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  • Author or Editor: Birgül Demirtaş x
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Many of the Western countries have radically changed their system of conscription in the recent decades. Turkey that enthusiastically takes the West as a model in many fields continues, however, to ignore developments in the Western military systems and sticks to its traditional understanding of military institutions. The present study seeks to examine the rationale behind Turkey’s conscription system and its reluctance to reform. Why is the Justice and Development Party (JDP) still stuck to the same conscription system that remained untouched in its fundamentals for 85 years? The basic argument of the article is that although the discourse in Turkish foreign policy changed considerably under the JDP, Turkish decision leaders still have a security understanding dominated by the realist approach.

In: Iran and the Caucasus

The perception of Turkey as a model of attractive country in the region has started to change in the recent years. In the first decade of the JDP rule Turkey was seen as an emerging power with its strong economy, improving democracy and inspiring foreign policy. However, the developments since the Arab Uprisings in the neighbourhood, Gezi movement at home, end of the Kurdish peace process, as well as coup attempt and subsequent de-democratisation harmed the soft power of Turkey. This study argues that the JDP’s understanding of democracy and democratisation has been full of flaws from the very beginning of its rule. The Turkish example shows that countries can experience subsequent processes of de-democratisation and de-democratisation if governing parties did not endogenise the basic norms of democracy. Therefore, it is argued that the reverse wave of de-democratisation characterises Turkey more than the “selective” processes of democratisation. It is also argued that JDP elite via its discourse has been constructing the West as the ‘Other’.

In: Iran and the Caucasus