Roads Not Taken: AKP Trajectories Since 2007

November 10, 2010 // 1:00pm2:30pm
Event Co-sponsors: 
History and Public Policy Program

The event will take place in the 6th floor board room.

Nora Fisher Onar, Department of Politics and International Relations, Bahcesehir University (Turkey), and Center for International Studies, Department of Politics and International Relations, University of Oxford (UK)

Turkey's ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) seems to be a bundle of contradictions. Once an impassioned advocate of EU accession, the AKP today has mixed democratizing discourses with religious metaphors while pursuing domestic and foreign policies animated by realpolitik. For some, this suggests that the AKP is simply opportunistic. Others believe the party's is moved, above all, by an underlying fundamentalist agenda. To better understand the apparent inconsistencies in AKP positions and their ramifications for Turkey's domestic trajectory and relations with the West, this lecture will distill four strands of discourse from the party repertoire: liberal-democratic, religious-conservative, power political, and Ottomanist. It will seek to identify the factors which appear to determine when and why a particular strand is favored over (or paired with) others in any given situation. Cases will include the series of political 'openings' towards traditionally marginalized groups, and debates over constitutional reform, as well as the recent flotilla debacle and its impact on relations with Israel.

Experts & Staff

  • Christian F. Ostermann // Director, History and Public Policy Program; Global Europe; Cold War International History Project; North Korea Documentation Project; Nuclear Proliferation International History Project
  • Emily R. Buss // Program Assistant

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