Do New Democracies Support Democracy? Turkey’s Dilemmas

Issue Date October 2011
Volume 22
Issue 4
Page Numbers 124-138
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Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), which prides itself on serving as a regional model of democratic governance, often pays lip service to human rights and democratic principles in its foreign policy. Yet when dealing with politically less than attractive regional partners, the AKP will frequently maintain public silence rather than risk harm to Turkish interests, particularly economic ones. Will the more robust human-rights policy that Turkey has begun to apply in the Middle East be extended to Ankara’s dealings with other parts of the world? This remains unclear, yet it seems obvious that the principles which the present AKP government has laid down as markers for future foreign-policy activities will tend to make it increasingly more costly for Turkey to turn a blind eye to human-rights abuses abroad.