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Untangling the Mayhem: Crises and Prospects of the Middle East

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Edited By Radka Havlová

The volume discusses the recent developments in selected countries of the Middle East and North Africa. Theoretical chapter presents the internal and external factors influencing the development and democratization processes. Based on these factors the authors analyze in depth the recent development in Egypt, Iraq, Lebanon, Libya, Palestine, Syria, Turkey and Yemen. The authors demonstrate that the recent development in these countries varied significantly, mostly due to the difference of the historical, political, economic, security or religious conditions in the relevant countries.

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Turkey (Kristýna Tamchynová)

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Kristýna Tamchynová

Turkey

The main focus of this chapter are the reforms undertaken during the rule of the incumbent Adalet ve Kalkınma Partisi (AKP) before the 2017 referendum as these are key for understanding the present Turkey. AKP’s governance aimed at ending the old structures imposed under military tutelage and at modernizing the country, the party was praised for its democratizing efforts, inclusive practices and dialogue with previously marginalized groups. This primary trend went hand in hand with efforts to enter the EU, although it is hard to say which was the cause and which the consequence. The concentrated effort to join the EU lasted until 2005.1 While the pro-EU orientation and reforms continued, more autonomous development and a turn towards the Middle East together with the Zero Problems with Neighbour policy were features of the following period which lasted roughly until 2010 constitutional referendum.

While each of the reformative steps in isolation might have been taken as a step towards democracy, together their result was a distortion of the checks and balances. The power vacuum was gradually filled by President Erdoğan, the AKP and their supporters and since 2010 increasingly authoritarian tendencies have been perceived both within the AKP and in now President Erdoğan’s actions.

At the time of writing, the country held a referendum (April 2017) which ended up with yes (although with a narrow margin) to presidential system and changes to...

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