Exit from democracy: Illiberal governance in Turkey

Exit from democracy: Illiberal governance in Turkey

Wednesday, 25 January 2017 - 4:30pm
Seminar Room, European Studies Centre, 70 Woodstock Road, Oxford OX2 6HR
Karabekir Akkoyunlu (University of Graz, Austria)
Kerem Öktem (University of Graz, Austria)
David Madden (St Antony's College, Oxford)
Othon Anastasakis (St Antony’s College, Oxford); Adis Merdzanovic (St Antony’s College, Oxford)

SEESOX Seminar Series
The rise of illiberalism in South East Europe
The current European crises appear to have facilitated the (re-)emergence of illiberalism as a viable alternative for political elites, both within the European Union and on its periphery. Arguably, this effect has been greater in transition countries that found their path towards liberal democracy disrupted, as well as in countries that already face internal challenges in terms of their legal, political, social, or economic environments. The seminar series will look at the conditions that allow illiberal ideas to infiltrate and illiberal practices to develop; how such ideas are expressed and instrumentalised in different fields of social interaction; their impact on politics and economics; and, finally, what, if any, counter-reactions they have produced. Are these temporary setbacks caused by the crises, or a frustration with the European Union and certain of its policies? Or are we witnessing a profound and longer-lasting challenge to the primacy of the liberal democratic model?

This seminar gives a synoptic overview of what will be described as Turkey’s ‘exit from democracy’, a shift to authoritarianism and an Islamist ‘revolution from above’ that comes on the back of a much longer ‘passive revolution’.

Kerem Öktem is Professor of Southeast Europe and Modern Turkey at the Centre of Southeast European Studies, which he has joined in September 2014. Before coming to Graz, he was Open Society Research Fellow at the European Studies Centre, University of Oxford. It was also at Oxford where he read for a Master degree in Modern Middle Eastern Studies and completed his D. Phil. at the School of Geography in 2006. He is a longstanding research associate of the programme for Southeast European Studies at Oxford (SEESOX), Vice-President of the Research Foundation Switzerland Turkey and alumni of the Mercator-IPC Fellowship. In addition to his academic publications, he is also a regular contributor to OpenDemocracy and several media outlets.

Karabekir Akkoyunlu is assistant professor of Modern Turkey at the Centre for Southeast European Studies, University of Graz. He completed his PhD in comparative politics at the LSE on the transformation of hybrid regimes in Turkey and Iran. Working on Middle East politics and theories of democracy and democratization, he was a research associate at the Southeast European Studies at Oxford (SEESOX). He has published extensively on Turkish politics, society and foreign affairs and has been a frequent contributor Open Democracy, Al Monitor, Oxford Analytica and CNN International. He holds a B.A. in History and International Relations from Brown University and an M.Phil in International Relations from the University of Cambridge.