Society, Politics, and Economy in Modern Turkey: Sociology of Turkey - Maintained by Tugrul Keskin
We are at a point in our work when we can no longer ignore empires and the imperial context in our studies. (p. 5)
― Edward W. Said, Culture and Imperialism

Friday, August 29, 2014

The truth behind the "Turkish model"

Ayse Bugra

Open Democracy - 25 August 2014

With former Prime Minister Erdoğan now firmly installed as President and promising a new Turkey, it is time to take a fresh look at the direction in which the country's political economy is headed. For over a decade, international media and many academic researchers have presented the “Turkish model” under the “moderately Islamic” Justice and Development Party (AKP) as a success story of economic development and political democracy in a Muslim country - made all the more attractive in an international environment dominated by the fear of radical Islam.
Since 2013, especially after the massive nationwide protests in the summer of that year, this enthusiasm has left its place to more critical appraisals. The media coverage of the country is now dominated by statements of concern about the state of the economy  -  and the increasingly authoritarian character of the regime. The praise, where it still persists, now has a different character. The Hungarian Prime Minister Victor Orban, for example, recently pointed to Turkey (along with Singapore, China, India and Russia) to argue that non-Western countries which are not liberal democracies and “in some cases probably not even democracies” can be highly successful in the global race. However, Orban’s favourable assessment of Turkey’s performance as a global actor was preceded by several alarming accounts of the economy’s weaknesses, such as a huge current account deficit and the very high ratio of short term debt to the GNP.


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