The Rise of Competitive Authoritarianism in Turkey

GT 3.5 La reconfiguración de los sistemas de representación, participación y oposición en la Post-Primavera Árabe: agendas políticas, democratizadoras y derivas autoritarias en el norte de África y Oriente Próximo

Antonino Castaldo (Institute of Social Science (ICS), University of Lisbon)
Sesión 1
Día: jueves,21 de septiembre de 2017
Hora: 16:30 a 18:30
Lugar: Aula 0.2.

This paper aims to investigate the Turkish democratic backsliding under the AKP (Adalet ve Kalkınma Partisi – Justice and Development Party) government. According to the V-DEM Electoral Democracy Index Turkey has been a stable low-quality electoral democracy during the 2000s, worsening its score since 2012 and falling below the democratic threshold in 2014. In the same year Freedom House evaluated the Freedom of the press in Turkey as “Not free” and in its latest Freedom in the World report (2017) downgraded the country score from 3,5 to 4,5, very close to the “Not free” threshold. If the international literature almost unanimously agree that a democratic backsliding is under way in Turkey, there is far less agreement about what type of regime has been established during the last decade: concepts as delegative democracy (Taş 2015), illiberal democracy (Bechev 2014), neo-fascism (Tuğal 2016), electoral authoritarianism (White and Erzog 2016; Arbatli 2014) and competitive authoritarianism (CA) (Esen and Gumuscu 2016; Özbudun 2015) has been applied. Hence, what kind of political regime has been developed by the AKP? What is the timing of regime change? Which factors are able to explain the emergence of a new political regime in Turkey? What are the consequences of the 2016 failed military coup? The preliminary results of the analysis show that a CA regime has started to emerge and consolidate in Turkey since 2010, although some of its features were present even before; causal mechanisms linked to the growing relevance of populist tendencies and the role played by the international dimension, the EU conditionality in the first place, seems to be the major factors able to explain the rise of CA in Turkey. With regard to the effects of the failed military coup, while in the short term the state of emergency strengthened the authoritarian component of the regime, perhaps envisaging a new regime change toward an Hegemonic authoritarianism, in the medium-term a key role will be played by the constitutional referendum on the establishment of a “super-presidentialism”, to be presumibly held the 16 of April 2017. The outcomes of the referendum will say a lot about the prospects for democracy in Turkey, as well as the stable or instable nature of the future Turkish regime.

Palabras clave: Hybrid regimes, Competitive Authoritarianism, Turkey, populism, democratic backsliding