AKP’s Hegemony and Democratic Consolidation
- 231 Downloads
This chapter discusses the implications of AKP’s hegemony for democratic consolidation in Turkey and argues that the power of the AKP, stemming from its transformative role in Turkey’s modernization and globalization, has not paved the way to consolidation of democracy, despite the initial democratic reforms the party implemented in its first term in office. On the contrary, the more the AKP has become powerful, the more its relation to democracy has become instrumental and majoritarian. Its electoral hegemony helped the party to successfully challenge the balance of power between the state and the government, evident in the process of civilianization; yet the same electoral hegemony also allowed the party to monopolize power and eliminate checks over it. Moreover, the AKP has not furthered and upgraded Turkish democracy by making it more pluralistic and participatory; instead, the AKP experience has involved what can be called the “instrumentalization of democracy”; first, by reducing democracy to parliamentary majoritarianism, second, by privileging a specific and religious right-claims and freedoms over the others, even to the degree of discrimination. 1 Hence democracy deficit characterized one of the main dimensions of the AKP experience, clearly evident in democratic erosion in key areas such as freedom of expression, information, assembly, and association, demonstrating that the normative commitment to democracy and the strong will for consolidating Turkish democracy constitute the limit of this experience.
KeywordsForeign Policy Power Fusion Military Coup Incumbent Party State Elite
Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.
- 2.Ergun Ozbudun, Contemporary Turkish Politics (Boulder: Lynee Rienner, 2000).Google Scholar
- 3.Menderes Cinar, “The Electoral Success of the AKP: Causes for Hope and Despair,” Insight Turkey, 13 (Fall 2011): 107–127.Google Scholar
- 5.Cinar, “The Electoral Success of the AKP,” 114; Ahmet Kuru, “The Rise and Fall of Military Tutelage in Turkey: Fears of Islamism, Kurdism, and Communism,” Insight Turkey, 14 (2) (2012): 44.Google Scholar
- 8.Ali Carkoglu and Binnaz Toprak, Religion Society and Politics in Changing Turkey (Istanbul: TESEV Publications, 2007).Google Scholar
- 13.The founding ideology of the Republic, Kemalism, which is a project of republican modernization formulated by Kemal Ataturk, is built on six main principles: republicanism, nationalism, populism, etatism, secularism, and reformism-revolutionism. In the Kemalist ideology, elites are considered to be agents of change in the country bringing “modernity,” economic development, and prosperity to the masses. See Umit Cizre-Sakallioglu, “Parameters and Strategies of Islam-State Interaction in Republican Turkey,” International Journal of Middle Eastern Studies, 28 (May 1996): 231–251.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- 26.Akin Unver, “Clash of Communities: Turkey’s Dormant Domestic Cold War,” Political Reflection Quarterly Journal, 1 (Spring 2011): 2–3.Google Scholar
- 28.Hasan Bulent Kahraman, Sosyal Demokrasi Düşüncesi ve Türkiye Pratiği (Istanbul: Sodev, 2000);Google Scholar