Islam, conservatism, and democracy in Turkey: comparing Turgut Özal and Recep Tayyip Erdoğn
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In the absence of politically influential aristocracy and the entrepreneurial middle classes, the political and economic transformations in the Republican Turkey have been the handiwork of the political elites. Thus, late Dankwart A. Rustow, prominent political scientist with a special interest on Turkish affairs, talked of the "cultural revolution of Atatürk," the "democratic revolution of İsmet İnönü," and the "economic revolution of Turgut Özal." The first two transformations were top-down revolutions and have not had a considerable impact on the social and economic stratification in the country. In contrast, with the Özal revolution a new entrepreneurial middle class began to flourish, and, in the Recep Tayyip Erdoǧan period, the peripheral social groups led by the entrepreneurial middle class in question have become influential players in the Turkish polity.