Civil-military relations took a complex turn in Turkey in the last couple of years, particularly with the emergence of the Ergenekon, an underground organization investigated for plotting a military coup. In addition to the traditional actors of the Turkish political scene–the civilian government, military, media, and legislative body–a new player, the judiciary, is now taking center stage in the political struggle between the pro- and anti- Justice and Development Party (AKP) camps. In light of the recent arrest of retired and active duty military officers, important questions are emerging: is Turkey becoming more or less democratic? Is the power struggle between Islam and secularism or between democracy and authoritarianism?
On April 20, the Center on the United States and Europe hosted a discussion focusing on the current political dynamics in Turkey. Panelists included Gareth Jenkins, nonresident senior fellow with the Central Asia-Caucasus Institute and Etyen Mahcupyan, director of the democratization program at the Turkish Economic and Social Studies Foundation (TESEV). Brookings Nonresident Senior Fellow Ömer Taşpınar provided introductory remarks and moderated the discussion.
After the program, the panelists took audience questions.