A bit later this evening I’m taking the night bus to Aegean Turkey, sometime tomorrow I will get to Assos right on the coast. Assos goes back to Ancient times when it was a Greek colony. Aristotle spend a few years there in exile from the politics in Athens.
I will speak to some philosophy students visiting Turkey about Ancient Liberty. I will concentrate on Aristotle’s Politics, and my recent reading on it has lead me to think about many ambiguities in Aristotle’s account of a republic which is a word translators are using as synonymous with constitutional state or political state, or state governed by a group of free men. One thing that struck me is the strong emphasis on law above everything in the community. H says that democracy rests on law, not on majority decisions.
We should be careful about discussing very specific situations through reference to political theory, but there are times when it is inevitable. Looking at all this talk from the EU that the Turkish courts are wrong to examine a closure case against Turkey’s governing AKP, which is rooted in religious conservatism.
Whether the case is right or wrong, republican theory since Aristotle suggests that freedom and democracy rest on law not popular will at any one moment.