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Autocratization, permanent emergency rule and local politics: lessons from the Kurds in Turkey

Whiting, Matthew and Kaya, Zeynep N. (2021) Autocratization, permanent emergency rule and local politics: lessons from the Kurds in Turkey. Democratization, 28 (4). 821 - 839. ISSN 1351-0347

[img] Text (Emergency Rule Trustees and local democracy in Turkey_accepted version) - Accepted Version
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Identification Number: 10.1080/13510347.2021.1871602


Emergency rule provides opportunities for aspiring autocrats to subvert democratic institutions while still following constitutional rules. There has been a steady rise in the use of emergency rule for this purpose in recent years, leading many scholars to speak of “permanent” emergency rule. Existing explanations of permanent emergency rule focus on national-level factors, completely neglecting the role of local political dynamics. Our goal is to trace how overlooked local conditions enable the permanency of emergency rule. We do so by looking at one particular autocratizing emergency decree in one province in Eastern Turkey that became permanent during its recent state of emergency: the removal of local elected Kurdish mayors and their replacement with state-appointed trustees. We draw on in-depth interviews, reviews of three local newspapers, and a review of parliamentary records and political statements, to argue that three local conditions were necessary for this process. First, this was not a new policy for this region, which had long been treated as exceptional; secondly, there were high levels of local polarization and zero-sum politics around the ethno-political divide; and thirdly, local politics was highly clientelistic. These reinforcing factors created weak municipal government and enabled its eclipse by an autocratizing centre.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2021 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.
Divisions: Middle East Centre
Subjects: D History General and Old World > DR Balkan Peninsula
J Political Science > JN Political institutions (Europe)
Date Deposited: 04 Apr 2022 09:54
Last Modified: 17 Apr 2024 21:12

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