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Erdoğan’s “New Turkey”

Restoring the Authoritarian State in the Name of Democracy

SWP Comment 2014/C 44, 28.10.2014, 7 Pages Research Areas

European and American commentators warn that Turkey is drifting back into authoritarianism, citing excessive police violence against demonstrators, restrictions on freedom of the press and internet, government interference in the judiciary, purges in the bureaucracy, and an anti-European policy shift. They note with astonishment that former prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was able to win the presidency on an increased share of the vote despite credible accusations of corruption, strife within the conservative camp and foreign policy failures. Erdoğan himself speaks of the “New Turkey” having succeeded the old, authoritarian Kemalist republic and brought forth a progressive democracy.

How broad is support for Erdoğan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) across society? What can be expected of the new government? How fundamental is the reconstruction of the political system, and what does the it mean for the future of democracy? How can and should Europe respond?