Skip to main content

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

Arat, Yeşim, and Şevket Pamuk. Turkey between democracy and authoritarianism. Cambridge University Press, 2019.


Since the 1980 military coup in Turkey, much of the history and politics of the country can be described as a struggle between democracy and authoritarianism. In this accessible account of the country’s politics, society and economics, the authors delve into the causes and processes of what has been called a democratic ‘backsliding’. In order to explore this, Yeşim Arat and Şevket Pamuk, two of Turkey’s leading social scientists, focus on the mutual distrust between the secular and Islamist groups. They argue that the attempts by a secular coalition to circumscribe the Islamists in power had a boomerang effect. The Islamists struck back first in self-defence, then in pursuit of authoritarian power. With chapters on urbanization, Kurdish nationalism, women’s movements, economic development and foreign relations, this book offers a comprehensive and lively examination of contemporary Turkey and its role on the global stage.

Table of contents

  • A Long Wave of Urbanization
  • From Military Rule to Civilian Politics
  • Islamists in Power
  • Uneven Economic Development and Domestic Politics
  • Nationalism and Ethnicity
  • Between Europe and the Middle East
  • Women’s Call for Democracy
  • Conclusion

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.