The great leap. Turkey under Erdogan
Since the AKP took power in 2002, Turkey has seen a replacement of the state’s elites, a real change of the political system and a redefinition of the state identity. All this has been accompanied by economic development and rapid social transformation. The pro-democratic reforms and improved prosperity in the first decade of the AKP’s rule created the opportunity for Turkey to become part of the West in terms of legal and political standards, while maintaining its cultural distinctness. However, from the point of view of Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the leader of a new Turkey, the political reforms turned out not to be a goal per se but a means to the end of achieving a monopoly on power. Once this goal was achieved, Erdogan began leading Turkey towards the status of an autocratic state focused on the Middle East and resentful towards the West. This trend is unlikely to be reversed under Erdogan’s rule. However, even if the government were to change, there would be no return to the Turkey from before the AKP era. In turn, the Turkish public will have to answer the questions regarding its civilisational identity and the vision of the political and social order.