Turkey and Thailand: unlikely twins

Turkey and Thailand: unlikely twins – July, 2012
[Thanks to Tom for pointing this out.]
…Thailand’s urbanized villagers have their counterparts in Turkey’s gecekondu (roughly meaning “shanty- town”7) folk, who are generally discussed with reference to their level of religiosity rather than class, but that is merely a matter of framing. The stereotype of the AKP voter that prevails among the old-line Turkish establishment portrays him as a so-called belly-scratcher: a barely educated, provincial know-nothing with traditional (but insincere) religious values and minor business acumen who puts his own self-interest above the needs of his country.
…Thaksin and Erdogan have practiced a highly personalized form of rule, characterized by a kind of “sultanism” that emulates and sometimes outdoes that of the militaries with which they have clashed. So though there is no going back, the road ahead does not necessarily promise to lead to the gradual consolidation of liberal-democratic norms, and the possibility of detours into populist authoritarianism looms.
…The hypernationalist political-development trajectory exemplified by never- colonized countries such as Turkey and Thailand, like a number of other states at the edges of Europe and Asia, may not provide the most fertile ground for liberalism….

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