This chapter provides an outline of the change that took place in Turkey between 2007 and 2011, signalling a historic shift in the use of power in the country, long controlled by a staunch and virtually autonomous bureaucracy, both military and civilian, and known as ‘the state’, in the face of the chronically fragile democratic politics, forming ‘the government’. The time-honoured identity politics of the very bureaucracy, centred on ‘Westernisation’ as a policy incentive, was deftly appropriated by the ruling AKP via newly tightened links with the European Union to transform the settled centre-periphery relations often considered to be pivotal to Turkish politics, and reconfigure access to power. The chapter details the gradual fall of the bureaucracy—that is, the military, the higher education, and the system of high courts—and recounts the basic developments in foreign policy and on the domestic scene during and immediately after the change.
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