Democracy or Authoritarianism: Islamist Governments in Turkey, Egypt, and Tunisia – By Sebnem Gumuscu / Cambridge University Press

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The first Islamist parties to come to power through democratic means in the Muslim world were those in Turkey, Tunisia, and Egypt. The Justice and Development Party (AKP) won the 2002 election in Turkey, and Ennahda (Renaissance Party) in Tunisia and the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt were both elected in the wake of the Arab uprisings of 2010/11. Yet only Ennahda could be said to have fulfilled its democratic promise, with both the Turkish and Egyptian governments reverting to authoritarianism. Drawing upon extensive fieldwork in three countries, Sebnem Gumuscu explains why some Islamist governments adhered to democratic principles and others took an authoritarian turn following electoral success. Using accessible language, Gumuscu clearly introduces key theories and considers how intra-party affairs impacted each party’s commitment to democracy. Through a comparative lens, Gumuscu identifies broader trends in Islamist governments and explains the complex web of internal dynamics that led political parties either to advance or subvert democracy.

Published on March 2023, by Cambridge University Press

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‘Through extensive fieldwork, Gumuscu offers a detailed, carefully researched empirical analysis of Islamist political parties, focusing on intra-party politics and factional struggles. This pathbreaking study is indispensable to understanding the dynamics of the Islamist political parties and their role in the contemporary politics of Egypt, Tunisia, and Turkey.’

Sabri Sayarı – Sabancı University

‘This is a crisp analysis of the different trajectories of Islamist parties in Egypt, Tunisia, and Turkey. Developing a refreshing perspective on the highly contingent nature of the relationship between Islam and democracy, Gumuscu’s compelling narrative suggests the viability of more positive outcomes in an era of democratic retrenchment.’

Güneş Murat Tezcür – University of Central Florida

‘This is comparative politics at its very best. Grappling with the timely question of why some Islamist parties remain committed to democracy once in power while others experience democratic backsliding, Gumuscu leverages a rich body of primary research to argue for intra-party competition as the causal factor. Readers have gained a powerful tool via Gumuscu’s tour de force.’

Nora Fisher Onar – University of San Francisco

Reach the book here

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