Political Development in Modern Turkey

DOI: 10.20542/0131-2227-2014-9-84-91

D. Malysheva, Institute of World Economy and International Relations, Russian Academy of Sciences (IMEMO RAN), Russian Federation, 117997 Moscow, Profsoyuznaya Str., 23 (dsheva@mail.ru).

Abstract. The transformation of political system in Turkey resulted in creation of a pluralistic society, while the Justice and Development Party (AKP) – the winner of the country’s last five national elections – provides with the most relevant political model which is unique for the country with a predominant Muslim population. Turkey has made an impressive progress since Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his populist AKP came to power in 2002. The country entered the G20, its GDP tripled, while exports increased fivefold. Turkey's role in international affairs has grown significantly. For more than a decade of Erdoğan's leadership, the government has undertaken a limited democratization process through amendments to the Constitution and steps to eliminate the military tutelage over the civil authority. Nowadays domestic political process in Turkey is characterized by the erosion of secularism and the planting of a moderate (“soft”) Islam. The ruling Turkish elite seeks to transform local society into a more conservative one. In April 2013, Erdoğan initiated discussion by Parliament to the proposed new Constitution, including the transition from a parliamentary to a presidential form of government. The major breakthrough has been reached in relations with the Kurds. In March 2013, a truce was attained with the jailed PKK (Kurdistan Workers Party) leader Abdullah öcalan. The PKK forces retreated hereupon to bases in the autonomous Iraqi Kurdistan. The Kurdish party – Peace and Democracy – is presented in the Parliament, along with the ruling AKP (which takes 50% of the seats) and the opposition Republican People's Party. At the same time Turkey has already seen societal polarization since the 2013 Gezi Park protests (“the Turkish Spring”) which grew into a nationwide protest movement. This, however, did not affect the determination of the AKP to build a model based on the market economy, parliamentary democracy and Islamic traditions. This model may be in demand in other countries with a prevailing Muslim population. Turkey’s political system can also inspire Arab neighbouring countries, where – like in Turkey – the pro-Islamic ruling parties are actively looking for alternative forms of development.

Keywords: political process, Erdoğan, secular model, moderate Islamism,“the Turkish Spring”, kemalism, secularism, Atatürk, Gülen

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For citation:
Malysheva D. Political Development in Modern Turkey. World Eonomy and International Relations, 2014, no. 9, pp. 84-91. https://doi.org/10.20542/0131-2227-2014-9-84-91

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