Turkey: How the Coup Failed
Abstract

On 15 July 2016, Turkey was shaken by an attempted coup. For the first time in modern Turkish history—a history littered with attempted coups—the elected government thwarted the putsch. We suggest that the success of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) in defeating the coup attempt is part and parcel of its competitive authoritarian regime. On the one hand, AKP’s extensive access to public and private resources, as well as its control over conventional and social media, bolstered its capacity to mobilize during the time of crisis. On the other hand, the regime’s electoral features have armored the AKP with political (not to mention popular) legitimacy, and have incentivized opposition parties to remain committed to the regime, rather than opt for an uncertain future under military rule. We conclude that the failure of the coup attempt not only indicates the resilience of competitive authoritarianism in Turkey, it may also pave the way for a more stable authoritarian regime under the AKP’s rule.


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