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State–Bourgeoisie Relations under Neoliberalism with Turkish Characteristics

In: Historical Materialism
Author:
Umut Bozkurt Assistant Professor, Department of Political Science and International Relations, Eastern Mediterranean University Famagusta Northern Cyprus

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https://orcid.org/0000-0002-0773-7924
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Abstract

This article aims to analyse state–bourgeoisie relations in the era of AKP-rule in Turkey, with a specific focus on the 2018 economic crisis. It will discuss the following question: How did the AKP regime position itself with respect to the interests of the first- and second-generation bourgeoisie? Especially after 2010, the AKP was criticised for carrying out an extra-economic intervention in the sphere of accumulation as well as providing benefits to the Islamic second-generation bourgeoisie. This article draws on a Marxist conceptualisation of the state which underlines that the state’s autonomy from the economy is limited because its continued existence depends on the reproduction of accumulation, hence its need to intervene. However, the state cannot implement a unified interventionist strategy because it needs to maintain links with different groups of bourgeoisie as well as the proletariat. The article’s main argument is that the AKP struggled to balance the divergent interests of the first- and second-generation bourgeoisie and implemented policies that may be characterised as incoherent and contradictory. These contradictory policies also played an important role in the 2018 economic crisis.

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