12 October 2017

War on the Rocks: “The Rise and Fall of Erdoganocracy: Why Victory May Defeat Turkey’s President”

Eventually, the alliance fell apart in 2013, as Gulenists turned against Erdogan. The war between the two culminated in the coup attempt, which allowed Erdogan to purge most known Gulenists and opponents of all other ideological stripes from the state institutions and beyond.

Having relied on Gulenists as a substitute for secularists in the bureaucracy, this presents Erdogan with a human resource challenge. Erdogan and the AKP’s best bet in the short term is rewarding loyalty, not necessarily merit. The long term impact of this strategy will be dire: increased corruption and nepotism, decaying institutional effectiveness, and a flailing economy. Erdogan will likely blame all of this on Turkey’s opposition, but populist rhetoric has its limits, usually defined in terms of what everyday people experience in their own lives.

There will be a short term impact, too. Within the AKP, Erdogan will increasingly favor his die-hard loyalists. It is unlikely that the resulting resentment against unadulterated patronage within AKP ranks, as some commentators argue, will lead to the implosion of the party. More likely is a future where the AKP, marginalizing whatever is left of its own talent, will cannibalize what made it a big success story in the first place: institutional coherence and discipline. Put simply, one cannot have the cake and eat it too. As sociologist Max Weber recognized a century ago, “charismatic authority” and “bureaucratic authority” cannot easily co-exist. Erdogan’s rise as the “one man”, not only in Turkey but also within his own party, will also mean that AKP will start to decay as an organization.

Burak Kadercan

Interesting insights into the political situation in Turkey, which is becoming increasingly tense and polarized under the current president’s authoritarian measures. The secular, democratic state that his predecessors strived to build seems further and further from reality. I found the paragraphs above especially striking, as I suspect a similar situation is developing in the United States under the presidency of Donald Trump.

Erdogan victorious

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