This week we saw the emergence of a major diplomatic conflict between Turkey and the Netherlands. In short, the Dutch government used legal means to ban two Turkish ministers from Dutch territory, preventing them to hold speeches in support of the Erdogan campaign. This campaign is about a referendum that would change the Turkish Constitution, putting –bluntly said- more power in the hands of the Turkish President.
In the media, we see an explosion of articles that are about the ‘lawfulness’ of the Dutch actions and Turkish ministers. However, what I miss in the ‘mainstream’ debate is a very important underling question: ‘can you use democratic means to realize undemocratic results?’ Or, from the opposite perspective: ‘can you use undemocratic means to protect democracy?’
Each year, on the Tuesday after the first Monday of November, The Americans elect their public officials. However, upcoming Tuesday 8 November is a special Election Day. Not only will the next President of the United States be elected, but also the new Members of the House of Representatives as well as one third of the Senators. Due to different election methods however, the party who wins the presidential elections does not automatically gains a majority in the two houses. This is what happens.
While democracy is often portrayed as a hard earned freedom and a prerequisite for being a well faring nation, it most certainly has a downside. Recently, we have seen plenty of examples in which democratic processes were used in a counterproductive way. For instance, the British referendum on the EU, the Dutch referendum regarding the association treaty with Ukraine, and the Republican nominee for the upcoming U.S. precedency can hardly be regarded as good examples of how democracy could contribute to better governance. Democracy in itself is not right nor wrong, it is the way people handle it that is. Constitutional protection and good citizenship should make democracy work.