A Turkish Model for the Arab Spring?

in Middle East Law and Governance
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The revolutionary wave of demonstrations and protests across the Arab world – known collectively as the Arab Spring – have ushered in a period of unprecedented change to the region. To what extent are non-Arab regional players relevant to this process? This essay considers two dimensions of the potential significance of Turkey to the events underway in the Arab world. Turkey has at times been invoked as a regionally appropriate example on which to model Arab democratization in a post-authoritarian context. This essay critically examines such claims, pointing out both the democratic deficits of the Turkish model and the intrinsic challenges of applying external models to indigenous democratization efforts. On the other hand, there is a second sense in which Turkey may have a role in the Arab Spring – namely, as an actor in its own right. With respect to this second dimension, this essay considers evolving Turkish policy towards the Arab world and examines the potential for Turkey to play a constructive role as a pro-democratic force in the region.

Middle East Law and Governance

An Interdisciplinary Journal

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