Civil-Military Relations and the Demise of Turkish Democracy
Satana, Nil S.
Özpek, Burak Bilgehan
MetadataShow full item record
A growing body of scholarship shows that Turkey has been part of a broader trend toward authoritarianism in the 2010s. As democratization scholars explore a myriad of factors underlying this, including but not limited to institutional misuse such as holding unfair elections to consolidate authoritarian power, this chapter examines how and why the end of military tutelage resulted in the civilian control of the Turkish military but not democratic consolidation. What factors explain the rise and eventual demise of the Turkish army as a major political power in Turkey? How has civilian control of the military gradually taken place in Turkey? What are the reasons why Turkish democracy failed to consolidate despite civilian control? The chapter argues and demonstrates that two internal threats, namely Kurdish nationalism and political Islam, were strategically used by both the military and the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government to subdue rival actors and consolidate power. In other words, both the military and the AKP government have limited political competition while depending on distinct sources of legitimacy: the military’s legitimacy was predicated primarily on its coercive capabilities, that of the AKP on electoral victories.