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Turkey's Judiciary and the Drift Toward Competitive Authoritarianism


Turkey has always been considered an “illiberal democracy”, or in Freedom House’s terms, a “partly-free” country. In recent years, however, there has been a downward trend toward “competitive authoritarianism”. Such regimes are competitive in that opposition parties use democratic institutions to contest seriously for power, but they are not democratic because the playing field is heavily skewed in favour of incumbents. One of the methods employed by competitive authoritarian leaders is the use of informal mechanisms of repression. This, in turn, requires a dependent and cooperative judiciary. Thus, in Turkey the year 2014 can be described as a period when the governing AKP (Justice and Development Party) made a sustained and systematic effort to establish its control over the judiciary by means of a series of laws of dubious constitutionality.

Keywords: Turkish politics, illiberal democracies, competitive authoritarianism, independence of the judiciary

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