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Monopolising the Centre: The AKP and the Uncertain Path of Turkish Democracy


The loss of reform momentum and rising authoritarianism during the most recent phase of AKP government indicate that Turkish democracy is in crisis. Although the Gezi protests emerged as a movement from below reacting to the rising authoritarianism of the AKP government, it did not turn into an organised and sustainable movement. Similarly, external anchors or reputational effects are failing to reverse the backsliding of Turkish democracy. The notion of ‘bounded communities’ is a key concept in accounting for the continued dominance of Erdoğan and the AKP in the face of significant pressure for change. Erdoğan’s victory in the August 2014 presidential elections generates both benign and pessimistic scenarios for the future of Turkish democracy.

Keywords: democratic consolidation, illiberal democracy, dominant parties, Turkish politics, European Union