20(3)
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2020
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catalogue – 43669
ANTINOMIES
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Political science

Authoritarian tendencies in Turkey and the radicalization of the ruling Justice and Development Party

Agaev Marilyas

Abstract. The article is devoted to the formation of authoritarian tendencies in Turkey as the radicalization of the ruling Justice and Development Party. The author refers to the conceptions of “democratic retreat” and “the third wave of democratic backsliding” and considers the changes introduced in the functioning of the ruling party as one of the main reasons for the change in the methods of governing by the Turkish political elite. Highlighting two stages in the development of the political regime of R.T. Erdogan – 2002–2011 democratization and 2011 till present – as an authoritarian turn, the article provides explanation for the features of the political course of those times in terms of the structure and transformation of Justice and Development Party’s political discourse. The changes in the properties of the party’s political strategy such as coalition closeness, populist orientation, reliance on reforms and principles of democracy, and the moderate nature of the political style led to the radicalization of the Justice and Development Party. The radicalization of politics was manifested in Turkey’s anti-Western foreign policy, with the predominance of negative political language in relation to political opponents and the deactivation of the principle of “checks and balances” in favor of expanding the powers and role of executive power in the face of president of Turkey R.T. Erdogan in the political system. It is especially worth noting about the influence of “external shock” on the political system. Among such “external shock”, there is a need to highlight the growth of protest moods, corruption scandals related to political environment of R.T. Erdogan, the increase in the influence of opposition parties on the political system and any possibility of limiting power of R.T. Erdogan up to the organization of attempts of military coup. The article concludes that in order to prevent a decrease in the party’s ratings in the face of “external shocks”, the party’s actions were adjusted so that it subsequently led to the creation of conditions for an authoritarian turn.

Keywords: democracy; election; Erdogan; Justice and Development Party; populism; regime; Turkey.

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