For the last century, the Western world has regarded Turkey as a pivotal case of the 'clash of civilisations' between Islam and the West. Why Turkey is Authoritarian offers a radical challenge to this conventional narrative. Halil Karaveli highlights the danger in viewing events in Turkey as a war between a 'westernising' state and the popular masses defending their culture and religion, arguing instead for a class analysis that is largely ignored in the Turkish context.
This book goes beyond cultural categories that overshadow more complex realities when thinking about the 'Muslim world', while highlighting the ways in which these cultural prejudices have informed ideological positions. Karaveli argues that Turkey's culture and identity have disabled the Left, which has largely been unable to transcend these divisions. This book asks the crucial question: why does democracy continue to elude Turkey? Ultimately, Karaveli argues that Turkish history is instructive for a left that faces the global challenge of a rising populist right, which succeeds in mobilising culture and identity to its own purposes.