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After the fog of reform: Democratic consolidation in Mexico and Turkey

Evren Celik Wiltse, University of Massachusetts Amherst


Mexico and Turkey experienced significant changes in their political systems in recent decades including a series of reforms to improve their semi-democratic regimes. Both countries had established similar political and socio-economic structures in the early years of their modern republican regimes. Protectionist, state-led development models and highly regulated, corporatist forms of interest mediation continued until they faced severe crisis in the 1980s. Subsequently, both countries adopted the hegemonic neoliberal model. Rapid economic liberalization initiatives were coupled with gradual expansion in political rights and civil liberties. At the turn of the new millenium, the political apertura had beared fruit in Mexico as it successfully ended the seven-decade long single party rule through peaceful, electoral means. Despite its strong centralist state legacy, Mexico managed to improve its democratic status by establishing genuinely competitive elections and expanding its democratic space to include a vocal and pluralist civil society. While Mexico seems to have beaten its structural odds, Turkey continues to struggle with the same political problems that haunted its democracy relentlessly. When we consider Turkey’s long experience with multi-party politics and its close engagement with the EU –a quintessentially democratic union, the underperformance of Turkey becomes even more puzzling. This dissertation attempts to grasp the mechanisms behind the apparent performance gap in the democratic deepening of Mexico and Turkey through a comparative historical framework of analysis.

Subject Area

Political science|International law

Recommended Citation

Celik Wiltse, Evren, "After the fog of reform: Democratic consolidation in Mexico and Turkey" (2010). Doctoral Dissertations Available from Proquest. AAI3409551.