Oriental Institute published a brochure titled 'Democracy Contested' which includes an interview with AAU School of International Relations lecturer Pelian Ayan.

 Since 2002, a party of Islamist origin has governed Turkey. In the eyes of many experts, when it first came to power, the party and its founder, Erdogan, offered a promising outlook in relation to improvements in the field of democracy. It had abandoned its ties with its Islamist predecessor and had adopted a pro-EU party programme. During the AKP incumbency, civilian control over the state was extend- ed and it became harder to ban political parties that offended the “deep state” struc- tures associated with an intensely secularist ideology. Yet, these developments did not make the country more democratic as they went hand in hand with executive degradation. The AKP used its electoral strength to dominate political institutions and extended partisan control over the judiciary and the bureaucracy, firing and arresting journalists, buying off media moguls, as well as suppressing the politi- cal opposition, public protests, and critical sections of the media. Therefore, what had characterised the main problem for democracy in Turkey for over sixty years (i.e. military tutelage) vanished, while new and serious threats, such as executive degradation, have appeared over the past decade. This development shows that a return to an authoritarian regime is likely in the country and is contrary to the predictions of the Turkish political scientists in the 1990s and early 2000s. 

You can read the full interview here.

Publication date: October 11, 2016