The political system of Turkey is not dissimilar from the political system in Britain, based largely on the concept of an egalitarian social order, coupled with a strict and democratic, legal justice. As stated in the constitution - The Republic of Turkey, founded in 1923, is a democratic, secular and social state governed by the rule of law. The modern Turkish political system has led an interesting if, at times, turbulent existence since its inception after the war of independence when Mustafa Kemal Atatürk introduced reforms and the Turkish Constitution was written.
Originally the country was ruled as a single party state by the Republicans People Party (CHP) but changed to a multi-party political system in 1946 with the creation of the Democratic Party (DP) who won the election in 1950 breaking the dominance of the CHP. The multi-party period witnessed tensions over the following decades marked by periods of political instability resulting in a number of military coups d'états in 1960, 1971, 1980. Despite this the Military has become a trusted and popular state organ, committed to the recognition of the Turkish Constitution.
The head of state is the President, currently Abdullah Gül who was elected for a five-year term by direct elections in 2007. He presides over the National Security council, which formulates and implements the national security policy of the State He represents the Republic of Turkey and the unity of the Turkish Nation in a largely ceremonial role.
The country is governed by a council of ministers headed by the Prime Minister, currently Tayyip Erdoğan of the Justice and Development Party (AKP). The prime minister is responsible for all executive duties and is elected by the parliament through a vote of confidence in his government.
Legislative power rests with the Grand National Assembly of which there are 550 members of parliament each elected for a five-year term from 85 electoral districts representing the 81 administrative provinces of Turkey (İstanbul is divided into three electoral districts, Ankara and İzmir divided into two, due to their proportionally much larger populations). To avoid a hung parliament, only parties that win at least 10% of the votes cast in a national parliamentary election gain the right to representation.
Modern Turkish politics dates back to the liberalization of the Turkish economy starting in the 1980s that changed the landscape of the country. In 2002 the Justice and Development came to power with a large parliamentary majority and further stabilised the country. A snap election was held in 2007 due to opposition parties in parliament blocking the AKP's nominee for the post of president causing a political deadlock. The Justice and Development Party retained power and Erdoğan won a second five-year term in office, while the Party increased its share of the vote to 46%. European Union officials welcomed the AKP's sweeping victory, describing it as “a mandate for the reforms it wants Turkey to complete during its membership talk”, this as Turkey enters a new phase of its political future, under the auspices of the European Union and a globalised world market.