Politics, religion, and culture where East meets West

Defining the “Turkish model”

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After a few happy months, I once again stumbled upon the counterfeit concept of the “Turkish model,” which had neither form nor matter before Arab dictators started spontaneously going out of vogue. Since then, the concept has served as a lodestone for all varieties of vacuous Middle-East punditry. Today, however, a colleague managed to ease my rage at the unremitting concept by supplying an amusing ex tempore definition of the “model.”

. . . what American policymakers think Arab dissidents think about Turkish populism.

Accurate or not, I think that this “definition” suggests that the concept has outlived its usefulness. The democratization ruse in Egypt, the resignation of Ennahda in Tunisia, the stalemate in Syria, and the Gezi Park protests have, after all, stripped the idea of its original, hopeful context. The reality has always been more complex than the concept suggested.

But the columnists clamor for bread. If nothing remains to be said about the “Turkish model,” then a new concept, equally myopic, will grace your doorstep soon.


Written by M. James

October 22, 2013 at 12:09 pm

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