Turkey’s New Path: The Rise of Electoral Authoritarianism

Turkey’s New Path:

The Rise of Electoral Authoritarianism


This article examines the characteristics of the current political regime in Turkey in an attempt to classify it on the democracy-autocracy spectrum. Borrowing the definition of competitive authoritarian regimes from Levitsky and Way, three defining regime attributes are investigated: elections; protection of civil liberties; and a level playing field for the opposition. The main argument is that the current Turkish regime fits the definition of ‘electoral authoritarianism’ on multiple fronts, especially considering the lack of civil liberties protection and the uneven playing field for the political opposition. The prospects for further democratization also look bleak for the foreseeable future.


Two decades after the end of the Cold War, we are still faced with a plethora of ‘hybrid’ regimes—cases that do not conveniently fit under the dichotomous regime classification of democracies versus autocracies. According to the Freedom House Index of 2014, 59 out of 195 countries are considered ‘partly free’, making up 30% of all cases worldwide.[1] For a long time, the democratization literature treated these cases as transitional democracies on their path to consolidation. Most of the transitional regimes, however, have either been stuck in the ‘partly free’ zone with considerable stability, or started to slide back to authoritarianism. It becomes more and more apparent today that the linear model of thinking about consolidation suffers from a democratizing bias.[2] This bias, in turn, creates classification and labeling problems when hybrid regimes are concerned. Rather than treating such cases as flawed democracies, the current studies of democratization are making the turn towards analyzing them as variants of authoritarianism.[3]

This article suggests that the current state of the Turkish regime is an excellent case in point for evaluating the performance of ‘transitional’ countries that transform into electoral authoritarian cases. Like many hybrid regimes, the strictly institutional framework of evaluating democratization fails to capture the Turkish reality on the ground. This assertion is especially valid considering the lack of civil liberties protection and the uneven playing field for the political opposition in the country. Needless to say, the institutional design plays a large role in determining the success of democratic reforms and the nature of the new regime. Nonetheless, institutions can create suboptimal social outcomes if they do not function well in practice.

On multiple fronts, Turkey has been classified as a ‘flawed democracy’ for a very long time. Evaluating its performance in the last decade, however, shows that it clearly fits the definition of electoral authoritarianism. Some local observers had started raising red flags about the future of democracy in Turkey as early as 2009, but many remained optimistic that the Justice and Development Party (Adalet ve Kalkınma Partisi, hereafter AKP) government was taking important steps towards democratization and improving minority rights in the country. Successful efforts in ending military tutelage on elected civilian governments, coupled with the start of peace dialogues with the Kurdish movement, contributed to this optimistic outlook for the future prospects of the regime.

The tables, however, quickly turned after the 2010 referendum where the government-sponsored program to change multiple articles of the 1982 Turkish Constitution was accepted by a majority of 57.9% of the voters. The steady decline in press freedom, the erosion of civil liberties on multiple fronts, and an increasing number of politically motivated imprisonments culminated in the following three years, and led to the largest urban protests in Turkish history and political turmoil in the summer of 2013.

Although reaction against creeping authoritarian tendencies seems to be strong among certain segments of the public (especially the young and educated middle class), little substantial gain has been achieved so far to reverse this institutional trend. Given the qualities of the current Turkish regime, I will argue that it constitutes a good example of electoral authoritarianism. The classification used here is borrowed from the work of Levitsky and Way on competitive authoritarianism, where a regime violates at least one of the three defining attributes of democracy: free elections, broad protection of civil liberties, and a reasonably level playing field.[4] The minimalist definition of democracy suggests the existence of free and fair elections with full suffrage, the broad protection of civil liberties and the absence of tutelary authorities. This definition adds the existence of a reasonably level playing field between the incumbents and opposition, which is characterized by the access to resources, media and unbiased legal practices.[5] Starting from this conceptualization, the analysis below aims to shed some light on where the current regime in Turkey is situated on the democracy-autocracy spectrum.

I. Elections

As far as the procedural definition is concerned, the elections are considered to be free and competitive in Turkey, with universal suffrage in place since the 1930s. Although the elections are generally deemed legitimate by the public, widespread allegations of fraud during election periods have started to plague this belief in the system over the recent years. Two of the main concerns about the elections were focused on the fluctuating number of registered voters over the period 2002-2014, and suspicions about ballot irregularities. The issue of fluctuating voter numbers is discussed by Cem Toker[6] who shows that while the population of Turkey grew steadily between 2002 and 2014, the number of registered voters has fluctuated sharply within the same period. This fluctuation was explained by the Supreme Board of Elections (hereafter YSK) as the result of the switch from a voluntary registration system to a passive address-based voter registration system in 2008. The new system was met with a large number of citizen complaints and press reports about inconsistencies and ‘phantom’ voters residing at non-existing addresses. Ignoring these objections, the Turkish Statistics Institutions (TÜİK) subsequently made an even more controversial decision and went on to destroy all public records used for the construction of the address-based system.[7]

Suspicions about electoral fraud also concern ballot irregularities at the voting booths. The municipal elections in March 2014 were especially controversial, with many districts being subject to heated debate and cancellation claims. Overall, election results have been contested in 278 districts around the country, 131 of these claims coming from AKP and the remaining 146 from opposition parties. In 18 districts, the claims were ruled valid by the higher court and elections were repeated.[8]

One of the most controversial areas was the country’s capital, Ankara, where the counting of mayoral votes lasted four days (as opposed to the regular period of 24-48 hours). The Ankara elections quickly became a scene of national drama with an initial claim of victory by the main opposition party CHP’s candidate Mansur Yavaş, the controversial arrival of top-rank AKP and government officials (including ministers) on the vote-counting areas, the forceful evacuation of voting areas by the police during the count, documented cases of vote-rigging by civil activists, widespread allegations of fraud, public protests concerning the validity of the results, and a court case initiated by Yavaş contesting the official election results in multiple districts.[9] According to the press release by Yavaş and his party, their observers documented various irregularities and infractions in 6240 out of 12334 of the polling areas, corresponding to 50.6% of the booths.[10] Some authors have also shown preliminary statistical evidence supporting the possibility of vote-rigging in 2009 and 2014 municipal elections in Ankara.[11] Overruling these claims, the YSK denied the opposition’s official request to repeat the Ankara mayoral election.

Despite the difficulty of finding hard proof for fraud and assessing its real extent, the nationwide electoral success of AKP cannot be explained away by vote-rigging alone. Typically, under electoral authoritarian regimes “although {such} fraud may alter the outcome of elections, it is not so severe as to make the act of voting meaningless”.[12] It is especially important to analyze elections in Turkey, however, since the allegations of foul play do not only determine which candidate assumes office. Two key factors depend to a very large extent on the parliamentary elections results: the existence of meaningful institutional outlets for the political opposition, and the governmental accountability.

The importance of elections is magnified as the separation of powers diminishes and the boundaries between the executive and judicial branches disappear. The system has increasingly transformed into a winner-take-all game whereby both the losing parties and their constituencies are totally alienated. As of 2014, the total number of all opposition party votes in the Parliament is mathematically insufficient to neither pass nor block any laws, bills or regulations. Additionally, there is very little deliberation or meaningful public debate where the opposition can contribute to the policy making process. The erosion of checks and balances under this scenario leaves few institutional outlets for political opposition within the limits of the regime, short of winning a majority in the next elections. As such, it is not very surprising that the institutional realm is replaced by civil society as the only means of politics.

The other problem is that the elections have been repeatedly portrayed as the only mechanism of governmental accountability. At the slightest critique against his rule, Erdoğan is quick to point out the ballot box. He has repeatedly resorted to an openly majoritarian rhetoric, claiming that the AKP’s percentage of votes symbolizes the “national will”; hence his public policies are above and beyond public debate since any public discussion qualifies as “stealing the national will”. This rhetoric became rampant in December 2013 when an erupting corruption scandal of unprecedented degrees involved many businessmen and top-rank state officials, as well as three ministers of the government, Mr. Erdoğan, and his immediate family.

Against the allegations, Erdoğan and his party officials repeatedly claim that they would ‘only account for the alleged charges in the ballot box’, making it clear that the elections, and not the legislative branch, were the sole mechanism of accountability.[13] All of the indictment cases against the four ministers were overturned by the AKP votes in the parliament in the following months, and as a result none of the cases made it to the court. Over the long run, the legal impunity seems to have dissolved all constraints on the executive branch, clearly pointing towards electoral authoritarianism.

II. Civil Liberties

The most problematic aspect of the current Turkish regime is its failure to protect the civil liberties of the population and the restrictions on basic individual freedoms. Freedoms of expression, association and assembly are guaranteed in the constitution, but they remain remained restricted by law and in practice. As the reality on the ground continued to deteriorate, the Freedom House has downgraded Turkey’s civil liberties score from 3 to 4 in its 2013 report. In the 2014 report, they marked a further downward arrow, pointing to harsh government crackdown on protestors and increased political pressure on private companies. They have noted a decline in the categories of freedom of expression and belief; associational and organizational rights; and personal autonomy and individual rights.[14]

One of the most pressing concerns on the civil liberties front is the attack against the freedom of assembly and the level of police brutality targeting activists and demonstrators. The most pertinent example is the Gezi Park protests in June 2013, which probably constitute the largest urban social movement in the country’s history. On May 28th, a small sit-in was organized by a few hundred Istanbul urbanites in the Gezi Park adjacent to the city’s central Taksim Square. The demonstrators were against the demolition of trees for an urban project envisioning reconstruction of the historical military barracks (known as Topçu Kışlası and a shopping mall in lieu of the park. The government responded by a massive police attack, using tear gas and water cannons to disperse these peaceful protests. As growing numbers of demonstrators insisted on staying and setting up tents to occupy the Gezi Park, the police attacks escalated with frightening intensity.

When the news and video footages of widespread police violence at the heart of Istanbul hit the social media, growing public reaction quickly transformed into a countrywide urban movement, mobilizing millions of outraged citizens for the “Gezi Resistance”. Large-scale protests in 80 cities were coupled by a two-week public occupation of the Gezi Park and the surrounding Taksim Square, raising demands against government’s single-handed decisions in the organization of public spaces, urban gentrification policies, interference in individual lifestyles, and most importantly the increasing authoritarian tendencies of Erdoğan’s rule. According to the official figures, 3.5 million citizens took to streets at throughout the protests, and the number of supporters is probably much higher including the people who joined the movement through various means other than street demonstrations.[15] Small-scale meetings and protests continued throughout the summer and fall.

During this period, the toll of police brutality against unarmed protestors was enormous: 8 people died, 11 were blinded by gas canisters, and 8163 people in total were treated in hospitals across 13 cities with various injuries and traumas, with 63 of these people being critically injured.[16] Although the scope and intensity of police brutality was remarkable during the Gezi protests; the violent crackdown on protestors is not rare or unprecedented. In the first five months of 2013 leading to the Gezi protests, the police attacked or otherwise prevented public demonstrations in many instances; including the large 1st of May Workers’ Day rally of 2013 that was organized in Istanbul. The draconian measures taken against any type of democratic protest left many people seriously injured.

The targeting of the political opposition in the country is by no means limited to police violence at the street level. The launching of politically motivated court cases against opposition figures, activists and Kurdish politicians under the auspices of the Anti-Terror Law has also been plaguing democratic politics in the country for a long time. According to the Associated Press study of Global Terrorism, a total of 12,695 people were convicted under terror charges in Turkey between 2002 and 2009.[17] This number should be put in perspective: The AP study covers 66 countries comprising of 70% of the world population between 2001 and 2009. The total number of convictions throughout the whole sample was 35,117 people, and Turkey alone makes up one third of all cases with 12,897 convictions.[18]

The attack on the political opposition only intensified as the time passed, with political trials such as Ergenekon, Balyoz, KCK and Devrimci Karargah targeting military officers, the former Kemalist elite, Kurdish politicians, activists and socialists from various political organizations. In these series of political trials starting around 2008 and culminating to their highest point in 2012, a total of 32,279 people were tried for being leaders or members of an ‘armed organization’, and 19,635 people were convicted on these charges.[19] Many trials and appeals are still ongoing at various stages.


Figure 1. Imprisonment for terror crimes vs. terrorist attacks

The preceding graph put together by Erik Meyersson shows the increase in the number of imprisonment for terrorism charges compared to the number of terrorist attacks over time.[20] Although the number of terrorist attacks remained quite stable over time between 2002 and 2011, the number of people that are imprisoned on terror charges has steadily increased since 2004. These figures signal the use of legal mechanisms as an intimidation method against political opposition of all colors.

After the Gezi protests, many more similar court cases were initiated against activists, including members of professional organizations and political parties specifically targeted as strong opposition figures. One of the most well-known court cases targets the organizers of Taksim Solidarity (Taksim Dayanışması) the umbrella group consisting of many separate civil society organizations and political parties that joined the Gezi movement. The lead figures of Taksim Solidarity have been charged with various offenses such as ‘forming a criminal organization’, ‘resisting the police’ and ‘violating the laws of assembly’, facing between 1 to 29-year sentences.[21] The legal pressure on the political opposition is not limited to Taksim Solidarity members. At the time of this writing, over 5500 people that participated in the protests are charged in 95 ongoing trials.[22]

III. An Uneven Playing Field

The third defining characteristic of electoral authoritarian regimes is the existence of an uneven playing field for the political opposition. This concept can be understood as a degree of incumbent advantage that surpasses the normal competitive benefits from being in office. Three aspects are particularly important for capturing this inequality: access to resources, media, and the law.[23] When the incumbents are systematically favored on these fronts against the opposition, the political competition inevitably becomes skewed. Although the opposition can still organize and compete in elections, they are not on equal footing with the incumbents given the characteristics of the regime. As a clear example, the use of state resources for political campaigns can create an unfair incumbent advantage both in terms of finances and visibility. Such instances of power abuse are abundant in the Turkish electoral scene. The OSCE observation report concerning the August 2014 Presidential elections cites that the candidacy campaign activities of the Prime Minister Erdoğan were often combined with official government events, pointing to the use of state funds. [24]

This type of state intervention is also fueled by the concentration of the mainstream media ownership in the hands of a few business conglomerates with close ties to the government. Since 2008, close friends and associates of Mr. Erdoğan have acquired large shares in the television and print press, which marks a clash between what is real news and what is acceptable as news by the AKP officials. Many journalists and columnists have lost their jobs in the process, with many others becoming political targets and openly attacked during public speeches of the Prime Minister at various instances. These developments have also led to large scale self-censorship within the media workers, and anecdotal evidence suggests that the pressure starts mostly at the channel or newspaper executive level before news can even be made public.[25]

The media monopoly has become a key concern for the citizens’ right to unbiased information. The few independent television stations that remain have also come under attack, including state-induced fines by the Turkish Radio and Television Supreme Council (RTUK) for “encouraging violence” during their coverage of the Gezi protests.[26] The dependent status of the mainstream media is also coupled with outright government censorship that exacerbates the situation. In a few key political events, such as the May 2013 terrorist attacks in Reyhanlı and the June 2014 hostage crisis with ISIS, the AKP government has decreed an outright ban on any news coverage through court orders claiming ‘security reasons’.

Censorship is just one of the many issues plaguing media freedom in the country. The reporters are also frequently physically attacked by the police, and the impunity of attacks against reporters by the legal system further fuels violence.[27] Outright intimidation and imprisonment of journalists and reporters is also a common occurrence. The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) conducted a survey on December 2012, showing that Turkey was the world’s worst jailer of journalists with 49 people in prison.[28] Turkey was followed by Iran (45), China (32), Eritrea (28), Syria (15) and Vietnam (14) in the number of imprisonments. Although government claimed that these 49 journalists were arrested on terrorism charges, the CPJ’s analysis argues that most of the court evidence was based on journalistic activities.


Figure 2. Press Freedom in Turkey, 2002-2014

This analysis was further supported by the Reporters Without Borders (RWB) reports. According to the World Press Freedom Index 2014 prepared by RWB, Turkey has an abysmal 154th rank among 180 countries.[29] The alarming state of media freedom has also been noted by multiple Freedom House reports in 2013 and 2014. The status of Turkey in terms of freedom of the press was downgraded from “Partly Free” to “Not Free”, citing the formal and informal pressures on journalists including the restrictive provisions in the penal code and imprisoned journalists.[30] In a more detailed special report on media and corruption in Turkey in 2014, the Freedom House cites the authoritarian governmental tactics to control the media such as intimidation, mass firings, buying off or forcing out media owners, wiretapping and imprisonment.[31]

The decline of press freedom in the country is also coupled with increased limitations on internet freedom, including extremely controversial bans on social media outlets. Especially during the 2013-2014 period, various attempts were made at online content restrictions by the AKP government.[32] Some of these attempts and regulations are aimed at containing the dissemination of information regarding the corruption scandal of December 2013. The Internet Law was amended in February 2014 to allow authorities to block access to websites without a court order. One of the first websites to be hit by the regulation was Twitter in March 2014, banned on the grounds of infringement on personal rights hours after Erdoğan openly attacked the website in a public speech. Many more websites have been banned since, with minimal legal supervision. Coupled with the new regulations, these developments raise serious doubts about the future state of internet freedom in the country.


Regime classification is a tricky business, and most of the time a certain degree of uncertainty is inevitable when the exact characterization of hybrid regimes is concerned. However, in the case of the current Turkish regime, overwhelming evidence points towards a declining trend in all democratic institutions and principles across the board. Hence, this article has argued that Turkey is currently an electoral authoritarian regime where the separation of powers has all but disappeared, and where governmental accountability is tied exclusively to elections results. As noted by Corrales and Penfold, “the key feature of hybrid regimes, most scholars agree, is the use of legal and illegal mechanisms to erode checks and balances on the executive branch”.[33] Indeed, many scholars studying these regimes have noted that hybrid regimes are characterized by “a highly centralized state authority concentrated in the executive branch”.[34]

The freedom of expression and assembly appear to be the most critically threatened civil liberties at the moment, but even more important democratic principles such as the right to a free trial have also come under heavy attack. These institutional problems are exacerbated by the increasingly polarizing discourse of the AKP officials (and especially Erdoğan) towards certain segments of the population. Coupled with the ongoing assault on civil society, these exclusionary policies further destabilize pluralism in the country. The deepening of divisions in the society among ideological, religious and ethnic lines has also reached a critical level. As this discussion suggests, the opportunities for political opposition are increasingly limited both institutionally and at the grassroots level. While the major opposition parties in the parliament are excluded from any and all discussion in the policymaking realm, the civil society and the media are also heavily targeted by governmental measures including police violence, judicial pressures and financial punishment.

This article does not claim to thoroughly investigate all aspects of the current Turkish regime; rather it sheds light on some of the main characteristics for classification purposes. In this sense, many issues that merit further analysis are left out of the discussion. However, the main point remains simple. Political analysts today should not shy away from labeling the current Turkish regime what it is; an electoral authoritarian regime with bleak prospects for further democratization in the near future. The results of the August 2014 presidential election will do little to change this reality. In fact, it will more likely help to exacerbate the already existing problems within the system. Large scale institutional reform and a clear separation of powers with constraints on the executive branch is called for, however both seem highly unlikely at this point. Unwarranted optimism about immediate change on these fronts will only prompt inaccurate analyses of the current Turkish regime and its new path.

Dr. Ekim Arbatlı, Assistant Professor, Political Science Department, NRU Higher School of Economics, Moscow

Please cite this publication as follows:

Arbatlı E. (December, 2014), “Turkey’s New Path: The Rise of Electoral Authoritarianism”, Vol. III, Issue 12, pp.76-92, Centre for Policy and Research on Turkey (ResearchTurkey), London, ResearchTurkey. (http://researchturkey.org/?p=7621)

End Notes

[1] Freedom House. (2014). “Freedom in the World 2014”. The report is available at


[2] O’Donnell, G. A. (1996). Illusions about consolidation. Journal of democracy, 7(2), 34-51; Carothers, T. (2002). The end of the transition paradigm. Journal of democracy, 13(1), 5-21; Levitsky, S., & Way, L. (2002). The rise of competitive authoritarianism. Journal of democracy, 13(2), 51-65.

[3] Morse, Y. L. (2012). The era of electoral authoritarianism. World Politics, 64(1), 161-198.

[4] Levitsky, S., & Way, L. A. (2010). Competitive authoritarianism: hybrid regimes after the cold war. Cambridge University Press.

[5] Ibid.

[6] Toker, C. (2014). Elections in Turkey: Fair or Fraud-Ridden? Turkish Policy Quarterly, 12(4), p.117. The article is available online at http://turkishpolicy.com/dosyalar/files/vol_12-no_4-toker.pdf

[7] Ibid. The author also notes other technical problems within the election administration such as the decision to ban the use of finger dye on the day of the election and the reliability of the newly implemented voter roll software (SECSIS) used for vote counting.

[8] “YSK kesin secim sonuclarini acikladi” (“YSK announces official election results”), Milliyet, 06/05/2014, http://www.milliyet.com.tr/ysk-kesin-secim-sonuclarini/siyaset/detay/1878334/default.htm

[9] “Bakanlarin oy saydigi ileri demokrasi!” (“Advanced democracy where ministers count votes!”), Cumhuriyet, 02/04/2014, http://www.cumhuriyet.com.tr/haber/turkiye/56635/Bakanlarin_oy_saydigi_ileri_demokrasi_.html

[10] The data is taken from the press conference by Mansur Yavas on April 6th, 2014. “Mansur Yavas butun usulsuzlukleri acikladi”, (“Mansur Yavas recounts all the irregularities”), Cumhuriyet, 06/04/2014,   http://www.cumhuriyet.com.tr/video/video/57975/Mansur_Yavas_butun_usulsuzlukleri_acikladi.html

[11] Two independent economists, Erik Meyersson and Cemal Eren Arbatli, discussed similar statistical analysis results about the election irregularities in Ankara in their respective blogs. Meyersson, E. (2014, April 6). “Trouble in Turkey’s Elections”. Available at http://erikmeyersson.com/2014/04/06/trouble-in-turkeys-elections/

Meyersson, E. (2014, April 1) “Is Something Rotten in Ankara’s Mayoral election: A Very Preliminary Statistical Analysis”. Available at http://erikmeyersson.com/2014/04/01/is-something-rotten-in-ankaras-mayoral-election-a-very-preliminary-statistical-analysis/ Arbatli, C.E. (2014, April 30). “What Happened in 2009 Ankara Elections?” Available at http://ekonomisiyaset.blogspot.ru/2014/04/what-happened-in-ankara-2009-elections.html  Arbatli, C.E. (2014, April 30). “Troubling Regularity of Irregularity: Evidence from 2014 Local Elections in Ankara in the Light of 2009 Outcomes”. Available at  http://ekonomisiyaset.blogspot.ru/2014/04/troubling-regularity-of-irregularity.html

[12] Levitsky and Way, op. cit.,  p. 8.

[13] “Basbakan Erdoğan: Hesabi olan varsa sandikta gorsun” (PM Erdoğan: If you have an issue settle it at the booth”), Haberturk TV, 17/12/2013. http://haberturk.tv/gundem/video/basbakan-Erdoğan-hesabi-olan-varsa-sandikta-gorsun/106688 . “Muammer Guler: Ben hesabimi veririm ama…” (Muammer Guler: I can account for what I did but…”), Radikal, 04/03/2014, http://www.radikal.com.tr/politika/muammer_guler_ben_hesabimi_veririm_ama-1179567

[14]Freedom House. (2014). “Freedom in the World 2014 – Turkey”. The report is available at


[15] As one famous example, many people who could not participate in street protests (the sick, the elderly, etc.) formed an “orchestra of pots and pans” in their neighborhoods – going out to their balconies every night at a designated hour, and banging pots and pans together to signal their disapproval of government policies and police violence. This protest became so widespread that the Prime Minister Erdoğan asked his own supporters to report anyone who is banging pots and pans to the police on the grounds that ‘making noise and annoying your neighbors is a crime’. “Erdoğan: Tencere tava calani sikayet edin” (“Erdoğan: Report those who bang pots and pans”), Radikal, 19/07/2013, (http://www.radikal.com.tr/politika/Erdoğan_tencere_tava_calani_sikayet_edin-1142540

[16]The numbers are taken from the report of Turkish Medical Association, reporting the period between May 31st – August 1st. The report is available at http://www.ttb.org.tr/index.php/Haberler/veri-3944.html. After August 1st, the death toll increased further to a total of 8 people.

[17] The data was acquired by AP from the Turkish Ministry of Justice under the auspices of the law on the right to information. The documents are available at http://hosted.ap.org/interactives/2011/global-terrorism-documents/

[18] Mendoza, M. (2011). Global Terrorism: 35,000 Worldwide Convicted for Terror Offenses Since September 11 Attacks. The Huffington Post [online], September 3. Available at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/09/03/terrorism-convictions-since-sept-11_n_947865.html

[19] The data from Turkish Ministry of Justice, written response to the written motion submitted by PM Pervin Buldan requesting the number of people tried, arrested and convicted under Article 314 of Turkish Penal Code. The response is available at http://www2.tbmm.gov.tr/d24/7/7-18919sgc.pdf

[20]Meyersson, E. (2014, May 3). “Turkey’s Institutions Problem”. Available at http://erikmeyersson.com/2014/05/03/turkeys-institutions-problem/

[21] “Gezi iddianamesi kabul edildi” (“The Gezi indictment is accepted”), Aljazeera Turk, 17/03/2014, http://www.aljazeera.com.tr/haber/gezi-iddianamesi-kabul-edildi-0

[22]The numbers are provided by the Human Rights Foundation of Turkey (TIHV), available in Turkish at the Amnesty International. (2014). “Yaralar Acik, Adalet Hala Yok: Gezi Parki Eylemlerinden Bir Yil Sonra”, p. 14. Report available at


[23] Levitsky and Way, op. cit.,  p.10.

[24] OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights. Limited Election Observation Mission. (2014). “Republic of Turkey Presidential Election, 10 August 2014, Interim Report (9-28 July 2014)”. The report is available at  http://www.osce.org/odihr/elections/turkey/122141?download=true

[25] Dagistanli, M.A. (2014). 5 Ne 1 Kim: Medyanin mutfagindan sansur-otosansur hikayeleri. Postaci Yayinevi.

[26] “RTUK’ten kanallara Gezi cezasi” (RTUK fines channels for Gezi”), Cumhuriyet, 12/06/2013,  http://www.cumhuriyet.com.tr/haber/diger/427290/RTUK_ten_kanallara_Gezi_cezasi.html

[27] “Harassment of Turkey’s Media Since January 2014”, Reporters Without Borders, 06/05/2014, http://en.rsf.org/turquie-harassment-of-turkey-s-media-since-10-01-2014,45719.html

[28] Committee to Protect Journalists. (2013). “Attacks on the Press in 2012 – Turkey”. Available at https://www.cpj.org/2013/02/attacks-on-the-press-in-2012-turkey.php

[29] Reporters Without Borders. (2014). “World Press Freedom Index”. Available at http://rsf.org/index2014/en-index2014.php

[30] Freedom House. (2014). “Freedom of the Press 2014”. The report is available at http://www.freedomhouse.org/sites/default/files/FOTP_2014.pdf

[31] Freedom House. (2014).  “Democracy in Crisis: Corruption, Media, and Power in Turkey”. The report is available at http://freedomhouse.org/sites/default/files/Turkey%20Report%20-%202-3-14.pdf

[32] Freedom House. (2014) “The Struggle for Turkey’s Internet”. The report is available at http://freedomhouse.org/sites/default/files/The%20Struggle%20for%20Turkey%27s%20Internet.pdf

[33] Corrales, J.& Penfold, M. (2011). Dragon in the Tropics: Hugo Chavez and the Political Economy of Revolution in Venezuela. Brookings Institute Press. p. 138.

[34] Petrov, N., Lipman, M. & Hale, H. H. (2010) Overmanaged Democracy in Russia: Governance Implications of Hybrid Regimes. Carnegie Papers No. 106, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Russia and Eurasia Program.



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