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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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Run-up to Change

Run-up to Change

(p.75) 2 Run-up to Change
Regime Change in Contemporary Turkey

Necati Polat

Edinburgh University Press

The chapter describes the fascinating realignment in Turkish politics with the rise of the AKP into power from late 2002, distancing itself from the Islamist politics (‘Islamo-nationalism’, Millî Görüş) of most of its founders, and drawing on ‘Westernisation’ through strengthened ties with the European Union. The usual cast of local identity politics that relied on rather cynical exploitations of various identity demands—the secularist republicanism (Kemalism), Turkish and Kurdish nationalisms, and Islamo-nationalism—seemed significantly to recede in society in the spell between 2002 and 2007 in favour of a set of civic, non-divisive political gestures around the reintroduced goal of integration with Europe. The projected ‘European’ identity would prove to be a unique leverage in bringing about the coming change. It would expand the electoral compass of the ruling AKP beyond the former identity alignments, ensuring widening reach, and, equally importantly, prompt ambivalence in the bureaucracy, considerably breaking its resistance.

Keywords:   AKP, bureaucracy, European Union, identity politics, Islamism, Kemalism, Kurds, military-civilian relations, Turkish politics, Westernisation

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