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Anatomy of Authoritarianism in Turkey`s Example: Complexities, Peculiarities and New Challenges

Turkey`s authoritarian turn in last ten years constitutes a challenging and distinct example. Authoritarian transformation in Turkey`s regime has emerged from a different social background and resulted with unpredictable dimensions. As many observers would agree, Turkey - an established member in Western alliances (NATO, OECD) and a long-time candidate for EU membership - has rapidly become less democratic and more authoritarian in last decade. Especially in the context of Gezi protests (2013), Erdogan`s victory in presidential elections (2014), end of peace negotiations with Kurdish movement (2015), coup attempt and state of emergency (2016), referendum for constitutional changes (2017); the reasons and dynamics of Turkey`s authoritarian transformation have gained an ever-growing relevance. Most analyses have accurately focused on Erdogan`s unchallenged and unbridled power in policymaking processes. Although Erdogan`s leadership has played key roles in crucial moments; the explanatory power of these analyses have faced with some boundaries. As the main weakness, these analyses tend to neglect the social and political dynamics of Turkey`s authoritarian transformation. Some important questions have remained non-discussed: To what extent Turkey`s regime can be considered as democratic? What are the ossified problems of Turkey`s democracy? In which fields Turkey`s regime has transformed towards authoritarianism? How did Erdogan and his party (AKP) employ "promises of democratization" for reaching their strategic aims? Why did a harmonious actor in the international system become less democratic in time? What made the "brave reformer" of 2003, a "modern Sultan" in 2013? In this presentation, I focus on complexities and peculiarities in Turkey`s authoritarian transformation in last decade.

See also: "On the Pyrrhic Victory of Turkey`s Modern Sultan"

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