This book examines the decade in office of the Justice and Development Party (AKP) and its efforts to transform the Turkish republic toward a more Islamist-oriented system. If it succeeds, Turkey's dramatic shift will be the most important change in the Middle East power balance since the 1979 Iranian revolution and will have equally devastating effects on Western interests.
For more than 80 years Turkey has been ruled by the secular democratic structures created by Kemal Ataturk. Now, however, the rise of the Justice and Development Party (AKP) and its series of electoral victories are creating a new system. Whilst portraying itself as a centre-right reform party, the AKP has been accused of having an Islamist agenda. After almost a decade in power, there is serious evidence that this claim is true. At home, the AKP has been changing basic Turkish attitudes and institutions, from buying up a large portion of the country's media to revising its laws, and even taking the lead in the writing of a new constitution. Internationally, Turkey has moved away from the West and Israel toward Iran and radical Islamist groups. While its intentions--and ability to fulfil them--are still unclear, the AKP has been leading the most important transformation of Turkey since the formation of the republic after World War I. This book systematically examines the AKP's ideology, support base, actions in office, and goals.
This book was published as a special issue of the Turkish Studies.
About the Author:
Barry Rubin is the Director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center; a senior fellow at the International Policy Institute for Counter-Terrorism and Professor at the Interdisciplinary Center (IDC) in Herzliya, Israel. He is the editor of the journal Turkish Studies; the editor of The Middle East Review of International Affairs (MERIA). His many books include The Long War for Freedom: The Arab Struggle for Democracy in the Middle East (2005), Hating America: A History (2004) and The Tragedy of the Middle East (2002).
Birol Yesilada is Professor of Political Science and International Studies and holder of the Contemporary Turkish Studies Chair at Portland State University. He is co-editor-in-chief of International Studies Perspectives. He is the author of Comparative Political Parties and Party Elites and co-editor of The Political and Socioeconomic Transformation of Turkey.