Regime trajectories of Tunisia and Turkey: a comparative analysis

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Abstract

Both Turkey and Tunisia have attracted significant attention regarding their democratization and religious politics. While Turkey was considered a successful case of blending Islam and democracy in the decade of 2000s, it plunged into autocratization in the following decade. Tunisia became the only Arab spring country to go through democratic transition between 2011 and 2015 but 6 years later, an elected president grabbed power over the democratic institutions. Inspired by the elite theories of democratization and combining the comparative method with a within-case analysis, this article evaluates the regime trajectories of the two countries, emphasizing the points of convergence and divergence. First, it argues that the emergence of a power symmetry between the elites representing the religious-secular cleavage constituted a critical juncture in each case, paving the way for democratic reforms. Second, it argues that the power symmetry was of an adversarial nature in Turkey and a consensual nature in Tunisia, which affected the elite choices to deal with the masses in different ways. The article concludes with a discussion of how the elite-mass interactions ultimately eroded the power symmetries and reversed the democratic processes in Turkey and Tunisia.

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APA

Musil, P. A., & Çevik, S. (2023). Regime trajectories of Tunisia and Turkey: a comparative analysis. British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies. https://doi.org/10.1080/13530194.2023.2219637

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