After six decades of multiparty politics, Turkish democracy has collapsed. Yes, the trappings of democracy are still visible. Elections are held, parliament sits in session, the courts rule, and the elected executive leads. Yet, the substance of democracy moves ever further into the past. How did this happen? Why? And what implications does the unraveling of democracy in Turkey hold for political systems in other countries? In this episode, Mark Williams explores these topics with political scientist Sebnem Gumuscu, whose recent scholarship highlights the reality of democratic backsliding.
Sebnem Gumuscu is an associate professor of political science and a faculty fellow at the Rohatyn Center for Global Affairs here at Middlebury College. In her capacity as a faculty fellow, Professor Gumuscu co-directs the Rohatyn Center’s program on Global Trends in Autocracy and Democracy which is supported by the Cangiano Family, in memory of Leon M. Cangiano Jr. Class of 1963. Much of her research has focused on political Islam, middle Eastern and north African politics, democratization, and democratic backsliding. Her first book, Democracy, Identity and Foreign Policy in Turkey, was published in 2014. Her second book, which is forthcoming from Cambridge University Press is titled Democracy or Authoritarianism: Islamist Governments in Turkey, Egypt, and Tunisia. Her recent article which appeared in the journal Party Politics—“Why Did Turkish Democracy Collapse? A Political Economy Account of AKP’s Authoritarianism”— was co-authored with Berk Esen.
Recorded and edited by Margaret A. DeFoor.
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