The "Democratic Opening" in Turkey: A Historical/Comparative Perspective

This article aims to analyze the process of AKP's democratic opening in an historical and comparative perspective with respect to various other experiences of transition to democracy in Southern Europe, Latin America and Eastern Europe. With the current democratic opening, first labeled as "Kurdish opening," and continuing with a large constitutional reform package, the AKP seems to be engaged in a huge task of deeply transforming the post-1980 regime. Comparing with the experiences in Southern Europe, Latin America and Eastern Europe, the consolidation of a new democratic regime introduced by the democratic opening in Turkey will be a governmental enterprise: a matter of political maneuver to reach a compromise among the various sections of the governing elite with the opposition; a matter of institution building to create channels of mobilization for societal demands; and finally a matter of timing.

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