You are here

Yesim Arat: Justice and Development Party in Turkey

Students of liberal democracy have long highlighted its many paradoxes. Most notably, individual rights, although a necessary (albeit insufficient) condition for the existence of liberal democracy, often stands in tension with the dictates of electoral majorities. Nowhere is the tension between individual rights and democratic principle of popular sovereignty more apparent than in the contemporary Turkish context. Exemplifying that trend, the Justice and Development Party (JDP) came to power in 2002 after winning 34% of the vote, and maintained its rule through successive electoral victories in 2007 (with 47%) and 2011 (with almost 50%). Despite professing a commitment to democratic governance and contributing to democratization process early on, the JDP has taken an illiberal turn since 2007. As its popular support increased progressively, the ruling party began steering away from democratic practices, placing restrictions on the freedom of the press, and undermining judicial independence. It is within that context that Turkey offers broader lessons on how executive institutions can employ popular support and the legitimacy it affords them to undermine the effective workings of democracy.



Tuesday, October 21, 2014. 12:15PM


Encina Central, CISAC Central Conference Room (616 Serra Street)


Mediterranean Studies Forum




Free and open to the public