A Comparison of Democratic Consolidation in Indonesia and Turkey

Raja M. Ali Saleem, PhD Student, George Mason University

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Abstract

As an overwhelming majority of the countries are already procedural democracies, the focus of academic research has shifted from democratic transition to democratic consolidation. Turkey and Indonesia, despite their differences, share many characteristics and have been presented as model democracies for the Muslim-majority countries. This paper compares and contrasts the attempts to consolidate democracy in these countries. Specifically, it analyzes Indonesia and Turkey on the basis of some of the most important prerequisites of democratic consolidation such as regular elections and constitutional transfer of power; economic growth and development; absence of tutelary powers and reserve domains; ethnic harmony; elite consensus on a democratic role of religion; and horizontal accountability. Analysis shows that while Turkey has been more successful in eliminating military’s tutelary powers and reserve domains, Indonesia has developed stronger horizontal accountability institutions. Both countries, however, still lack ethnic harmony and consensus on the role of Islam in the polity.

Introduction

Recent research on democratic development has focused more on deepening of democracy than on procedural democratic transitions. Advanced democracies have been bedeviled by low voter turnout, declining party membership, and growth of protest movements, both from the right and left side of the political spectrum. Low confidence in the democratic institutions of these countries has forced scholars to look anew at these once-celebrated experiments (Fukuyama, 2012; Benhabib et al., 2013). In comparatively new democracies, deepening of democracy has been linked with the consolidation of democracy, a presumed state of nirvana when all fears of democratic reversal are extinguished once and for all. Consolidation of democracy, the focus of this paper, is considered the greatest challenge for these states as threats to democracy now come not from the rival systems of organizing government, but from the inside i.e. from defective democracies and lookalikes (Diamond, 1996; 2008).

 

It has been argued that cross-regional comparisons can lead to valuable insights, if selections are done carefully (Ruland & Manea, 2013). So, without minimizing their differences, this paper intends to compare the prospects of democratic consolidation in Turkey and Indonesia. These two countries share many characteristics. Both countries are emerging economies that have done well recently in increasing economic growth and prosperity, placing them among the twenty largest economies of the world.  They are also Muslim-majority and democratic, a rare combination. Since the late nineties, both countries have made immense strides in deepening their democracies and have been presented as models for other regional Muslim countries. Despite these achievements, both countries also face strong pressure from their ethno-linguistic secessionist movements and from powerful militaries, which have regularly intervened in politics in the past. Many analysts have predicted that Turkey and Indonesia would overcome these problems and would become consolidated democracies sooner than later. Others are not so optimistic and point to the recent events in Gazi Park, Istanbul and corruption scandals and ethnic conflict in Indonesia as evidence of lack of democratic progress (Amnesty International, 2012; Ozdemir, 2013).

 

Agreement on definition or prerequisites of democratic consolidation is lacking even after more than two decades of continuous rigorous research and academic debate. The following conditions, however, have been selected by many scholars as necessary for a country to become a consolidated democracy.

  1. Regular elections and constitutional transfer of power
  2. Economic growth and development
  3. Absence of tutelary powers and reserve domains
  4. Ethnic harmony
  5. Elite consensus on a democratic role of religion
  6. Horizontal Accountability

 

This paper analyzes and compares status of democratic consolidation in Turkey and Indonesia on the basis of the above requisites. Focus on these requisites, however, should not be construed as an assertion that these are the only requisites of democratic consolidation.

 

Regular elections and constitutional transfer of power

The most famous of minimalist definitions of a consolidated democracy was given by the eminent scholar Samuel P. Huntington. He argued that a democracy becomes consolidated when it passes the two turnover test i.e. power is peacefully transferred twice after the democratic transition (Huntington, 1993). Other scholars, like Gasiorowski & Power (1998), have also considered regular elections and constitutional transfer of power key conditions for democratic consolidation. Most scholars, however, think of these as necessary, but not sufficient conditions of democratic consolidation.

 

Based on whether the 1997 soft coup is considered a minor undemocratic misdemeanor or a military coup, it can be argued that Turkey passed this test in 1997 or in 2002. In the former case, the first democratic transition, after the military coup in 1980, happened in 1991 when power was constitutionally transferred to the True Path Party coalition and second constitutional transfer occurred in 1997 when Motherland Party-Democratic Left Party coalition assumed power. However, if the change in 1997 is considered a coup, then the second constitutionally transfer of power happened in 2002 when Freedom and Justice Party (Adalet ve Kalkınma Partisi-AKP) took over from the Democratic Left Party-led coalition.

 

Indonesia became a consolidated democracy, according to Huntington criterion, in 2004. The first constitutional transfer of power happened in 2001 when President Megawati Sukarnoputri took over from President Abdurrahman Wahid and the second transfer of power happened when President Megawati handed the reins of government to President Yudhoyono in 2004. Both Turkey and Indonesia have, therefore, passed the most basic test of democratic consolidation.

 

Economic growth and development

The relationship between economic factors and democracy has been studied for a long time. Prima facie evidence shows that rich countries are usually democracies while poor countries are not. Seymour Lipset (1963) was the first scholar to explicitly link stable democracy with a nation’s economic development. Since then, this causal relationship has been rigorously tested, both quantitatively and qualitatively, and it still stands true (Diamond and Marks, 1992). For example, Barro (1999) showed empirically that higher standards of living and gross domestic product (GDP) are linked with democracy and its continuity.  More recently, scholars have distinguished between democratic transition and democratic consolidation/stability. Przeworski (2004) and Hegre et. al (2012) came to the conclusion that increase in the GDP per capita assists in democratic consolidation but does not affect the probability of democratic transition from authoritarian rule. This is good news for both Turkey and Indonesia as these countries, already democratic, are aiming to be consolidated democracies and have shown great economic progress in recent times.

 

The Turkish economy has blossomed since the 2001 recession. Turkey’s GDP and per capita income has almost tripled in the last decade under the AKP’s rule and in the recent times, the Turkish economy has been the fastest growing economy in Europe (Topol, 2013). Rampant inflation has been brought down, the stock market is booming, and exports and imports have increased exponentially. There are some concerns about dependency on international capital markets for dealing with high current account deficits, but Turkey has successfully managed these vulnerabilities for more than a decade (Sonmez, 2013). As Table 2 shows, economic progress in Turkey has not been achieved at the expense of social indicators, which have also improved considerably.

 

The Indonesian economy, after recovering from the disastrous Asian Crisis of late 1990s, has made amazing progress. The Indonesian GDP has increased more than four-fold since 2000. Inflation has been brought down and foreign trade has skyrocketed. Debt as a percentage of GDP has decreased from risky levels of close to ninety percent of GDP in 2000 to less than thirty percent of GDP in 2011. Foreign direct investment has transformed from negative four and half billion in 2000 to more than nineteen billion in 2011. Millions of Indonesians have escaped poverty during the last decade. From a situation of almost half of the population being declared poor in 2000, Indonesia has managed to bring down the poverty rate to less than twenty percent.

 

Based on the above discussion, it is clear that both Indonesia and Turkey are moving toward becoming consolidated democracies as high economic growth and development has raised the living standards of most of the people and provided legitimacy to the democratic rule.

 

Table 1: Economic Indicators (US$ Millions unless otherwise indicated)

 

Turkey

Indonesia

 

 

 

2000

2010

2000

2011

GDP (US $ billions)

266.6

735.7

165

734

GDP Implicit Deflator (annual % change)

49.2

6.3

20.4

8.4

Total Merchandise Exports

27,775

113,883

65,408

200,788

Total Merchandise Imports

54,503

185,544

44,404

182,604

Reserves (Including Gold)

26,106

85,961

29,268

106,530

Overall Fiscal Deficit

8.0

3.2

1.8

1.1

Total Debt (% of GDP)

43.8

39.9

86.9

27.2

FDI

982

7955

-4550

19242

Stock Market Capitalization(% of GDP)

26.1

41.7

16.3

58.4

Source: World Bank (2012, 2013)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Table 2: Millennium Development Goals

 

Turkey

Indonesia

 

 

 

1995

2009

1995

2010

Poverty at $1.25/day (% population)

2.1

2.7

43.4

18.1

Secondary School Enrolment (Gross, %)

57

82

49

77

Infant Mortality Rate (per 1000 live births)

52

19

46

27

Maternal Mortality Rate(per 100,000 live births)

51

23

440

240

Access to Improved Water Facilities (% population)

89

99

74

80

Access to Improved Sanitation Facilities (% population)

85

90

38

52

Internet Users (per 100 people)

0.1

35.3

0.0

9.9

Mobile Subscribers (per 100 people)

0.7

83.9

0.1

91.7

Source: World Bank (2012, 2013)

 

Ethnic harmony

Scholars have long pointed out that the journey of ethnically homogeneous countries towards democratic consolidation is far less torturous that that of ethnically heterogeneous countries.   Lijphart starts his book Democracy in Plural Societies (1977) with the sentence, ‘That it is difficult to achieve and maintain democratic government in a plural society is a well-established proportion in political science’. Diamond and Kim (2000) called the ethnic homogeneity of South Korea ‘propitious’ for the process of democratic consolidation, in contrast to hurdles faced by many new heterogeneous democracies of Asia and Africa. The majoritarian characteristic of democracy does not sit well with the multi-ethnic societies.  Ethnic heterogeneity makes democratic consolidation difficult as democrats generally have to remain legitimate rulers not only for the majority of population but also for the majority of most ‘awakened’ ethnic groups. Meanwhile, non-democratic forces can easily use ethnic differences to play different groups against each other and destabilize the political system. Many scholars have, therefore, linked ethnic heterogeneity with an increased probability of an unstable and violent democracy (Rabushka & Shepsle, 1971; Linz & Stephan, 1996; Mousseau, 2001). Ethnic harmony is, therefore, a necessary condition for the stability and consolidation of democracy.

 

Both Indonesia and Turkey are multi-ethnic countries and have faced periodic ethnic violence. Scholars have identified four broad strategies employed by states to deal with their minorities: repression, exclusion, assimilation, and accommodation (Daly, 2103). The first three strategies can be linked with the idea of ethnic nationalism i.e. nationalism is based on a particular ethnicity.  The accommodation strategy is usually a result of a civic nationalism which does not prefer a particular ethnicity and thus is more inclusive.

 

Table 3: State Policies toward Minorities

State Strategy

Definition/Explanation

Repression

Minority rights are denied and minorities face indiscriminate violence

Exclusion

Minority rights are denied but without systematic policy of violence towards them

Assimilation

Political and civil rights are protected at individual level but group rights are denied and expressions of separate cultural identity are restricted.

Accommodation

Minorities enjoy political and civil right both at personal and group level

Source: Daly (2103)

 

Turkey has only two major ethnic groups, Turks and Kurds. After its formation in 1923, Turkish state’s broad policy toward minorities was initially exclusion and later assimilation. The state had an exclusivist nationalist ideology based on Turkish ethnicity and anybody professing a non-Turk identity faced repercussions (Bishku, 2007). Kurds, as the biggest minority, faced the most difficulties as their existence was denied. They were called ‘mountain Turks’ or ‘eastern Turks’ and not allowed to use their language and ethnic symbols in the public sphere. Unsurprisingly, refusal to accept separate Kurdish identity has led to grievances and conflict. This conflict has been exacerbated by a unitary state and powerful Turkish military, which considered itself the defender of Turkish state/ideology.

 

Figure 1: Ethnic Groups in Turkey

 

Source: CIA-The World Factbook (2013). The data is approximate as ethnicity is not measured separately in census.

 

The geography of the Indonesian archipelago, consisting of thousands of islands, has contributed to the formation of an ethnic mosaic. There are hundreds of ethnic groups in Indonesia. The founding fathers of Indonesia wisely didn’t give preference to any ethnic/religious identity and came up with the Pancasila philosophy, which became the basis of Indonesian civic nationalism. The state avowed policy toward minorities was and is that of accommodation and, therefore, legally, the state does not favor any ethnic group. The official motto, Bhinneka Tunggal Ika (Unity in Diversity), also encapsulated this policy of acceptance and accommodation of differences. This inclusive policy saw its expression in the choice of official language and religion. At the time of independence, the language of the major ethnic group (Javanese) and the religion of majority of population (Islam) were not preferred over others. The choice of official language was particularly significant. Bahasa Indonesia, the official language chosen, is a dialect of Malay and was spoken by tiny minority (around 5%of population) at the time of independence (Ayers, 2009).  However, despite this policy, many ethnic groups, such as Aceheans and Chinese Indonesians, have suffered as they have been denied their political and civil rights (Hoon, 2006; Aspinall, 2009). Rule by the military, which are mostly Javanese, has further exacerbated these problems (Bhakti, 2009).

 

Figure 2: Ethnic Groups in Indonesia

 

Source: Suryadinata et. al. (2003)

 

Since 1997-8, democratic governments in both countries have tried to decrease the grievances of minority ethnic groups and have adopted a more conciliatory tone. The AKP government in Turkey has accepted some of the demands of the Kurds, and is working on a more comprehensive peace agreement, which will extend more rights to the Kurdish minority. Indonesia, which seemed to be embroiled in numerous ethnic conflicts in the late 1990s, has also managed to contain ethnic grievances and resulting violence. For example, the long standing Aceh conflict was peacefully settled by giving more autonomy to the Aceh region (McCulloch, 2005).

 

A common theme of the new approach in both countries is downgrading of the military’s role in these ethnic conflicts. This change has not only helped increase the legitimacy of the democratic governments, but also exposed the fallacious argument made by the militaries (and their supporters) that a strong military role is indispensable for the cohesion and integrity of Turkey and Indonesia. Again, it can be argued that both countries have moved closer to becoming consolidated democracies as there is a decrease in ethnic conflict. However, there is a lot of work to be done as ethnic minorities still face discrimination and denial of rights (Amnesty International, 2013; Morris, 2013).

 

Tutelary Powers and Reserve Domains

New democracies face the classic dilemma: Quis custodiet ipsos custodes (who will guard the guardian)? Armed forces have to be adequately trained and equipped with the best instruments of violence so that they can ward of any internal or external threat to the state. Simultaneously, every effort is made to make the armed forces the only possessor of the instruments of violence. However, it is hoped that all this power and capability will not make the military reject the supremacy of its civilian masters. This is a difficult proposition, as greater capability usually leads to greater confidence in oneself and in one’s own decisions and not to voluntary subordination to others.

 

As the military has been mostly under civilian control in Europe and North America, both in democracies and communist countries, many scholars focusing on these countries have ignored the military’s role in democratic development. In contrast, scholars focusing on Africa, Asia and Latin America have focused on the military as most of the countries in these regions have suffered coups repeatedly (Valenzuela, 1990; Pion-Berlin, 2001).

 

Successfully dealing with what has been described as civil-military problematique is one of the prerequisites of democratic consolidation. The exact nature of civilian control can differ based on peculiar circumstances of each country, but civilian ascendency over military is necessary before a country is declared a consolidated democracy. The main factors that influence the dynamics of civilian-military relations are the previous experience of military rule; legitimacy of the democratic government; internal/external threats to the state; links of the military with the society/state (military make-up, historical role, civic operations); and international and neighborhood norms.

 

In the late 1990s, Turkish democratic forces faced a much more difficult prospect than their Indonesian counterparts in terms of civilian control of military. The Turkish military was highly respected and had played a tutelary role for the last eight decades, based on its special relationship with the state.  This special relationship was based on the military’s role in the formation of the Republic of Turkey under the command of heroic general Mustafa Kemal Ataturk. The Turkish military defined its role not only as the defender of the state but also of (Kemalist) state ideology, and justified its frequent interventions in the political realm to protect this ideology (Yeşilova, 2010).  By contrast, the Indonesian military was demoralized and defeated (in East Timor) after the end of thirty-two years of General Suharto’s Orde Baru (New Order). Military’s political role was considered a failure by most political parties and there was no appetite for further extension of the dwifungsi (dual role/function) of military. Therefore, at the start of democratic change in the late 1990s, the probability of establishing civilian control of the military was much higher in Indonesia than in Turkey.

 

However, two important dynamics helped Turkey establish a much firmer civilian control of military, in comparison to Indonesia. These two dynamics were legitimacy of the democratic setup and the neighborhood/European Union norms. The AKP government increased its legitimacy, in each election after 2002, by getting a larger share of vote. The EU Copenhagen Criteria, which envisaged civilian control of military, put further pressure on Turkish military to submit to the popular mandate. Now the tutelary powers of the Turkish military and its reserve domains, which were off-limit to the democratic governments, have disappeared. Further, the era when democratic leaders always looked over their shoulders to try to avoid another coup also appears to be over.

 

In Indonesia, despite initial auspicious conditions, the opportunity of comprehensive civilian control of military was lost because of military’s significant role in the democratic transition and the decreasing legitimacy of the political setup after the President Walid/Megawati tussle. The lack of any democratic neighborhood norms in the South East Asian region, where most countries are not liberal democracies, also didn’t help. The situation has improved as compared to 1998 as the military’s reserved seats in the parliament have been abolished; Indonesian police have separated from the military and the military doesn’t interfere in civilian affairs as is in the case of other countries like Thailand or Burma. However, generals have been able to safeguard their institutional prestige and privileges (Mietzner, 2006). For example, military is still highly respected as is evident from the fact that many of the presidential and vice-presidential candidates since 1998 have been former generals and the current president in also a former general. Moreover, military men can still take part in elections without resigning; the control of the defense budget and defense ministry is still with the military; the decision about the pace of the security sector reform has been ceded to the military; and military interference in local law-enforcement is not completely over (Honna, 2013; Bhakti, 2009; Croissant et. al., 2012).

 

Elite consensus on a democratic role of religion

As religion had mostly been restricted to the private sphere in all consolidated democracies, except the US, it was thought that secularization was also a prerequisite for being a stable democracy. However, events of the last three decades have shown that such a conclusion is euro-centric. The prerequisite for democratic consolidation is not exclusion of religion from the public sphere but elite consensus on a role of religion that does not hinder democratic development.

 

Before the Arab Spring revolutions, there was debate in academic circles about whether Islam is compatible with democracy. Huntington (1998) and others argued based on the assumption that there is one monolithic Islam and as there is no separation of church and state in Islam, democracy cannot prosper. The Arab Spring has fortunately resolved this debate and now scholars, rather than deciding ab initio about the viability of democracy based on majority religion, are studying circumstances in particular Muslim (majority) countries. In many new Muslim democracies, the role of Islam in public affairs is one of the most important and most continuous issues facing decision-makers. Both Indonesia and Turkey are also trying to resolve this issue without tearing apart the fabric of their nations.

 

Turkey seemed to have settled this issue in the 1920s and 1930s when Ataturk decided that religion would be completely removed from the public sphere. This decision was enforced on a reluctant populace. The aggressive secularism of Ataturk was closer to the French laicite than to the US secularism, which calls for separation of church and state but accepts a role of religion in the public sphere (Davison, 2003). For the next seventy years, the Turkish military and the courts guarded this policy as an inviolable legacy of Ataturk, and a defining characteristic of the Turkish state. Recently, however, this debate has opened up again because of three consecutive election victories of the Islamist AKP party (Zacharia, 2010). The hold of secularism is still strong but the AKP is gradually gaining ground as it is defining this issue as a case of human rights, rather than demanding an increased role of Islam in public sphere.

 

The Indonesian founding fathers, as mentioned above, decided not to make Islam the state religion, despite it being the religion of an overwhelming majority. The first principle of Pancasila, the state philosophy, calls for a belief in one God, but it is a non-confessional God. the Indonesian constitution initially recognized three religions (Islam, Catholicism and Protestantism) and later added three more religions (Hinduism, Buddhism and Confucianism). Although religions, other than Islam, faced some social restrictions, state was generally neutral. The end of Suharto rule brought the issue of Islam’s role in the state back in the open. There was religious conflict between Christians and Muslims, and some Islamic parties demanded an increased role of Islam in state affairs. However, to maintain communal harmony, the Indonesian state kept its policy of not giving preference to any religion (Vickers, 2013). Still, concerns were expressed about the neutrality of the Indonesian state, as many Sharia-based laws were adopted at the local level. The attacks on Ahmadiyyah, a group considered heretic by most Muslims, have also increased, which has led some experts to warn about creeping Islamization (Nurbaiti, 2011). Others, however, contradict this assertion, and point to the declining share of Islamic/Islamist parties vote in elections and waning support in public opinion polls (The Jakarta Post, 2012; Perdani, 2013).

 

Both Indonesia and Turkey are passing through a crucial stage in their history. For the first time in the history of both countries, elites that have governed these countries since independence have been cast aside and other social groups are taking power. For these groups, Islam is an important part of their lives and, therefore, they seek a more public role for Islam. However, this project is bitterly opposed by the secularists/liberals in Turkey and by the non-Muslims in Indonesia, and it is difficult to foresee Islam becoming state religion in either country. Therefore, the main danger for democratic consolidation in both countries is not as much increased role of religion as prolonged conflict between elites on the role of religion that may lead militaries to reassert themselves.

 

Horizontal Accountability

Accountability is one of the basic characteristics of a democracy. Rulers are not divinely appointed; they are given responsibility to govern under certain conditions. If these conditions are not met, rulers have to be cautioned, stopped or removed. As Madison wrote in Federalist 51, ‘If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary. In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself’ (Madison, 1788).

 

There are two forms of accountability, vertical and horizontal. Vertical accountability is established in a democracy by periodic elections. Most of the new democracies, including Turkey and Indonesia, pass this test. The main limitation of vertical accountability is that elections usually come after four or more years and, once a party has won an election, it can do whatever it likes, unless there are parallel institutions to make it accountable i.e. there is horizontal accountability. Horizontal accountability of the executive branch is done mainly through state institutions/bodies such as the judiciary, the committees of legislatures, counter-corruption commissions, ombudsmen, and audit institutions, etc. One of the distinguishing features of the consolidated democracies is effective horizontal accountability mechanisms (O’Donnel, 1998). In many new democracies, institutions of horizontal accountability exist, but they do not do much oversight of the executive. Either these institutions have no powers, or they are in control of the executive, making them nothing more than ‘paper institutions’ (Diamond, 2008). Media, although outside the state apparatus, is sometimes also considered an institution of horizontal accountability.

 

Generalizations about different political systems are difficult to make, but presidential systems are generally better at horizontal accountability as concept of separation of powers is inbuilt in these systems and presidents usually face tough resistance from the legislatures in the presidential systems.  In parliamentary systems, by contrast, there is no clear distinction between the executive and the legislature. So, accountability by legislatures in new parliamentary democracies requires strong conventions of legislative oversight, which take a long time to develop (Rahman, 2008). Institutionally, therefore, Indonesia, having a presidential system, is in a better position than Turkey, a parliamentary democracy, for legislative horizontal accountability.

 

Horizontal accountability has declined significantly in Turkey since AKP’s victory in 2007 general elections. At the start of the AKP period in 2002, there were many democratic and undemocratic power centers which held the elected government accountable. The judiciary and the presidency criticized AKP actions and stopped them whenever they seemed fit. The media was also a critic. However, the most powerful institution of horizontal accountability was the Turkish military. It used legal and illegal ways to keep the AKP government on a tight leash. During the last six years, the situation has completely reversed. The AKP has taken over the presidency and the judiciary has become more pliant after changes approved in the 2010 constitutional referendum were implemented. Military power has decreased after Ergenekon trails and many in the media have been a target of AKP’s wrath (Zacharia, 2010; Öniş, 2013). The lack of horizontal accountability became clear during the recent Gazi Park protests, which showed that few challenges remain to the Prime Minister’s power in Turkey (Mecham, 2013).

 

In contrast, horizontal accountability has been increasing in Indonesia since the fall of Suharto. Prospects of emergence of one political party (like the AKP) dominating all organs of state and nullifying horizontal accountability are remote. Most of the Indonesian Presidents did not have a simple majority in the legislature, so the Indonesian legislature has been an important source of accountability. Several legal/constitutional reforms implemented, after the fall of Suharto, have bolstered the independence of judiciary from the executive. The establishment of Constitutional Court, along with the decrease in the presidential powers to appoint the higher judiciary and the transfer of control of the lower courts from the executive to the Supreme Court, are few of the changes made since the return of democracy (Crouch, 2010). These changes have made Indonesian judiciary another potent source of horizontal accountability.

 

Another important source of horizontal accountability in Indonesia is the corruption eradication commission, established in 2002. This commission has been quite aggressive in its work and has not refrained from registering cases of graft against high bureaucratic or ruling party officials in bureaucracy or the ruling party. Recently, President Yudhoyono’s party was implicated in a scandal (BBC News Asia 2012). Media’s role as a watchdog for the public interest is crucial in the efficient functioning of the consolidated democracies.  Indonesia’s independent and vibrant media is an important source of horizontal accountability, notwithstanding the links between politicians and media groups and some areas where freedom of expression is weak due to harsh laws or self-censorship by the media (Jakarta Post, 2011; Human Rights Watch, 2012)

 

Conclusion

Leo Tolstoy wrote in the opening line of his famous novel, Anna Karenina, ‘Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way’. Similar is the case with democracies. All consolidated democracies are similar. They are well governed; democratic rules of game are accepted by all; there is sufficient horizontal accountability; the military is under civilian control; ethnic/linguistic/religious minority rights are accepted, etc. But each non-consolidated democracy is different. Some of them suffer from economic mismanagement; others face chronic ethnic conflict; still others agonize under a strong man/party rule. In many non-consolidated democracies, it is a combination of these problems that threaten the democratic regime. Turkey and Indonesia are both close to becoming consolidated democracies but they face dangers of digress or impasse from different directions. Turkey faces the danger of electoral authoritarianism, if institutions of horizontal accountability are not strengthened. The draft of the new presidential system presented by the AKP last year further decreases independent/parallel sources of power. Moreover, the exchange of harsh words between the EU and Turkey has made the path of joining the EU more difficult and remote, removing a crucial bulwark against undemocratic tendencies both in the AKP and the Turkish military (Bonzon, 2013; Benhabib, 2013). These developments present a bleak picture for democratic consolidation in Turkey. The main threat to democratic consolidation in Indonesia comes from economic mismanagement/corruption and politicians’ inability to control such a diverse country. The danger in Indonesia is the return of the military rule due to large scale ethnic violence, economic downturn, or a political impasse, due to the inability of politicians to reach agreement. As the events in Gazi Park showed, making long-term predictions about democratic consolidation in these countries is difficult. However, at the moment, Indonesia, despite (or because of) its diversity, appears to be in a better position to become a consolidated democracy than Turkey.

 


 

 

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