Authoritarian Neoliberalism and Democratic Backsliding in Turkey: Beyond the Narratives of Progress


Unpacking the core themes that are discussed in this collection, this article both offers a research agenda to re-analyse Turkey’s ‘authoritarian turn’ and mounts a methodological challenge to the conceptual frameworks that reinforce a strict analytical separation between the ‘economic’ and the ‘political’ factors. The paper problematises the temporal break in scholarly analyses of the AKP period and rejects the argument that the party’s methods of governance have shifted from an earlier ‘democratic’ model – defined by ‘hegemony’ – to an emergent ‘authoritarian’ one. In contrast, by retracing the mechanisms of the state-led reproduction of neoliberalism since 2003, the paper demonstrates that the party’s earlier ‘hegemonic’ activities were also shaped by authoritarian tendencies which manifested at various levels of governance.

South European Society and Politics
Cemal Burak Tansel
Lecturer in International Politics

I teach and write about the political economy of capitalist development.