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HomeGeopolitical CompassWest & Centeral AsiaAntidemocratic populism in power: comparing Erdoğan’s Turkey with Modi’s India and Netanyahu’s...

Antidemocratic populism in power: comparing Erdoğan’s Turkey with Modi’s India and Netanyahu’s Israel

Authors: Julius Maximilian Rogenhofer and Ayala Panievsky

Affiliation: University of Cambridge, UK

Organization/Publisher:Democratization, Routledge

Date/Place: July 16, 2020/ UK

Type of Literature: Journal Article

Number of Pages: 20


Keywords: Populism, Democratic Decay, Neoliberalism, Religious Sectarianism, Fourth Estate, Turkey, India, Israel, Autocratization, Deeply Divided Societies



The second decade of the 21st century has witnessed rises in populism across the globe, particularly in Europe and the US.  The governments elected by popular votes are also declared as the byproduct of populism.  This article analyzes three popular governments, namely the Erdoğan, Modi, and Netanyahu regimes and their comparison with each other. According to the article, the Modi and Netanyahu regimes have followed the blueprints of Erdoğan’s authoritarianism.  Justice and Development Party or AK-Party established its government in 2002 under the leadership of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Since then, the country has seen various democratic transitions without any visible interruption from nondemocratic forces except the failed coup of 2016. The continuous re-election of AK-Party has been seen in the West as a form of authoritarianism, but the reality is otherwise. AK-Party materialized Turkey’s quest for European Union (EU) accession in 2004 and did large scale reforms required for negotiation procedure.  The article only highlights media censorship in Turkey as an indicator of an anti-democratic regime.  This study also compares Turkey’s lawful and internationally coordinated offensive in Syria (for establishing safe zones for refugees) with the unilateral illegal occupations of Palestine and Kashmir by Israel and India, respectively.  While Ankara’s measured response to the illegal coup attempt on democracy imposed a limited state of emergency to eliminate and contain any future threats to the democracy, Modi’s regime on the other hand is adopting Hindutva ideology as a state ideology where minority rights are being usurped on a daily basis. Israel is no better than India in this regard where Netanyahu is following Zionist expansionist ideology by establishing illegal settlements in West Bank. The article concludes that three features are dominant in Erdoğan’s “regime:” neoliberal economic strategy, religious polarization, and attacks on media freedom.  The article however fails to provide any significant empirical data in support of this argument while completely ignoring the internet, mobile, media, and utility blackouts imposed against Kashmir and Gaza.

By: Muhammad Taimoor Bin Tanveer, CIGA Senior Research Associate



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