Contesting Democracy: A Relational Approach to the Study of Regime Change in Turkey Under the JDP Governments Until 2013
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The history of Turkey since 2002 when it has been governed by Justice and Development Party (JDP) offers an interesting puzzle for the students of regime change. JDP, which has initially been hailed as the champion of democracy, is now criticized for its authoritarian tendencies. The trajectory of JDP creates problems for dominant theoretical perspectives that focuses on deep societal/structural changes or institutional learning. Both views are incompatible with a sudden reversal by the same actors. I argue that conceiving the dominance of the norm “democracy” on a global level as a key determinant enables us to understand both JDP’s transformation to a pro-democratic force in early 2000’s and the subsequent turn to a majoritarian form of democracy by reinterpreting the norms that it deployed earlier to connect to the global normative order. To show the importance of this link, I develop a dialogical discourse analysis that tracks the interaction between narratives produced by the JDP and Western actors.