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The AKP story: Turkey’s bumpy reform path towards the European Union


  • Deniz Bingol Mcdonald

    () (Kadir Has University, Istanbul Center for International and European Studies and Department for International Relations Istanbul Turkey)


The Justice and Development Party (AKP) government between 2002 and 2007 managed to accomplish unprecedented economic reforms, maintaining 8% growth and passed legislation to change Turkey into a more democratic country in line with the Copenhagen political conditions. After being rewarded with the start of accession negotiations in 2005 and an electoral landslide in 2007, AKP’s second term in office is in stark contrast with its earlier days of glory. AKP disengaged itself from the IMF agreement, and took EU reforms off the top of its agenda, bringing half a decade of political and economic reforms to a halt. The paper argues that AKP utilized the credibility of IMF and EU support to defeat its domestic rivals, but once the external incentives lessened, AKP turned inwards to consolidate its power and cared for little else. The first part of the paper explores how AKP managed to construct such a broad reform consensus and assesses the role of the external influence. The second part explores why and how this reform consensus fell apart.

Suggested Citation

  • Deniz Bingol Mcdonald, 2011. "The AKP story: Turkey’s bumpy reform path towards the European Union," Society and Economy, Akadémiai Kiadó, Hungary, vol. 33(3), pages 525-542, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:aka:soceco:v:33:y:2011:i:3:p:525-542

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    More about this item


    Turkey; European Union; external anchors; accession conditions; economic reforms; democratization;

    JEL classification:

    • F59 - International Economics - - International Relations, National Security, and International Political Economy - - - Other
    • F36 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - Financial Aspects of Economic Integration
    • F53 - International Economics - - International Relations, National Security, and International Political Economy - - - International Agreements and Observance; International Organizations


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