BANGALORE, INDIA – Turkey’s democratic experiment appears to be floundering. A decade of stellar political and economic performance had convinced many analysts that the country could be an inspiration, if not a model, for the rest of the Muslim Middle East. But the government’s actions over the last few months – which mark a trend, rather than being isolated incidents – have jeopardized many of Turkey’s achievements.
It all began with a wave of corruption charges, based on considerable evidence, brought against government officials, businessmen, and politicians’ family members. Of course, corruption by itself does not pose a serious threat to democracy, especially in the developing world. India, for example, remains a functioning democracy, despite high-level corruption that far exceeds anything that Turkey has experienced.