Columbia International Affairs Online: Working Papers

CIAO DATE: 10/2013

Individual Freedoms in Turkey

Marc Pierini

September 2013

Carnegie Endowment for International Peace


Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) has witnessed economic success and launched major reforms, in particular writing a new constitution, negotiating with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, passing four judicial reform packages, and installing an ombudsman. In sharp contrast, the AKP’s exclusive reliance on its election victories for legitimacy and increasingly authoritarian practices in the fields of freedom of cultural expression and coexistence of different lifestyles are at odds with its stated objective of establishing an advanced democracy. Popular discontent with these practices and unending restrictions on media freedom resulted in major protests in May and June 2013.