Turkey’s AKP: A Model “Muslim-Democratic” Party?

Issue Date July 2005
Volume 16
Issue 3
Page Numbers 69-82
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Turkey's democracy reached a turning point with the meteoric rise of the pro-Islamic Justice and Development Party (AKP) in the 2002 election. Surprising many, the AKP has launched an aggressive reform process to meet the European Union's Copenhagen criteria. The AKP-led "quiet revolution" raises serious questions as to how the reforms will shape the future of Turkish democracy and what role Islam will play in it. Three areas in which the party's policies appear paradoxical are examined: its commitment to decentralization while curbing intra-party democracy, democratic reforms without civil society input, and party institutionalization without having formulated an enduring ideology.