Graduation Year

2015

Date of Submission

12-2014

Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Department

International Relations

Reader 1

Kristin Fabbe

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Rights Information

© 2014 Talia Segal

Abstract

The Justice and Development Party (Adalet ve Kalkınma Partisi, AKP) has had a political hegemony over Istanbul for more than a decade. Initiating rapid rates of development, the Turkish economy has nearly quadrupled under AKP leadership. The political party has also become notorious, though, for moving further away from a liberal democracy. Flirting with authoritarianism, recent governance trends include a weak rule of law, stringent social policies, extralegal policy execution, and substantial censorship. While Istanbul closely aligns with several emerging urban centers, the factors contributing to its patterns of growth are unique to both Turkish history and culture, and the city’s strategic regional position. Through a proposed self-sustaining cycle of neoliberal policy implementation, followed by institutional and political consolidation, the AKP has managed to maintain control of new engines for growth while facing increasing pushback from the residents of Istanbul. Though the past few years have been marked by unprecedented development, weaknesses in the AKP’s institutional structure are beginning to show. Istanbul is on the brink of an economic downfall. The government needs to take immediate action against a massive urban crisis if it wants to sustain legitimacy of authority. In leveraging the strategic location of the city, international institutions must partake in shifting Istanbul towards a more sustainable trajectory of urban growth.

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