Just a few short years ago, the Turkish Model was being hailed across the world. The New York Times gushed that Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Justice and Development Party (AKP) had effectively integrated Islam, democracy, and vibrant ecomics, making Turkey, according to the International Crisis Group, the envy of the Arab world. And yet, a more recent CNN headline wondered if Erdogan had become a dictator. In this incisive analysis, Cihan Tugal argues that this development runs broader and deeper than Erdogan's increasing personal authoritarianism. The problems are inherent in the very model of Islamic liberalism, once lauded in the Western press, that formed the basis of the AKP's ascendancy and rule since 2002-an intended marriage of neoliberalism and democracy. And this model can also only be understood as a response to regional politics-especially to the Iranian Model , a marriage of corporatism and Islamic revolution.
Cihan Tugal is the author of Passive Revolution: Absorbing the Islamic Challenge to Capitalism. He is an associate professor of sociology at the University of California, Berkeley.