul, Iyiadam.

Perin, Mithat (1990) Yass?ada Facias?, 2 vol., Dem yy.

1 Elections of 1908, 1912, 1914, and 1919.
2 To be independent, a candidate has to get 20% of the votes of the constituency in which he runs. Independent deputies had disappeared from the Assembly in 1980 (or they appeared only when they resigned from their party), but they reappeared in 1999 with three deputies. In 2002, nine independents were elected out of 260 independent candidates in whole Turkey.
3 Interview, Ankara, 27th March, 2004.

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Citation :

Dorronsoro, Gilles and Massicard, Elise (2004) 'Being a Member of Parliament in Contemporary Turkey', European Journal of Turkish Studies, Call for papers , ejts, URL :

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