The power struggle between the Justice Development Party (AKP) and the military in Turkey has been crucial in Turkey's bid for democratic consolidation. In the past, the military as a guardian of the Kemalist establishment has intervened four times in Turkey's domestic politics ousting elected civilian governments with the justification of safeguarding the secular and unitary nature of the Turkish Republic. After each intervention, the military reshaped the political system and expanded its legal-constitutional prerogatives at the expense of the civilian authorities' in decision-making autonomy- halting the establishment of a fully-fledged democracy based on complete civilian control over the military. However, driven by prospects for EU membership, international support for its propagation of moderate Islam, its economic success, its pro-active foreign policy and its strict commitment to Turkey's secular order, the AKP in its first two terms in office has succeeded in gradually curtailing the Kemalist straitjacket and put its grip on main state institutions such as the Presidency and the Judiciary-both traditional Kemalist bastions- securing its survival in the political system. Since the 2007 e-memorandum during the Presidential crisis and the 2008 closure case against the AKP, the military has refrained from any open confrontation with the AKP. However, the question remains whether the absence of a coup d'état or military intervention is indeed a sign for the AKP's success in imposing civilian control over the military or rather a calculated military move to defend its privileged status in the political system from the â backyardsâ within the context of Turkey's changing circumstances. The paper is therefore examining the AKP's reform policies and to what extent the military has â leverage' over the outcome of the democratization process and therefore influence Turkey's bid for democratic consolidation. Internal variables (ideological split within the military, Kurdish and Alevi question, Ergenekon case, the Judiciary, the military's financial and economic autonomy, the media, the CHP) as well as external variables (EU process, foreign policy), which are potential factors in setting the parameters for the new AKP-military confrontation line and the outlook of the democratic consolidation process will be examined. The research addresses the following questions: What are the factors, scope and limits shaping the new confrontation line in the power struggle between the AKP and the military, culminating in the September 12 referendum paving the way for the drafting of a civilian-led Constitution? Does the confrontation bring Turkey closer to a post-Kemalist period - leading to a fully-fledged â institutional democracy' based on national consensus or does it initiate a revival of Kemalism with a potential return to military political activism?


School of Humanities and Social Sciences

Degree Name

MA in Political Science

First Advisor

Ivekovic, Ivan

Committee Member 1

Albrecht, Holger

Committee Member 2

Soliman, Samer

Document Type



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