Letter from Ankara
The Political Quarterly
Wiley-Blackwell Publishing Ltd.
359 - 363
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This article focuses on the relationship between discourses of economic development and prospects for democracy in Turkey. It does so by tracing the political discourse of highranking government officials and journalists close to them to show how they use arguments for economic development as a tool to politically legitimise interventions into liberal democracy. I first illustrate the dangers caused by the discourse surrounding economic development to democracy by looking at the Gezi protests. I show how demands for pluralism and respect for different lifestyles—which are crucial aspects of liberal democracy—were instead framed by the government as chaos created by agents of the so-called ‘interest rate lobby’ and provocations caused by those who want to stop Turkey’s economic development. I analyse Gezi in comparative perspective with presidentialism debates and the corruption scandal of December 2013. In these cases too, demands for democracy, transparency, checks and balances are pitted against economic development. Citizens are made to choose between a vaguely defined notion of economic development and democratisation