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Invigorating Democracy in Turkey: The Agency of Organized Islamist Women

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  17 March 2015

Hürcan Aslı Aksoy*
University of Tuebingen


The Islamist Justice and Development Party (Adalet ve Kalkınma Partisi, henceforth AKP) came to power in 2002 with the promise of consolidating democracy and strengthening civil society to further Turkey's bid to join the European Union (EU). To this end, in its first term in the parliament (2002–2007), the AKP implemented a set of political reforms that lifted the restrictions on political and civil rights such as the freedom of assembly, associations, and expression and improved the rule of law (Kubicek 2005; Müftüler-Baç 2005). The AKP, as it has promised in its election campaigns, also engaged civil society into policy-making processes. In the initial years of the AKP, diverse civil society actors gathered on broad civil society platforms and worked with the AKP government to consolidate Turkish democracy (Keyman 2010; Kubicek 2005). Although the Islamist segments of civil society began to integrate into the secular political sphere and to voice their demands more freely, Islamist women's civil society organizations (CSOs) have not fully benefited from this transforming political atmosphere under the AKP.

Research Article
Copyright © The Women and Politics Research Section of the American Political Science Association 2015 

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