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15 years of Turkey's AKP: Is it a success story?

Turkey's Justice and Development Party has had economic and political successes, but the current state of affairs could threaten that legacy.
Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim addresses during the enlarged meeting of provincial chairmans of Justice and Development Party (AK Party) at the AK Party headquarters in Ankara, on June 2, 2016. / AFP / ADEM ALTAN        (Photo credit should read ADEM ALTAN/AFP/Getty Images)

The Justice and Development Party (AKP), which accustomed Turkey to tumultuous celebrations of any occasion it could think of, including to show respect for those killed in last month’s coup attempt, opted for a low-key observance to mark the 15th anniversary of its founding Aug. 14. The AKP came to power only 15 months after its establishment and has been the sole ruling party for 14 years. Has the party been successful?

To many, it might seem superfluous to ask such a question about a party that has won 12 consecutive elections. Also, let's not forget, Turkey's gross domestic product has increased threefold. Thousands of kilometers of highways, hundreds of schools and hundreds of thousands of dwellings have been built. Accession negotiations began with the European Union, the military’s political power was curtailed, and important advances were made in human rights and freedom of expression. The party also experienced a number of disturbing episodes during its years in power.

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