Turkey's political direction:
Authoritarianism, liberal democracy or dissolution?
The Finnish Institute of International Affairs
Download PDF (119 Kb)
re-run of the parliamentary election on 1 November 2015, it is certain that Turkey
will again be ruled by the Justice and Development Party’s (Adalet ve Kalkınma Partisi,
AKP) one-party government. Based on this premise, this study provides a future-oriented
analysis in the form of three scenarios: 1) an authoritarian Islamist state; 2)
a consolidated liberal democracy; and 3) the dissolution of the Turkish state.
The study also identifies three major drivers: a) the AKP and the
Islamic-conservative state project; b) regional instability; and c) the Kurdish
scenario one, there are factors and processes present that decidedly increase the
possibility of an authoritarian Islamist state in Turkey. On the other hand,
the republican tradition of parliamentary democracy has at the same time proved
to be remarkably resilient, suggesting that the course of events depicted in
the positive scenario two still have a significant chance in the long run.
three, the dissolution of the Turkish state, would create enormous instability
in the EU’s immediate neighbourhood and exponentially increase unpredictable
tendencies and conflicts. The internal and external forces that could produce
such a dramatic outcome are still rather weak, but they do exist in an
republican modernization project attaching Turkey to the Western legacy of
secular humanism should not be underestimated and may well prevail in the end. For
the time being, however, it seems to be on the losing side as the political
process is consolidating the Islamic-conservative version of Turkish
nationalism. At the present moment this current is pointing to a concentration
of power and a non-pluralist authoritarian regime whereby national identity is
increasingly constructed in a form that conceptualizes political liberalism as
an existential threat.