Case 309 - The Turkish Democratic Experiment: Integrating the Demands of Kemalism and Political Islam
Gerner, Deborah J. and Omur Yilmaz
This case study opens with an overview of the 2002 Turkish elections. It then reviews the tenets of Kemalism, the country’s founding ideology, and its link to the Turkish armed forces; cites various opinions of the ruling Justice and Development Party (known in Turkish as the AKP), and looks at the history of Turkish military intervention in the nation’s nominally democratic politics. It pays particular attention to the military’s maneuvers to force the Islam-oriented Welfare Party out of a coalition government in 1997, and its current uneasy tolerance for that party’s successor: the socially conservative yet secularist AKP. With its emphasis on questions of democratization, religion, and state-military relations, this case study will be most useful in upper-level undergraduate comparative politics courses. It could also fit into classes on political Islam, as well as general Middle Eastern politics.