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Photo: “Spazieren in Wien“, by Michael Gubi, licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0, Hue modified from the original

Babacan, Errol, Melehat Kutun, Ezgi Pinar, and Zafer Yilmaz, eds. Regime Change in Turkey: Neoliberal Authoritarianism, Islamism and Hegemony. Routledge, 2021.


Turkey’s new presidential regime, promoted and shaped by the Justice and Development Party (AKP), has become a global template for rising authoritarianism. Its violence intensifies the exigency for critical analysis. By focusing on neoliberal authoritarian, hegemonic and Islamist aspects, this book sheds light on long- term dynamics that resulted in the regime transformation. It presents a comprehensive study at a time when rising authoritarianism challenges liberal democracies on a global scale.

Reaching from critical political economy and state theory to media, gender and cultural studies, this volume covers a range of studies that transcend disciplinary boundaries. These essays challenge the narrative of an “authoritarian turn” that splits the AKP era into democratic and authoritarian periods. Hence, recent transformation is analyzed in a broad historical framework which is sensitive to both continuities and shifts. Studies that explore moments of resistance and relate the political development in Turkey to rising authoritarianism and the crisis- driven trajectory of neoliberalism on a global scale are included in this effort.

Since the advancement of neoliberal policies in conjunction with the religious project that is pushed forward by the AKP suggests that the ongoing transformation may well advance into a more totalitarian regime, this book strives to inform struggles that are trying to resist and reverse this development. By reviewing the dynamics and impacts of recent authoritarian developments, it calls on critical scholars to further seek out potentials and dynamics of opposition in the current authoritarian era.

Table of contents

  • Part I Political economy of regime change
    • Crisis in or of neoliberalism? A brief encounter with the debate on the authoritarian turn
    • A labour-oriented perspective on regime discussions in Turkey
    • Making the new-neoliberal state in Turkey: beyond the prevailing master narrative
    • Global class constitution of the AKP’s “authoritarian turn” by neoliberal financialization
    • Transformation of news media: the case of Turkey for the neoliberal era
    • Internationalized class governance and the AKP’s populism: On Turkey’s integration with the European Union
  • Part II Cultural political economy of regime change
    • Hegemony and privileges: reproduction of Islamism in Turkey
    • Regime change in Turkey: old symbols into new settings
    • Recent right-wing lurches: what do they have in common for India and Turkey?
  • Part III Moments of resistance against regime change
    • Laicism and the struggle of Alevis against the rise of political Islam
    • The politics of legality of the authoritarian liberal regime in Turkey
    • Construction a language of peace through women’s struggles: the case of women for peace initiative in Turkey

The Illiberalism Studies Program studies the different faces of illiberal politics and thought in today’s world, taking into account the diversity of their cultural context, their intellectual genealogy, the sociology of their popular support, and their implications on the international scene.