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Erdogan's  Regime as Competitive Authoritarianism

2016-01-19 Vicigo

Turkey, which connects Europe and Asia, has a mentality more similar to that of Asia. Instead of adopting the democracy of the West, which is full of liberties, it has retained the “deficiency” of the Third World. As a result, it is a country where several Human Rights are violated.

When we look at the history of Turkey – after the collapse of the Ottoman Empire – we can see a few military coups which harmed the country’s democracy. However, we do not need to review history in order to observe such a threat to Turkey’s democracy, as there is another 'coup' presently occurring - a 'coup' by Erdogan.

Although it is not a military coup, it is a veritable coup through its damage to democracy and liberties. Thus, Erdogan's regime is depicted by many as 'totalitarianism' or 'dictatorship' – contrary to democracy, which practically does not exist there.

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Erdogan depicted as the dictator Hitler

As Erdogan's regime is stuck between totalitarianism and democracy, it has been labeled with “competitive authoritarianism” in political-science discourse. The term was defined by Steven Levitsky and Lucan Way as "a hybrid regime that contains characteristics of both democracy and authoritarianism". In order to better understand the term, it could be said that countries having competitive-authoritarian regimes experience events that distinctly oppose democracy; e.g., government fraud, liberty violations, abuse of state power, abuse of the media, and abuse of resources. The question is to what extent Turkey is subject to such undemocratic abuses.

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Erdogan and his puppets - police - who have key roles in Erdogan's suppressive policies

The answer is obvious in Turkey’s current regime. The country has been experiencing various undemocratic actions under Erdogan's leadership, particularly after 2011. Violating people’s freedom of speech is one of the most strikingly harmful and continual occurrences in Turkey. The most recent example of such a violation is the dismissal of academicians who signed a statement addressing the state's violence in Eastern Turkey. Apparently, this example will not be the last.

In conclusion, it seems that Turkey will witness similar violations in the future, notwithstanding calls from both its own citizens and Western countries. It will continue to be a country with a competitive-authoritarian regime, as long as Erdogan continues acting as a dictator and failing to implement the requirements of a true democracy. Unfortunately, Turkey will always bear the possibility of having a regime that is more authoritarian - not competitive - than democratic.


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