This essay examines the impact of Turkey’s growing international links to China, Russia, and other non-Western powers on democratic backsliding by the administration of Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The essay finds that China’s and Russia’s growing engagement with Turkey since the middle of the first decade of the 2000s, coupled with Turkey’s stalled bid for European Union membership, played an important role in deleveraging Western democratizing influence on Turkey. This shift in the international balance opened a window of opportunity for the Erdogan administration to engage in backsliding activities and proved to be a more significant driver for backsliding than other common predictors.
Turkey Looks East: International Leverage and Democratic Backsliding in a Hybrid Regime
Kadir Akyuz is assistant professor at the College of Public and International Affairs, University of Bridgeport, Connecticut. He has a law enforcement background and has worked with the Turkish National Police and the United Nations. His research interests focus on terrorism, political violence, juvenile delinquency, and policing issues.
Steve Hess is assistant professor of political science at Transylvania University in Lexington, Kentucky. He has authored or coauthored over twenty peer-reviewed research articles and two books. His most recent book, coauthored with Richard Aidoo, is Charting the Roots of Anti-Chinese Populism in Africa.
Kadir Akyuz, Steve Hess; Turkey Looks East: International Leverage and Democratic Backsliding in a Hybrid Regime. Mediterranean Quarterly 1 June 2018; 29 (2): 1–26. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/10474552-6898075
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