Competitive authoritarianism in Turkey under the AKP rule

Esen, Berk (2021) Competitive authoritarianism in Turkey under the AKP rule. In: Jongerden, Joost, (ed.) The Routledge Handbook on Contemporary Turkey. Routledge, London, pp. 153-167. ISBN 9780429264030

Full text not available from this repository. (Request a copy)


Despite its long history of multiparty rule, Turkey has failed to consolidate its democratic regime. Having experienced democratic turnover in the 1950 general elections, Turkish politics oscillated to a large extent between majoritarian rule under right-wing populist parties and military governments. Sustained by patronage politics and clientelism, this strong populist tradition triggered economic bottlenecks that proved difficult at times to address under a democratic regime. During the resulting political crises, the Turkish military acted as a guardian actor to break the deadlock by toppling popularly elected governments. Scholars of Turkish politics initially hoped that this “coup trap” would be broken by the Justice and Development Party that had formed a single-party government after the 2002 general elections. Despite such early optimism, however, the AKP rule has regressed to a competitive authoritarian regime in which the ruling party enjoys uneven access to public and private resources and the playing field is increasingly tilted against the opposition parties. Following its re-election victory in 2007, the AKP government gradually broke the tutelage of the military and judiciary, but instead of opening up the political arena, it sought to capture state institutions, redistribute public resources in a partisan way, and bring opposition actors under tighter control. In analysing changing regime dynamics over the past decade, the chapter will position the AKP rule in the larger context of Turkey’s multiparty history and discuss the possibility of reversing this trend through the opposition’s election victory. Such a victory may break Turkey’s pendulum swings between populist majoritarianism and tutelary intervention in favour of democratic consolidation.
Item Type: Book Section / Chapter
Divisions: Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
Depositing User: Berk Esen
Date Deposited: 04 Sep 2022 20:21
Last Modified: 04 Sep 2022 20:21

Actions (login required)

View Item
View Item