Recurring authoritarian revivals: Evidence from Ottoman and Republican Turkey


This study considers recurrent authoritarian revivals. Unlike conventional studies that focus on authoritarian survival and durability, I study the periodicity of regime changes. Using the cases of Ottoman (18761918) and Republican (1923-1960) (2002-2017) Turkey, I show that recurrent authoritarian revivals are more likely in societies where anti-status quo groups assume power upon overthrowing an oppressive regime, begin reforming old institutions, and face dissent. Such governments are more prone to turning authoritarian because they feel menaced by dissent and choose repression over compromise. Repression initially targets old elites but extends to other dissenters as governments do not tolerate alternative reform projects. Cooperation does not arise because uncertainty, distrust, and past repression perpetuate the fear of survival. This article contributes to the regimes and institutionalism literatures by systematically studying an undertheorized issue and offering a mechanistic explanation of recurrent institutional outcomes based on government-opposition interactions and positive feedback.


Supplementary material

Supplementary materials for historical analysis
This file contains a detailed version of the periods examined in the paper
this file contains the figures, including the main argument, the graphs constructed using the V-Dem data, and game tees


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