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The AKP, Ibn Khaldun and The New 'Desert Tribes' of Turkey

Medieval Muslim thinker Ibn Khaldun provides insight into the evolution and prospects for the AKP.
Turkey's Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan addresses the members of his ruling AK Party (AKP), as he stands in front of the Turkey's national flag and portraits of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, founder of modern Turkey, and of himself during a meeting at his party headquarters in Ankara July 11, 2012. REUTERS/Umit Bektas (TURKEY - Tags: POLITICS) - RTR34TO6

Most objective observers of Turkey concede these days that the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), which has been in power for more than a decade, has changed considerably in the past few years. In its first two terms, from 2002 to 2011, the party was largely seen as one of the most liberal and reformist political forces in Turkish history. That most AKP members, including its leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan, were pious Muslims had not prevented them from aspiring to the norms of the European Union. However, since the elections of 2011, the AKP leadership has proven less interested in liberal reform and has used an increasingly authoritarian tone, which has peaked since the Gezi Park protests of last June.

In other words, most objective observers of Turkey agree that something bad happened to the AKP. They just wonder why.

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