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Regime Change in Contemporary TurkeyPolitics, Rights, Mimesis$
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Necati Polat

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9781474416962

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474416962.001.0001

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(p.1) Introduction
Regime Change in Contemporary Turkey

Necati Polat

Edinburgh University Press

This chapter rehearses an answer to the following question: how did the pursuit of ‘advanced democracy’, as initially promised, develop into a new form of authoritarianism in Turkey, more than replicating the old one, shortly after the former regime was no more? The chapter describes a ‘loop’ throughout the history of political modernisation locally, notwithstanding some dramatic splits and reshuffles, ultimately submitting to a more profound level of recurrence and cloning of ‘desire’ in a common pool of amazingly resilient local political culture. In putting forward this contention, the discussion relies on Girard’s work on the machinations of basic human desire. Accordingly, desire is notably mimetic, modelled on the other. The model is none other than the ‘rival’, held subliminally in esteem, while being detested at the same time. The chapter argues that the new, populist authoritarianism in Turkey could be understood as a play of desire in this mould.

Keywords:   authoritarianism, democracy, Girard, mimesis, political culture, political modernisation, populism, regime change, Turkey, Turkish political history

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